If you’ve never driven the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93) between Jasper and Banff in Alberta, put it on your bucket list – its one of the most scenic stretches of road on the planet. Even if the weather’s not great (as was the case for us), its still a spectacular drive. After staying at Wabasso Campground about 15 minutes south of Jasper, we journeyed down the Parkway with stops at two stunning waterfalls: Athabasca and Sunwapta. Both are easy walks from the highway.
Then we carried on towards the Columbia Icefields. We were wondering about the crowds since it was mid July, and peak tourist season, but one good thing about rainy cool weather, it keeps people indoors. So we were happy to not only have a few sunny breaks, but find a decent parking spot to hike up to the toe of Athabasca glacier.
We hiked back from the glacier, and after briefly touring the Icefields Centre, which was packed with foreign tourists standing in line to buy tickets to stand in line to see something, we carried on in search of a campsite. Interestingly, the available information on camping areas is somewhat minimal (as well as inaccurate) and the signage even less apparent. So it wasn’t surprising that when we found Silverhorn campground, it was nearly empty. Silverhorn isn’t exactly a classic campground with private, wooded sites. Instead, its more of a series of parking lots with picnic tables and fire pits. However, if you’re there on your own, which was basically the case for us, it has a 360 degree mountain amphitheatre as the backdrop and is right on the scenic Mistaya River. And all for a bargain $15 / night (plus the $8.80 fire permit).
It was a fantastic site and we celebrated with an all evening campfire and a delicious roast beef dinner – when in Alberta…