David Thompson Country
Suggested Months: April to October
Depending on the season, you can include one of Edmonton’s many festivals as part of your travel plans during your visit.
EDMONTON TO CALGARY VIA THE ICEFIELDS PARKWAY — For sightseeing & overnight stops, allow 1-3 days from Edmonton to Lake Louise or Banff. (5-6 hours driving time)
WOLF CREEK GOLF COURSE — Depart Edmonton on Queen Elizabeth II Highway (Highway 2 South). Arrive at Wolf Creek Golf Course (between Ponoka and Lacombe). Sand dunes are more common in Alberta than anywhere else in Canada. The Wolf Creek Golf Course lies in the heart of a dune field, which allowed designers to create a distinct Scottish links style, resulting in one of Canada’s most challenging golf courses. Allow an extra half-day to play 18-holes.
SYLVAN LAKE — Continue south to Red Deer and Highway 11 west, the David Thompson Highway. Arrive at Sylvan Lake, a small resort community, restaurants, accommodation and the largest inland lighthouse in Canada! Sylvan Lake Provincial Park provides access to 1.5 km of sandy beach. Boat rentals are available for cruising, fishing and water skiing.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOUSE — Continue west to Rocky Mountain House and Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site (5 km west of the town). Alberta’s only National Historic Park was the site of five different fur trading posts between 1799 and 1875. An interpretive centre, remains of the forts, a Red River cart, a York boat, a cemetery and tipis are available for viewing.
NORDEGG — Continue west to the Nordegg Heritage Centre (seasonal; check for times). The Heritage Centre is the starting point for guided tours to the site of the historic coal mine. The town’s layout echoes the semi-circular pattern of Mount Royal in Quebec.
ABRAHAM LAKE — Depart Nordegg on Highway 11 west (allow stops at various viewpoints along this route). Arrive in Abraham Lake and the Bighorn Dam (seasonal). Marvel at the turquoise waters of Abraham Lake and mountain views. The dam is one of the largest earth-filled dams in Western Canada — the electricity generated here is used all the way to Edmonton.
ICEFIELD HELICOPTER TOURS — Continue west towards Highway 93, the Icefields Parkway. Icefield Helicopter Tours leave from the Cline River Heliport on Highway 11. There are several choices for overnight accommodation in this area, including the David Thompson Resort (lodge) and The Crossing (motel). Advance reservations are recommended.
COLUMBIA ICEFIELD — Travel north on Highway 93, the Icefields Parkway to the Columbia Icefield Visitors’ Centre (seasonal). The Columbia Icefield, located on the boundary of Jasper and Banff National Parks, is the hemisphere’s largest mass of ice and snow south of the Arctic. Facing the Visitors’ Centre is the Athabasca Glacier. Plan time to visit the Parks Canada Interpretive Centre, restaurants and gift shop. Go for a guided Brewster Ice Explorer glacier tour.
LAKE LOUISE – BANFF – CALGARY — Return south on Highway 93, the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise. The Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic highways in the world. Enjoy a leisurely drive and stop at the many viewpoints and enjoy the emerald lakes, alpine meadows and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies. From Lake Louise continue on to Banff National Park, then the Trans Canada Highway east back to Calgary, returning north on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway (Highway 2) to Edmonton.