This is a 7-km (4½-mile) tongue of ice flowing from the immense Columbia Icefield almost to the Icefields Parkway. A century ago the ice flowed over the current location of the highway; signposts depict the gradual retreat of the ice since that time. Several other glaciers are visible from here; they all originate from the Columbia Icefield, a giant alpine lake of ice covering 325 square km (125 square miles) whose edge is visible from the highway. You can hike up to
the toe of the glacier, but venturing farther without a trained guide is extremely dangerous because of hidden crevasses. Athabasca Glacier Ice Walks (800/565–7547 www.icewalks.com) offers three-, five-, and six-hour guided walks (C$36–C$45), which can be reserved at the Icefield Centre or through Jasper Adventure Centre (780/852–5595 or 800/565–7547 www.jasperadventurecentre.com), in Jasper. You can also take a trip onto the Athabasca Glacier in Brewster Tours' Ice Explorers, which have been modified to drive on ice (tickets are available at the Icefield Centre for C$29.86).
Icefields Parkway, 127 km (79 miles) north of Lake Louise, 103 km (64 miles) south of Jasper, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Oct 7, 2005
My wife and I took the sno-coach ride last fall.Dress warm it will be cold up there.We drank some of the melt water (probably was frozen for hundreds, if not thousands of years).Later in the day, we whitewater rafted down the Athabasca River(it's major source is this glacier) into Jasper.The raft trips start just after the Athabasca Falls. A great day!
Aug 1, 2005
I Was recently on the SnoCoach ride onto the glacier.. this is a definate must do while visiting the area! such an amazing experience, but make sure you have a sweater!