Drive for three scenic hours into the heart of the Rockies, past mountains and alpine lakes from Banff to Lake Louise and beyond to the Icefields Parkway where strings of glaciers wind down from peaks like icy rivers. One of the most dramatic is the Columbia Icefield. The museum at the Icefield Centre explains the history of glaciers and their importance in climate research within one of the biggest areas of ice and snow south of the Arctic Circle.
The Columbia Icefield is unique in that it is easily accessible. On board customized Brewster Ice Explorers with monster all-terrain wheels that tread delicately up the icy slopes, you can take an 80-minute return trip onto Athabasca Glacier. Step out of the coach and walk safely atop the six kilometre-long, kilometre-wide tongue of 10,000 year-old ice. As a cool wind blows off the glacier - even in mid-summer – keep an eye open for bighorn sheep perched on the steep surrounding slopes while an expert guide tells stories about this unique corner of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For more glacier lore, sign up for a scenic two-hour guided walking tour to trek back in time along the Athabasca’s retreating path.
Afterwards, in the Columbia Icefield Restaurant, a dining room and cafeteria are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with vistas across the icefield. You can even check into a room with a view and awaken to the sun painting the massive glacier outside your window pink.
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Specific Contact Details
Brewster Travel Canada
P.O. Box 1140, 100 Gopher Street
Banff, Alberta, Canada T1L 1J3
Tel: (403) 762-6700
E-mail: icefield [at] brewster [dot] ca
In the area
Mid April to mid October, weather dependent
Between Lake Louise and Jasper, Alberta