Icefields Parkway Information
Icefields Parkway information is available from many sources. Available as a free PDF download, the Icefields Parkway Driving Guide is an excellent resource for pre-trip planning.
Also recommended is the book Icefields Parkway: One of the World’s Most Scenic Drives, which is available directly from the publisher and also all lodges and gift shops along the route. Gem Trek’s waterproof Icefields Parkway Map is another handy tool. It can be purchased directly from Gem Trek or at visitor centres and retailers throughout the Canadian Rockies.
Jasper Visitor Centre
The residence of Jasper’s first superintendent, a beautiful old stone building dating to 1913, is now used by PARKS CANADA as the JASPER VISITOR CENTRE (Connaught Dr., 780/852-6176, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily in summer, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily the rest of the year), right downtown. The staff provides general information on the park and can direct you to hikes in the immediate vicinity.
TOURISM JASPER (780/820-1006) has a desk in the building, and the friendly staff never seem to tire of explaining that all the rooms in town are full. As well as providing general information on the town, they have a large collection of brochures on activities, shopping, and restaurants.
Also in the building is the FRIENDS OF JASPER NATIONAL PARK store, selling maps, books, bear spray, and souvenirs. Look for notices posted out front with the day’s interpretive programs.
Banff Visitor Centre
In the town of Banff, the best place to make your first stop is the BANFF VISITOR CENTRE (224 Banff Ave., 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily mid-June to Aug., 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily mid-May to mid-June and Sept., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily the rest of the year).
On the right-hand side of the Banff Visitor Centre is a row of desks staffed by PARKS CANADA (403/762-1550) visitor experts. They will answer your queries regarding Banff’s natural wonders and advise you of trail closures. Also here, you can pick up park brochures, or wander down the back to peruse park maps, view a free slide show, and watch videos about the park.
Also in the Banff Visitor Centre is a desk for BANFF LAKE LOUISE TOURISM (403/762-0270). This organization represents businesses and commercial establishments in the park. Here you can find out about accommodations and restaurants, and have any other questions answered. To answer the most frequently asked question, the restrooms are downstairs.
Icefields Parkway Pass
Permits are required from Parks Canada for entry into Banff and Jasper National Parks, which includes all vehicles travelling on the Icefields Parkway. A DAY PASS is adult $10.50, senior $9, to a maximum of $21 per vehicle. It is interchangeable between national parks and is valid until 4 pm the day following its purchase.
An annual DISCOVERY PASS, good for entry into national parks and national historic sites across Canada, is adult $73, senior $62, to a maximum of $146 per vehicle.
Passes can be bought at booths located at the north and south ends of the Icefields Parkway, at all visitor centres, and online at the Parks Canada website.