Saskatchewan Crossing to Columbia Icefields – Alberta, Canada

By John Crawford
Senior Writer/Jasper National Park

ALBERTA, CANADA – The mighty North Saskatchewan River meets with two other rivers, the Howse and the Mistaya, at Saskatchewan River Crossing. The North Saskatchewan is one of Canada’s outstanding heritage rivers. Rising in the Rockies and emptying into Lake Winnipeg, its extensive corridor provided a major east-west link across Canada, facilitating exploration, trade, and settlement for more than 100 years from the time explorers and fur traders first travelled through the area in 1807.

Saskatchewan River Crossing
The mighty North Saskatchewan River meets with two other rivers, the Howse and the Mistaya, at Saskatchewan River Crossing. The North Saskatchewan is one of Canada’s outstanding heritage rivers. Rising in the Rockies and emptying into Lake Winnipeg, its extensive corridor provided a major east-west link across Canada, facilitating exploration, trade, and settlement for more than 100 years from the time explorers and fur traders first travelled through the area in 1807.

Weeping Wall
Famous waterfall resembling a mountain crying a river of tears. Located on Cirrus Mountain, the Weeping Wall tumbles more than 100 metres (330 feet) in a series of waterfalls whose main fall is called Teardrop.

Big Bend and Big Hill
Cyclists along the parkway are all-too familiar with the steep climb known simply as Big Hill, and the famous hairpin turn called the Big Bend. Near the entrance to Jasper National Park, these two “big” landmarks are also the jumping-off point for several hiking trails, all offering majestic vistas at the end of steep and often challenging climbs.

Parkers Ridge
Almost at the midpoint of the Icefields Parkway, this trail is 5.9 kilomtres (3.7 miles) long – a 2-hour hike rising 250 metres (820 feet). It is a popular hike, so the best timing is early or late in the day. Somewhat lackluster at the start, the trail is all about destination. Once you crest the ridge, you’re treated to spectacular mountain and valley scenery, dominated by the Saskatchewan Glacier, the largest of the Columbia Icefield’s six main glaciers. Glacier and ice-clad peaks surround you – Athabasca, Andromeda, Castleguard just to name a few.


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