Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
“Oh my gawd, did you see that?”
“Look, look…look at that mountain!”
“Sigh… everything is so PRETTY!”
We uttered one gushing exclamation over another. I imagine this is what typically goes on inside every car driving on the Icefield Parkway, .
Icefield Parkway is a scenic road between Banff and Jasper that passes through gush-worthy view to another: ridiculously turquoise lakes, snow-covered peaks that were slam-bammed right by the roads, and if you’re lucky, the occasional moose and bears.
Here you can also find the trailhead of Parker Ridge. Many consider Parker Ridge to be one of the best day hikes in the Canadian Rockies. It also happens to be a favorite of ours. A favorite because it’s a hike that offers a great reward for small amount of effort.
The trail is only about 1 mile long
It goes up… surprise, surprise… to the ridge. There isn’t an end to the trail per-se, it just ends up at a wide area where you’re free to go as far or as little as you like.
The view that awaits from the ridge can’t be seen from the road. It’s kind of cool that way because you didn’t really know what to expect until you get up there. It’s never easy to describe a view. There are only so many times you can use the word ‘majestic’ or ‘awesome’ before they become meaningless.
Believe me when I say the view is worth the hike.
A few years back we went hiked up Parker Ridge for the first time. It was a cold, drizzly day and there wasn’t any other hikers. There only living things we spotted were hundreds of mountain goats running, no, stampeding, across the ridge. It was an incredible sight.
The second time we hiked up the ridge was during the roadtrip we took last month. We were in a hurry. We didn’t realise how far north Jasper was from Banff and we needed to start making our way back to Montana. The plan was to quickly run up the trail, take pictures, and run back.
But when I got up there, I got sucked in by the view. There were no mountain goats this time.
Just soaring walls in front me
snow covered peaks…
and the accompanying feeling of gratitude that I’m so luck to be able to see all of this.
You get all of that for a 30 minute effort. The hike is so easy that everybody and their uncles can do it. Can you see how this might become your favorite hike as well?
Parker Ridge Hike
The trailhead to Parker Ridge is on the Icefield Parkway between Banff and Jasper. Just right before the Athabasca Glacier Parking Area.