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Athabasca Glacier
Athabasca Glacier

Athabasca Glacier

Free admission
Icefields Parkway, Banff, T1W 1J2

The Basics

Most visitors begin their Athabasca explorations at the Icefield Centre, where interpretive displays and a Parks Canada kiosk provide information on the glacier. Across from the center is the 2.2-mile (3.6-kilometer) Forefield Trail, which crosses over a boulder-scattered area once covered by the glacial ice, and the 1.1-mile (1.8-kilometer) Toe of the Athabasca Glacier Trail, which leads right to the glacier’s edge. To venture farther out on the 10,000-year-old glacier, join a tour on the Ice Explorer, a purpose-built all-terrain vehicle. Or opt for a hiking tour led by alpine guides. Organized day trips depart from Jasper and Banff, and most incorporate other Canadian Rockies highlights, such as Lake Louise, the Glacier Skywalk, and Crowfoot Glacier.

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Recent reviews from experiences in Banff

star-5
Hike of a lifetime
Ally_F, Oct 2021
Guided Glacier Hike on The Athabasca with IceWalks - 10am Departure
This was an experience of a lifetime. Tamara was an awesome and educational guide who definitely loves what she does. It's not o early strenuous but I would suggest being in decent shape because it is a hike. Overall highly recommend!
star-5
One of the best adventure!
Bernardo_L, Aug 2021
Guided Glacier Hike on The Athabasca with IceWalks - 10am Departure
Our guide was very knowledgeable and gave us the best tour. I would recommend it to anyone who likes nature and fun at the same time!!
star-5
The ice walk was spectacular!!
Mike_S, Jun 2021
Guided Glacier Hike on The Athabasca with IceWalks - 10am Departure
Walking onto the glacier was spectacular!! Our tour guide Adam was awesome, very knowledgeable and explains the history of the glacier and how the glacier created the surrounding landscape etc. Crampons for walking on the ice is provided. Much better than taking the bus onto the glacier in my opinion. I very much recommend to do the ice walk!!

Things to Know Before You Go

  • It can be cold and windy near the glacier, so wear warm layers.

  • Pay heed to warning tape, which is designed to keep visitors away from dangerous crevasses.

  • Bring an empty bottle or cup to fill up with fresh, glacial water.

  • The Icefield Centre is accessible to wheelchair users, and the Ice Explorer fleet includes vehicles equipped to carry wheelchairs.

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How to Get There

The Athabasca Glacier is located along Icefields Parkway, a scenic 143-mile (230-kilometer) highway connecting Jasper with Lake Louise. The Icefield Centre is about 64 miles (103 kilometers) from Jasper and 53 miles (185 kilometers) from Banff. If driving, be aware that only one gas station operates on the parkway, and is open only during the summer season.

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When to Get There

Glacier tours are weather-dependent and usually run from around mid-April to mid-October. Avoid the winter months, when the Icefield Centre is closed and conditions can sometimes render the Icefields Parkway impassable. Go before lunchtime or after 3pm to avoid peak visiting hours.

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The Columbia Icefield

The Athabasca Glacier is just one of eight major glaciers that make up the 125-square-mile (325-square-kilometer) Columbia Icefield, one of the biggest masses of snow and ice south of the Arctic Circle. The glacier lies on the Continental Divide, with all of its meltwater eventually ending up in one of three places: the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, or the Atlantic Ocean.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Athabasca Glacier?
A:
Attractions near Athabasca Glacier:
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Banff?
A:
As well as visiting the Athabasca Glacier, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: