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Stretching from Lake Louise in Banff National Park to the town of Jasper, the Icefields Parkway is a fully-paved double-lane highway in Alberta that is 232 kilometers (144 miles) long. This isn’t just an ordinary road, as it is deemed one of the most spectacular driving routes in the world!
Around every turn is a fascinating natural marvel that will literally make your jaw drop. It is perfect for scenic drives or outdoor adventures, which makes it a go-to destination for couples, families, and groups of friends looking for something memorable to do while in Alberta.
The absolute fastest time to go from one end of the highway to the other is three hours (with no stops). But when your travel includes stopovers, one day isn’t always enough. This is especially true if you plan on doing any of the hikes or tours along the Icefields Parkway like on the Athabasca Glacier.
Considering the time and energy required to explore the entire Icefields Parkway, it’s no doubt that anyone would feel exhausted and need a place to stay for the night. Thus, we curated this blog outlining the best Icefields Parkway hotels, hostels, and campsites. This way, you know exactly where to stay when traveling on the Icefields Parkway!
This post contains all the details you need to know to help you decide where to stay on the Icefields Parkway. So read on!
Why Stay Overnight on the Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway is home to more than 100 ancient glaciers, emerald lakes, cascading waterfalls, soaring mountains, dramatic rock spires, lush pine and larch forests, and sweeping valleys.
There are breathtaking lakes such as Bow Lake and Peyto Lake, as well as waterfalls like Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls. There’s also this glass-floored observation platform called the Glacier SkyWalk and a side of a mountain that seems to be crying named the Weeping Wall. Some of the best places to visit in Alberta are located along this road!
There are just so many attractions to see and activities to do along the way that it is a challenge to complete the journey in a day. So you’re left with no choice but to continue it the following day.
That’s why we often choose to book accommodation along the Icefields Parkway. But there are limited places to stay and it is important to note that since the highway is within a national park, you can’t just pull over and camp out whenever you please – you must have a plan in advance!
Important information – You will need a Parks Canada Pass to drive the Icefields Parkway (even if you don’t plan on stopping.) Expect to pay $10.50 CAD per day per person, $21 CAD for an entire vehicle, or $145.25 CAD for an entire year for one vehicle of up to 7 people. You can check their website for all of the updated prices. You can buy this pass at Lake Louise Visitor Center or at the booths at each end of the Parkway.
The BEST Hotels on the Icefields Parkway
Only a couple of hotels are situated on the actual Icefields Parkway, and since there aren’t many options, they book up quickly, especially in the summer months. So it would be a good idea to book even before the season begins – in other words, ASAP!
Below are three of the best (and only) Icefields Parkway hotels to choose from.
1. The Crossing Resort (Our Favorite Hotel on the Icefields Parkway)
Our favorite hotel on the Icefields Parkway, The Crossing Resort, sits pretty much at the halfway mark between Lake Louise and Jasper, making it an ideal location to explore the area. It is surrounded by breathtaking mountains and glaciers, offering unmatched vistas to guests.
Besides the location, prices for this hotel are pretty reasonable, and we love all the amenities right on the property – they even have a pub and sauna!
Additionally, the hotel is just 30 minutes from most of the local attractions. Nearby is an opportunity to experience a spectacular hike in Canada, as well as various trails that lead to Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, Bow Glacier, Parker’s Ridge, Mistaya Canyon, and more. Its proximity to various attractions is one of the reasons why we love this hotel.
Here at The Crossing Resort, the types of rooms available are Double Queen rooms, King rooms, and Executive Suites. Rates vary depending on the low and high seasons. During the low season, the room prices range from $159 to $239 CAD per night. Whereas, during the high season (which approximately begins on June 1 to September 30), the accommodations cost $269 up to $379 CAD per night.
Every room features a semi-private deck with a bench to enjoy the fascinating mountain views, private bathrooms, luxurious linens, and hypoallergenic duvets. In terms of unique comforts, a Double Queen room is equipped with two queen-sized beds, while an Executive Suite has one queen-sized bed but is also complete with a living room, a dining room, and a jacuzzi tub.
Pets are also welcome at the hotel, but the property has a limited number of pet-friendly rooms, so be sure to book one in advance if you’re visiting with your beloved pet. The pet fee costs $40 CAD per night.
Another reason why The Crossing is our top favorite among the Icefields Parkway hotels is its wide range of amenities. On the property, you’ll find a general store where you can purchase gifts and souvenirs, including art, clothing, jewelry, and pictorials. You will also find supplies here for your picnic, camping, or hiking, along with assorted food and drinks like ice cream, pretzels, sandwiches, hotdogs, and coffee.
What’s more, The Crossing Resort has an on-site restaurant, pub, and cafe. While you can have your breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the restaurant, you can enjoy a meal at the pub or a sneaky drink or two (with a view, of course!)
Other offers at the resort include a Service/Gas Station. Wi-Fi is also available, but only in the common room under the Pub at the property due to its remote location.
Honestly, when it comes to choosing where to stay on the Icefields Parkway, you can’t go wrong with The Crossing Resort. You can check availability and book either on their website directly or on Booking.com.
2. Glacier View Lodge (Best Luxury Hotel on the Icefields Parkway)
When it comes to luxury, the Glacier View Lodge is your best choice in terms of hotels on the Icefields Parkway. The property is located in a high alpine zone at the Columbia Icefields Discovery Centre, which makes it a great choice for people going on Athabasca Glacier tours or those who want to visit the Skywalk.
Thanks to its location, the hotel’s cozy guest rooms are all overlooking sweeping glaciers and mountains. But that’s not all that the rooms offer.
The accommodations are divided into two types: Mountain View Rooms and Glacier View Rooms. The units with mountain views are equipped with one king-sized bed, or two/three queen-sized beds, while the ones with glacier views feature two queen beds or one king bed.
Meanwhile, both types of accommodations have the same conveniences, such as a seating area, a television, a Nespresso machine (our favorite!), and complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi. Nightly room rates here start at $220 CAD in the low season and can climb all the way to $400 CAD a night in peak season.
Now, let’s look into Glacier View Lodge’s amenities. The property has complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi and a guest lounge with panoramic views of the Athabasca Glacier.
For dining, the lodge has two options: Altitude and Chalet. Altitude offers glacier-view dining, full-table service, and Canadian cuisine. Guests can enjoy a breakfast buffet at Altitude for a fee. There are also options for dinner and drinks.
At Chalet, a grab-and-go service and freshly prepared food are available. This restaurant solely serves lunch, which includes soup, snacks, salads, desserts, and more. If you’re craving other kinds of drinks, proceed to their on-site Starbucks.
That’s not all, the hotel also offers guests free parking and a gift shop.
Personally, we recommend Glacier View Lodge to those looking for a beautiful stay in the mountains. It’s also an ideal location for anybody to do tours on the Athabasca Glacier (and you should!) since this is where the tours start and end. You could spend the night at the lodge and book for the first tour in the morning, which is the least busy time of day to visit the glacier!
The Glacier View Lodge books up quickly, so you should secure your room online in advance here as soon as possible.
3. Sunwapta Falls Lodge
Open seasonally from May to October every year, Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge can only accommodate visitors during the summer season in Jasper. I personally consider this lodge as one of the best hotels in Jasper National Park as is located just down the road from the stunning Sunwapta waterfall! In fact, you can walk there right from the hotel since it is only 650 meters away – how convenient!
One thing to note is that Sunwapta Falls Lodge is located pretty close to Jasper town (40 minutes away), so it’s not in the center of the Icefields Parkway like The Crossing Resort or Glacier View Lodge. If you want a “halfway point” stay, I suggest choosing The Crossing Resort, instead.
With that said, I love the beautiful scenery of the mountains – it’s a big bonus for everyone staying here. A gift shop is available on-site as well as an in-house restaurant serving regionally inspired cuisine.
When you enter your room, you will find various amenities including a satellite TV, tea and coffee-making facilities, and a fridge. There’s a comfortable seating area as well.
For additional convenience, Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge has a tour desk where whitewater rafting and other outdoor activities can be organized. You can also take advantage of the free public parking on site.
Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge is located about a 40-minute drive along the Icefields Parkway from Jasper town. To me, it’s a great location for joining a tour around Jasper and exploring all that Jasper National Park has to offer!
Room rates here start at approximately $220 CAD/night, but prices can vary. Check exact rates and availability for Sunwapta Lodge online here.
Related Read: Check out our complete guide about where to stay in Banff National Park!
The Best Hostels on the Icefields Parkway
If you’re traveling on a budget, then the above hotels might be a little too expensive. The below hotels on the Icefields Parkway might be your perfect solution!
4. HI Athabasca Falls
If you’re a nature lover and still unsure where to stay on the Icefields Parkway, HI Athabasca Falls is one of your top choices. It is also ideal for travelers looking for a tranquil place to stay.
Close to the town of Jasper, HI Athabasca Falls is the biggest of the four hostels in Jasper National Park. This back-to-basics facility is just within walking distance of Athabasca Falls and offers awesome views, impressive hiking, and a spectacular off-the-beaten-path experience.
There are three rustic cabins within the property. One houses private rooms for guests, and the other is designed for shared rooms. The third cabin is where the amenities can be found.
The private rooms can sleep six people and feature one double bed and two bunk beds, while the shared rooms can accommodate up to 16 guests and have bunk beds. Pillows and blankets are already provided in all accommodations. You’re free to bring your own sleeping bag or bedding.
One bed in the shared cabin costs almost $27 CAD per person per night and goes up to around $241 CAD per person for a seven-day stay. Prices for the private room start at around $86 CAD per night and rise to $598 CAD for a one-week stay.
Because of its remote location and back-to-basics concept, there are not many modern amenities on site. Guests will instead experience off-the-grid living, as there’s only solar power and fresh mountain well water, plus there are no showers and no flush toilets. But don’t fret—they still have electricity, along with appliances like a refrigerator and stoves.
HI Athabasca Falls also has a huge fully-equipped kitchen where guests can cook their own meals. They also feature a BBQ area, a library, a games room, a lounge, bike storage, and a free parking space. What’s more, there’s a campfire area where you can hang out at night to share meals and stories with your family members or friends.
It is important to note that they are open seven days a week during the summer seasons (May 1 to October), while they are open six days a week (closed on Tuesdays) during the winter season. But they are open during the Christmas week. Meanwhile, they are closed from April 4 to 25 and from Oct. 3 to Nov. 27 in 2023.
It’s also important to note that this hostel is located very close to Jasper town, so not exactly a mid-point stay on the Icefields Parkway. This is just something to keep in mind before you book.
5. HI Rampart Creek
Located nearly halfway between Jasper and Banff, HI Rampart Creek is one of the Icefields Parkway hostels perfect for families and groups of friends seeking budget-friendly accommodations or a quiet setting. It is also a haven for hikers and climbers as the property just steps away from trails and bolted climbing routes.
The Weeping Wall, a long cliff known for its many waterfalls, is also close to the property. Aside from that, there’s a nearby creek where you’re free to dip your feet or body to freshen up.
Set in the wilderness, HI Rampart Creek offers guests a rustic experience. This means there’s no electricity and no running water on the property. But, they still provide lighting and propane heating.
The hostel also features a fully-equipped kitchen that has a refrigerator and purified water for cooking. During your free time, you can stay in the common area lounge with a fireplace or in the outdoor fire pit. You’re also free to visit the wood-burning sauna to level up your relaxation.
Moreover, only shared bathroom facilities are available and a public parking site is free of charge. Bike storage is on-site, too.
About HI Rampart Creek’s accommodations, there’s a six-bed mixed dormitory room and a six-bed private room. The dormitory room has mountain views and single beds, while the private room has bunk beds and no views. There’s a storage space and solar-powered lights in each room, too. You may bring a sleeping bag or bedding as you wish.
One bed in the shared room is worth approximately $36 CAD per person per night, while the rates for the private room start at almost $225 per night.
You can check availability and book HI Rampart Creek online here.
6. HI Mosquito Creek
HI Mosquito Creek is a simple cabin tucked in the Canadian Rockies away from the crowds. It lets guests experience back-to-basics living and simply enjoy nature and the tranquil environment.
Since the place offers an off-the-grid experience, there’s no electricity, no phone, no running water, and no flush toilets or showers on site. Only outhouse toilets are available at the hostel.
Still, you will find other conveniences at HI Mosquito Creek including a common kitchen with a refrigerator and drinking water, bike storage, a lounge area, a games room, and a parking space free of charge. If you want to stay warm during the winter months, head to the area with a fireplace or unwind in the sauna.
You also have the option to sit around the outdoor fire pit or the campfire. This is also a great chance to talk about how your day went and share some untold stories with your travel buddies.
Another thing that you’ll love about HI Mosquito Creek is that it makes an excellent base for various outdoor activities, such as cycling, scrambling, hiking, and climbing during the summer season; or ice climbing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and taking pictures of nature during the winter season. This is what makes HI Mosquito Creek stand out among the Icefields Parkway hostels.
Now, regarding the hostel’s accommodations, shared dorms, private rooms, and family rooms (5 people max) are the choices. The family room can be reserved for as low as $93 CAD per night, while a private room (12-bed) is worth $450 CAD per night. On the contrary, one bed in the shared dorms costs $27 CAD per night.
Both the shared and private rooms are complete with bunk beds and plenty of storage space, while the family rooms feature one double bed and three single beds.
You can check availability and book HI Mosquito Creek online here!
Related Read: If you love a good road trip, check out the best stops on the drive from Vancouver to Jasper!
The BEST Campsites on the Icefields Parkway
7. Silverhorn Creek Campground
Still undecided about where to stay on the Icefields Parkway? Maybe campsites are for you. There’s this campsite called Silverhorn Creek Campground along the Icefields Parkway. A rustic camping experience is what the place offers to travelers.
Take note that there is no cell phone coverage at Silverhorn Creek or any campgrounds on the Icefields Parkway. There is also no water supplied here. If you’re bringing an RV camper van, you may fill up the vehicle’s tank with water at Waterfowl Lakes Campground during its operational season.
A Sani-dump station is available for use at Waterfowl, as well as in Lake Louise Campground. For gas and groceries, you can find some in Saskatchewan River Crossing (near The Crossing Resort), which is a 20-minute drive north of the campground.
There are a total of 45 campsites at Silverhorn, most of which have picnic shelters and fire pits but expect to come into close contact with your neighbors. All sites are unserviced and suitable for tents or motorhomes/trailers up to 20 meters (70 feet). Be sure that the vehicles fit on the driveway.
Additionally, Silverhorn Creek is one of the campsites on the Icefields Parkway that operates on a first-come, first-served basis. Each reservation already comes with fire permits and firewood. Only a maximum of six people are allowed per campsite, as well as a maximum of two tents and two cars; or one RV camper van, one tent, and one car.
Keep in mind that all tents must be on the gravel area. You can book a site for one night for around $17 CAD. The fire pit permit costs an additional $9.50 CAD per night.
Apart from picnic shelters and fire pits, Silverhorn Creek Campground also has an outhouse toilet and garbage bins. Food lockers are available, too. Since Alberta is home to bears, food and food-related items must be stored properly.
When it comes to nearby activities, there are beautiful hikes in this area as it is surrounded by mountains on all sides, making the campsite a paradise for hikers.
8. Wilcox Campground
Named after one of Jasper’s mountains offering excellent day hikes, Wilcox Campground is best suited for travelers with motorhomes or trailers under 8 meters (27 feet). There are a total of 46 campsites, which are all unserviced and come with a fire pit.
Just like most of the Icefields Parkway campsites, Wilcox Campground has a rule of first come first served. And, those who will purchase a fire permit will be provided with firewood. You can stay here for as little as $26.25 CAD per night.
In addition to fire pits, other campground facilities include outhouses and picnic tables. There are cook shelters as well, so campers can conveniently cook their own meals. Be sure to keep your food and food-related items safe, as Alberta is a bear country!
As the campsite sits at the base of Wilcox Peak, it is near the Columbia Icefield. This means you have convenient access to an array of family-friendly activities and some of the breathtaking views you can find in the Canadian Rockies.
You can take the Wilcox Pass which will lead you to magnificent views of the glaciated peaks, Athabasca Glacier, Mountain Andromeda, Mount Athabasca, and Snow Dome. You may also want to drop by Parker Ridge which offers a short hike with jaw-dropping views of the Saskatchewan Glacier. The ridge lies just 3 km (1.9 mi) east of the campground.
Who knows during their exploration, you’ll get to catch sight of bighorn sheep or mountain goats that reside in the area. Don’t forget to bring a camera with you so you can capture images of those amazing views and animals.
Related Read: Want to increase your chances of seeing wildlife like bears? Consider joining one of the best wildlife tours in Jasper!
9. Honeymoon Lake
Rounding out our list of best places to stay on the Icefields Parkway is Honeymoon Lake, which sits on the shores of a lake with which it shares its name. This campground also got its name from the fact that it’s an excellent base for a honeymoon getaway.
Away from the noisy traffic, crowded streets, and city smog, Honeymoon Lake offers a rustic experience in an intimate setting. You get to enjoy quiet lakeside strolls with your partner or sit around a campfire and roast marshmallows or bacon while telling each other stories.
You even get to go on a thrilling canoe ride in the lake, which boasts crystal-clear water. For other attractions, you can go on a short hike to Buck Lake and Osprey Lake, which are worth visiting. Other attractions in the area are Sunwapta Falls, Athabasca Falls, and Mount Edith Cavell, which are located a short drive north of the campground.
Choose one from Honeymoon Lake’s 35 campsites to pitch your tent or park your motorhome or trailer (under 8 meters/27 feet). The sites are unserviced and assigned on a first come first served basis, so it would be best if you arrive there as early as possible before others.
Each campsite is already complete with a fire pit. For firewood, you are required to purchase a fire permit. One-night stay here costs $26.25 CAD.
Similar to the other Icefields Parkway campsites, Honeymoon Lake only has basic amenities, such as picnic tables, public pay phone, potable water, dry toilets, garbage bins, and bear-proof storage lockers. For cooking food, there’s a sheltered camp kitchen with a wood-burning cook stove on site.
You’ve now reached the end of this blog. I hope the details I’ve provided for each hotel, hostel, and campsite helped make up your mind on where to stay on the Icefields Parkway. Still, remember that prior to making reservations, you must first determine your budget, the number of people coming with you, and what type of vacation you wish to have, as these three will greatly affect your decision-making.
Related Read: Staying in Banff for a couple days? Check out the best hotels in Banff town before you go!
Parks Canada Pass Quick Info
If you plan on spending time in Canada’s national parks (including Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Kootenay, and more) then you’re going to have to pay for a Parks Pass.
Single Daily Admission:
This type of pass is valid for one person for one day. It is ONLY the best value if you are traveling alone and only plan to visit a national park for a couple of days.
- Adult (ages 18-64) is $10.50 CAD
- Senior (65+) is $9.00 CAD
- Youth/Child (17 or younger) is FREE
Group Daily Admission:
If you’re traveling in a group or with family, you can buy a single-day admission for your entire vehicle (up to 7 people in one vehicle.)
- $21.00 CAD gets your entire vehicle entry for one full day
Parks Canada Discovery Pass
The “Discovery Pass” is what Parks Canada calls their year-long (365 days from the purchase date), multi-park entry pass. This pass will give 365 days of access to all participating national parks in Canada. This includes the most popular parks like Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier, Mount Revelstoke, and so much more.
- Adult (age 18-64) – $72.25 CAD
- Senior (64+) – $61.75 CAD
- Group/Family (up to 7 people in one vehicle) – $145.25 CAD
Hot Tip: Although more expensive up front, if you plan on spending more than 7 days in different parks in Canada within a 12-month period, then the Discovery Pass is actually the better deal!
Parks Canada Passes can be bought online here or at one of the Visitor Centers or booths at the entrance to many national parks.
Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!
If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, be sure that you have travel insurance!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!)
It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!
Thanks for reading!
Now you know all about the different accommodations available on the Icefields Parkways – everything from the best hotels to the best campgrounds! Equipped with this info, you can now extend your stay on one of the most scenic stretches of road in the world!