Athabasca Glacier

The most famous and accessible glacier in the Rocky Mountains

The famous Athabasca Glacier is the absolute attraction of Banff National Park. It is about six kilometers long, and between 90 and 300 meters wide. You can explore this glacier in Canada on foot or take a ride in a special truck.

This glacier is part of the immense Columbia Icefield. This glacier is getting smaller every year. In the past 125 years, this glacier has decreased by half.

The Athabasca Glacier is located along the Icefields Parkway. Partly because of this, this is the most visited glacier in all of North America. These are the best excursions to do on Athabasca Glacier.

Hiking to the Athabasca Glacier

You can easily walk to the edge of the ice. From the parking lot you can walk to the ice mass via a gravel path. The walking path is almost flat.

Signs show how the ice level in the last decades were.

The most intriguing are the signs with years that you come across along the way. The ice reached the sign in that year. And you will find that the melting of the glacier is very rapid. In fact, the Athabasca Glacier is in danger of disappearing completely this century.

Hiking on the ice

It is possible to climb on the ice yourself. But this is not recommended. Cracks in the ice have resulted in several deaths among tourists over the decades. Ask for safe options at the Columbia Icefield Discovery Center.

Tour with a guide

A group with a guide on the Athabasca Glacier.

Various tours are offered. Including a walk where you go out with a guide. This tells all about the glacier along the way, especially about the decline of the ice. You also hear all about the animals that use the water.

In a truck or buggy on the glacier

One of the special trucks at the Athabasca Glacier.

You can visit the ice mass with special, robust vehicles. Once you've reached the ice you can get out, although it is only for a short time. So you can't take a real walk.

A guide will explain how the ice formed, but also the unprecedented forces that shaped this area. And of course the role of the ice (and the water).

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