Driving Highway 11 and the Icefields Parkway to Hinton

After 3 days boondocking along Abraham Lake, I moved north to Hinton on Day 47 of the trip – Monday, June 11th. With the load of fresh snow that got dropped on Sunday, Highway 11 and the Icefields Parkway had the potential to be spectacular – well, even more spectacular than usual.

I was really excited about the day’s possibilities, and was away early. I shot this photo of Mt. Michener and the highway from our parking spot at 06:10, just before hitting the road.

Mt. Michener and Abraham Lake
The weather was not nearly as good as it was last December, when I discovered the David Thompson Highway, but I still made a few photo stops. Because of the flat light, some of the photos in this post, including the next two, were created as HDR images to bring out the detail.

Alberta Highway 11, the David Thompson Highway
The next photo is a look back at the head of Abraham Lake. The water level of the lake can fluctuate 40 meters between low water in the spring and high water in late summer.

Alberta Highway 11, the David Thompson Highway
At 06:50, I entered Banff National Park. The ranger on duty seemed to be quite surprised that I had a Parks Canada annual pass. I was surprised that anyone was on duty on this highway at this hour 🙂

Entering Banff National Park on the David Thompson Highway
Just after 07:00, a few miles up the Icefields Parkway, I got stopped at the first of several road construction sites. It was a long one – maybe 15 minutes.

Bella and Tucker were curious about what was going on outside. Molly took the opportunity to eat some more 🙂

Dogs and a cat in our RV watching road construction
Long stretches of the Icefields Parkway were getting very rough, and a few delays were worth it to get the road re-paved. There must be 50-60 km of new pavement being laid.

New pavement on the Icefields Parkway
At 07:40, I parked the RV at the base of 10,685-foot Cirrus Mountain to make breakfast for myself – I’d fed the kids before leaving Abraham Lake.

RV parked at the base of 10,685-foot Cirrus Mountain
Two ham and egg muffins with extra bacon on the side – yuuum! After breakfast, Bella and Tucker and I went for a good walk

Just a few miles from Cirrus Mountain, we made another stop at the Weeping Wall. I don’t think I’ve ever passed the wall of waterfalls without stopping.

The Weeping Wall of waterfalls on the Icefields Parkway
The Weeping Wall is different pretty well every time I see it as water flows, winds, and the light change the look of the waterfalls.

he Weeping Wall of waterfalls on the Icefields Parkway
When I first saw the peaks beyond the Parker Ridge rest area, I think my jaw dropped open, it was so incredibly beautiful. I stayed there for a long time, trying to decide whether or not to stay there and wait for the sunshine that was forecast for the next day. In the end I decided not to.

The Parker Ridge rest area on the Icefields Parkway
The clouds lowered and the light went flat immediately north of the Columbia Icefield, so the next photo was the last one I shot on the Icefields Parkway.

Flat light on the Icefields Parkway
Lengthy road construction delays continued on Highway 16 east of Jasper. This was another very long one – nearly half an hour.

Road construction delay on Highway 16 east of Jasper
It was nearly 4:00 when I reached Hinton. It had been a long day for a relatively short drive (270 km / 168 mi). The Freson Bros. grocery store offers free overnight parking in a dedicated area with good wifi, so was once again my choice. Freson Bros. also has a good selection, good prices, and friendly staff, so I also do my major grocery re-stocking there.

RV parked at the Freson Bros. grocery store in Hinton

There were two main sites that I wanted to visit and re-visit in the Hinton area. The next day, I’d be looking for the Brule Sand Dunes, and Ogre Canyon.


Driving Highway 11 and the Icefields Parkway to Hinton — 1 Comment

  1. Seconded on Freson Bros. in Hinton. Been there twice on the way through to Jasper and have nothing but good things to say about the staff or selection. Plus the store design is pretty cool.
    And hey, the scenery/view ain’t to bad either!