The Athabasca Glacier is one of several glaciers that make up the Columbia Icefields in the Canadian Rockies. Located along the Icefield Parkway between Jasper and Banff, the Athabasca Glacier is the most visited glacier in North America due to its accessibility.
This was our first glacier encounter, and of course we were eager to stand atop the icy slopes. This was made possible with the Columbia Icefield Glacier Experience.
Getting to the glacier
The only way to drive up onto the glacier is on the Brewster Ice Explorer. This $2 million Terra Bus will take you from the Icefield Center and on to the glacier for an 80 minute journey. The drive felt more like a rollercoaster as it went up and down extremely steep slopes.
Walking on the glacier
After about 20 minutes our Ice Explorer came to a clearing where we were given the opportunity to explore the glacier. Now when we say explore, you need to be very careful – remember you are standing on a glacier! A safe zone is marked out for visitors to ensure no one falls down a crevice or jumps on a thin piece of ice.
Stepping onto the ice was a surreal experience. Seeing large cracks, bright blue streams and icy formations up close truly felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It began to snow as we ran around the glacier, throwing snow balls and taking in the spectacular views.
Drinking fresh glacier water
One of the highlights of this experience was having the opportunity to drink fresh water straight off the glacier. Before our time was up we quickly emptied our water bottle and filled it with water from a stream running straight off the glacier. It was some of the most freshest (and coldest) waters we had ever tasted.
Just a reminder that it does get a little chilly on top of the glacier, even during the summer months. Make sure you bring something to rug up in during your time at the top.
Price: $54.95CAD for the Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure
Thanks to Discover Canada Tours for hosting our Canadian Rockies experience.
Have you ever had a glacier experience?
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