Parker Ridge



Country: Canada

Location: Banff National Park, Alberta

Round trip: 5-8 km

Start elevation: 2000 m

Final elevation: 2300 m

Map: 1:50,000 series 83C/3

Contributor: David Sellars



getting there

On the Icefields Parkway drive to the parking lot on the west side of the highway 4 km south of Sunwapta Pass. The trail heads up the north side of Parker Ridge on open slopes directly from the parking lot.

featured plant

Androsace chamaejasme


partial plant list

Saxifraga oppositifolia

Myosotis alpestris

Dryas octopetala

Anenome parviflora

Gentianella propinqua

Gentiana prostrasta

Gentiana glauca

Saxifraga lyallii

Saxifraga aizoides

Erigeron compositus

Androsace chamaejasme

  Veronica wormskjoldii

   Parnassia fimbriata

   Oxytropis podocarpa


This can be a very short hike but it is all above treeline and there is an exceptional variety of mountain flora to be seen. The top of Parker Ridge is gained in less than an hour and you can wander up the broad ridge towards Mount Athabasca.  The ridge has a varied plant habitat ranging from rocky slopes to marshy areas.  Saxifraga lyallii and Saxifraga oppositifolia are common as well as a number of different gentians.  On the way back it is worthwhile following the crowds to a viewpoint overlooking the Saskatchewan Glacier.  Look out for drifts of Androsace chaemajasme in the meadows en route.