Where We Be
|Icefields Parkway -- Parker Ridge Hike
Parker Ridge was another huge winner of a hike
for us. Located along the Icefields Parkway, just
south of the Icefields Centre, the trail is only
about 3 miles (5 km) round trip -- but with 820
feet (250 m) of elevation gain it takes some work
getting to the top. A series of switchbacks leads
you up onto the ridge, but then the reward is
tangible: amazing 360 degree alpine views in all
directions. It's mostly flat or slightly uphill after
the initial climb, so it's an intoxicating place to
explore for awhile.
From the ridge we could see Saskatchewan
Glacier "flowing" down the valley below us, with
gorgeous peaks all around. We added a couple
miles to the total distance of the hike because
we couldn't stop ambling along the ridge, until
gathering clouds finally convinced us to head
back. But we’d have to say this was one of our
favorite trails of the entire trip.
|Even on the switchbacks the scenery is good at Parker Ridge
|Pick a direction -- you really can't go wrong
|Hikers explore the high plateau in a sort of blissful fugue state
|A short stroll brings you to your first good view of Saskatchewan
Glacier -- the longest of the glaciers feeding off the Columbia Icefield
|The glacier still looks like a river of ice, unlike
most of the remnant glaciers you see these days
|Feeling blessed to be in such a glorious place
|This is the view from our furthest hiking point. Here
you can get a good sense of Parker Ridge as a whole.
|The trail continues to meander along the ridge away from the glacier
|Robin stands at a cairn marking the end of the "official" trail near the top of the switchbacks --
although t's really only the beginning since you'll want to explore the ridge from here
|Looking off to the right (with the glacier to the left),
you can see Parker Ridge continuing up to the peaks
|One last look behind us before we begin our descent.
From here you can see the cairn marking the "top."