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Banff National Park Sights

Athabasca Glacier

  • Scenic Drive/Tour
  • Fodor's Choice
  • Athabasca Glacier, Alberta, Canada

    Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock

Updated 10/21/2013

Fodor's Review

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 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, 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).

Sight Information


Icefields Parkway, 127 km (79 miles) north of Lake Louise, 103 km (64 miles) south of Jasper, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Updated 10/21/2013


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