A short, easy walk, we opted to check out Parker Ridge en route to Jasper National Park from the Lake Louise area of Banff National Park. We wanted to dedicate most of the day to seeing some of the notable sights along the 3-hour, 150-mile drive up Canada’s renowned Icefields Parkway (waterfalls, scenic overlooks, etc.), but decided to throw in a couple of shorter hikes along the way to break up the trip.
About midway between Lake Louise and the town of Jasper, the Parker Ridge trailhead is accessed from a small parking area directly off the Icefields Parkway. There really isn’t much to say about the hike, other than it’s a short walk up a small ridge. The trail has little elevation gain and limited scenery, with the exception being the view of Saskatchewan Glacier (one toe of the Columbia Icefield) over the other side of the ridge. Unlike every other hike we did in Banff/Jasper, this short route was packed with tourists looking for an easy ramble. If you are looking for looking for a quick walk with not a lot of scenery, or you just need to take a break from a long car ride up the parkway, Parker Ridge is probably a good choice. If you are seeking a classic hiking experience, isolated in Alberta’s natural splendor, you should certainly look elsewhere because this is not it.
Pros – Easily accessible view of Saskatchewan Glacier, good way to break up a long drive with a quick walk
Cons – Road noise, crowds, lackluster scenery, trail adjacent to the highway