Day 9 was devoted to driving back down the Icefields Parkway to Banff. The drive southbound isn’t quite as extraordinary as the northbound trip, because of the lighting.
At this latitude, the sun stays low in the southern sky throughout the day, meaning the mountains are better lit when you’re looking north.
Even though the lighting wasn’t perfect, the day was off to a beautiful start. Heading south out of Jasper, dozens of peaks stretched out across the horizon. As the early morning haze began to lift, the sunlight streamed in between the mountains, creating a surreal sight.
That’s the tip of Mount Edith Cavell, one of the more famous mountain peaks south of Jasper. A side road off Route 93A leads up the mountain, to some spectacular trails. Unfortunately, the road up the mountain had already closed (for construction, I think), so I had to save Edith Cavell for my next trip.
I saw more fall leaves on Day 9, than I had just two days earlier, on my way up the highway. I traveled the highway in mid-September — one week later, and I would have been treated to a lot of brilliant color.
South of Jasper, the Icefields Parkway follows the Athabasca River. On the other side, you’ll see Brussels Peak and Mount Christie, 3,161 meters and 3,102 meters, respectively.
Just before Sunwapta Falls, the road gains a little elevation, giving you a great view back to the north.
Here’s the time-lapse dash-cam video of the drive south from Jasper to Sunwapta Falls: