The Icefields Parkway is considered to be one of, if not the most, beautiful drives in the world. National Geographic considers it one of the drives of a lifetime. I did my homework on this road! I researched grades, RV-worthiness, facilities, etc. and knew exactly what I was getting into as I headed south from Jasper towards Banff.
Except for one section after the Columbia Icefield, there are no major grades on the parkway, just a lot of small steep sections that could fool you into complacency and wear down your brakes. One of the things I quickly established was that I would not be able to stop as much as I would have liked for two reasons:
1) many rest stops and attractions were close-ended and too small to turn around with a toad;
2) they were at the bottom of hills and would require too much brake jamming to stop at.
I stopped whenever I felt I could safely do so and took long breaks to give both the brakes and the engine a chance for a rest, too.
The parkway starts off lined with trees and rimmed with jagged snowy peaks and then gradually climbs up to the Columbia Icefield where you can see the Athabasca glacier. I stopped at the centre there to see the exhibits, but was not tempted by a pricey trip up the glacier.
The Icefield is located about halfway and the day had been going so, so well. I could have driven up the glacier to a view point, but decided the grade was too steep and that if I made it up, I probably wouldn’t make it down. I was playing it safe.
So, I finally let myself relax and that was that. I’m not sure if I did something wrong going down that big grade, but I got my fill of mountain passes for a lifetime.
My picture gallery ends just after the Icefield. My mind was not on photography after that. 🙁