Athabasca Glacier

#3 in Best Things To Do in Jasper National Park
Athabasca Glacier picture
Athabasca Glacier
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Mieneke Andeweg-van Rijn/Getty Images

Details

Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.8scorecard
  • 4.5Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Rapidly receding, the Athabasca Glacier draws visitors from around the world. The glacier is part of the massive Columbia Icefield, which divides southern Jasper and northern Banff, and is easily visible from Icefields Parkway. Hiking trails and guided tours allow visitors to get near the edge of the glacier. While travelers can hike out onto the glacier, officials do not recommend making the trek because tourists have died due to hidden crevasses in the past.

If you do want to explore the glacier's surface, or are simply looking for an excellent tour, recent visitors suggested taking an Ice Explorer tour onto the Athabasca Glacier. Past travelers raved about the entertaining tour guides and the opportunities to safely explore the ice. Each trip last between two and three hours (including 20 minutes on the ice), and all excursions include access to the Glacier Skywalk.

The Ice Explorer tours depart from the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre, about 65 miles south of downtown Jasper, where travelers can park for free. Tours of the Athabasca Glacier are available from mid-April to mid-October, but tours are dependent on the weather. Tickets cost CA$109 (about $83) and CA$55 (about $42) for adults and kids, respectively, while advanced purchases reduce the prices to CA$99 (about $75) and CA$49 about ($37). Check out the Glacier Adventure website to learn more about their offerings.

More Best Things To Do in Jasper National Park

Maligne Lake
Jasper SkyTram
Type
Time to Spend
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#1 Maligne Lake

The second-largest glacier-fed lake in the world, Maligne Lake enchants travelers with its brilliant turquoise waters and stunning skylines. Anyone who wants to trek to Maligne Lake should take the time to visit the lake's Spirit Island as well, which is one of the most famous views of the Canadian Rockies in the world. The lake sits east of the Icefields Parkway in the southern portion of the park, and travelers can access the area with their own car, in an excursion bus or even as part of a motorcycle tour. (To book a motorcycle tour, check out the Jasper Motorcycle Tours website.) Once at the lake, visitors can take advantage of a variety of tours and excursions, or just explore the area independently.

Past visitors recommended bringing a camera to capture photos of the beautiful scenery – many note there are numerous photo opportunities. However, recent travelers also warned that both the cruise and nonmotorized watercraft rentals come at a steep price.

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