Parker Ridge, Why It’s Our Favorite Hike in the Canadian Rockies

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, .

Your typical view driving on Icefield Parkways

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

Parker Ridge, best day hike in Canadian Rockies

snow covered peaks…

View from Parker Ridge in Jasper National Park Colorful peaks and terrain seen from Parker Ridge


Parker ridge glacier

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.

Valuable Resources

  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders, for those who love anything weird and offbeat.
  • Resource Toolbox: How I find cheap flights, accommodations, and other travel hacks.

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19 Replies to “Parker Ridge, Why It’s Our Favorite Hike in the Canadian Rockies”

  1. that is stunning and I love how you included people so there is scale to the images to show how grand it really is….wow!

  2. Is the trailhead close to the Wilcox Pass parking area. I've done that hike and the scenery is equally superb. LOVE your photos. There are so many great hikes to choose from aren't there. I still hope to do a few backpacking trips in the Rockies this summer.

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