Columbia Icefield

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Columbia Icefield: Our most recommended tours and activities

Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure: Ice Explorer & Skywalk

1. Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure: Ice Explorer & Skywalk

Begin your unique adventure at the Columbia Icefield Discovery Center. Meet your guide, who will take you to the Athabasca Glacier. At the scheduled time, board your Ice Explorer, a huge vehicle specifically designed for glacial travel, and set off on an exciting ride. During your ride, hear stories and facts about the Columbia Icefield and the glaciers around you. Once on the Glacier, hop off the vehicle to walk on the extremely thick, 25,000-year-old ice and drink cold, pure water from the glacier itself. This is an experience you will never forget. Then, take a short ride to the Columbia Icefield Skywalk. Heighten your senses by walking on a platform where only glass separates you from a 918-foot (279-meter) drop. Marvel at the spectacular views of the mountains, glaciers, and the Sunwapta River with its waterfalls.

Jasper: Columbia Icefield Skywalk

2. Jasper: Columbia Icefield Skywalk

Get an entry ticket to Columbia Icefield Skywalk, a cliff-edge walkway 918 feet (279 meters) above the valley floor. See giant glaciers perched above you and the spectacular Sunwapta Valley below with this experience. Make your way to the Columbia Icefield Discovery Center in Jasper, then board the shuttle to get to the skywalk. Upon arrival at the observation platform, collect your audio guide and embark on your adventure. Step onto the glass floor of the Columbia Icefield Skywalk to begin the scenic 1-kilometer walk, surrounded by fantastic views. Marvel at crystal-clear waterfalls, admire the mountains and glaciers above and keep a lookout for wildlife native to the Candian Rockies.

Canadian Rockies: Helicopter Flight with Exploration Hike

3. Canadian Rockies: Helicopter Flight with Exploration Hike

Get ready for an awe-inspiring experience of the Rocky Mountain with this scenic helicopter flight and hiking tour. See the Rockies from a bird's-eye view. Admire the stunning views of the mountains, lakes, and glaciers from above. Then explore the region’s natural beauty on foot. Choose from a 20, 30, or 55-minute scenic flight. Each option includes incredible panoramas of waterfalls, emerald-green lakes, and mountain ridges. With the 55-minute flight, approach the Columbia Icefield, the largest expanse of ice in the Rocky Mountains. After the flight, land at the confluence of the Cline River and Waterfalls Creek. Continue to explore the wild beauty of this region on foot, hiking to the Twin Falls waterfall. Then climb back on board the helicopter and fly back to the heliport, enjoying the fantastic views of Abraham Lake.

Athabasca Glacier: Columbia Icefield Parkway Tour from Banff

4. Athabasca Glacier: Columbia Icefield Parkway Tour from Banff

Get picked up from your Banff hotel in a modern mini bus by your friendly guide. Departing from Banff, your guide will welcome you on the tour with an overview of where you'll be headed as you sit back and enjoy the ride along the Icefields Parkway, one of the world’s most stunning scenic drives. Because you don’t have to navigate or watch the road, this tour lets you to focus on the amphitheater of mountains towering above as you keep your eyes peeled for wildlife at the edges of the forest. The highlight of the tour is the Glacier Adventure, located halfway along the Icefields Parkway near the border of Jasper National Park. Stop at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre and board a bus that will take you to the specially designed 56-passenger Ice Explorer vehicle. Then, drive onto the Athabasca Glacier that is thousands of years old. After learning about the glacier along the way, enjoy 20 minutes of free time on the glacier to soak up the views, touch this ancient sheet of ice, and even drink pure, cold water straight from the glacier. From here, head to the nearby glass floor Glacier Skywalk and follow the 1-kilometer walkway that leads to a platform where glass is all that separates you from a 918-foot (280 m) drop. As you step out on the cliff-edge walkway, witness the giant glaciers perched above you and admire the views of the spectacular Sunwapta Valley spread out below. After the Glacier Adventure component of the tour (around 3 hours in total), there will be a scenic stop (weather permitting) to enjoy your hearty packed lunch of a sandwich, juice, fruit, chips, and brownies. Visit iconic landmarks along the Icefields Parkway such as Bow Lake, the headwaters of the mighty Bow River before heading back to Banff.

Canadian Rockies: Scenic Helicopter Tour

5. Canadian Rockies: Scenic Helicopter Tour

Choose between a 20-minute, 30-minute, or 55-minute tour over the Canadian Rockies with a professional pilot. The day starts at the helicopter base surrounded by mountain views. Go through a thorough safety briefing with the flight crew before learning about the controls and getting kitted out with a professional headset. Feel the excitement build as the crew readies for takeoff. Once in the air, the itinerary will vary depending on the option selected. Either way, breathtaking sights are guaranteed. 20-Minute Tour Deep in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, take in an incredible view of Abraham Lake - its incredible blue color and unique bubble patterns are truly a sight to see. After a glimpse of the lake, continue the flight around the Canadian Rockies. 30-Minute Tour The most popular of the 3 flights, this adventure covers crevasses, glaciers, and waterfalls over the beautiful Wilson Icefield. Soar at a cool 100mph, 9000ft (2900m) over Cline Pass. Admire the impressive fierceness of the mountains while flying alongside them. 55-Minute Tour The “Complete Columbia Icefields Tour” is just that – a complete, full, 55 minutes of gorgeous scenery and ancient ice. See the iconic Columbia Icefield the way it was intended, an awe-mazing trip highlight to remember for years to come. Marvel at incredible panoramas of waterfalls, emerald-green lakes, and mountain ridges. Pass over 6 different glaciers surrounded by frozen lakes and waterfalls. Many mountains reveal themselves along the trip, including Purple Mountain, Mount Cline, Resolute Mountain, Mount Harlan, Minster Mountain, and more. This trip is sure to leave anyone speechless. All the trips end with one last 360-degree view of the Canadian Rockies and Abraham Lake before landing softly back at the heliport.

Icefields Parkway: Smartphone Audio Driving Tour

6. Icefields Parkway: Smartphone Audio Driving Tour

Discover the incredible Icefields Parkway with this smartphone audio tour between Lake Louise and Jasper. Let your audio guide transform this beautiful scenic drive into a sight-seeing, fact-finding, trivia-answering, family-friendly adventure. With your phone or tablet at your guide (download instructions found on your confirmation voucher), start from either Jasper or Lake Louise, and end at the other. Enjoy the same tour experience in either direction. Watch as your audio guide point out must-see sights, attractions, breathtaking mountains, and glaciers that you pass along the journey. Learn about the area's early pioneers, animals, geography, and the historical events that led to the highway’s creation. Take in the panoramic views of Lake Hector and Bow Lake, and stop for easy trails in Banff National Park. Explore the Columbia Icefields and the Columbia Icefields Discovery Center. See the majestic Dolomite and Bow Peaks, Mount Amery, Mount Murchison, and Mount Wilson. Take in the gorgeous Sunwapta Falls where the water flows from the melting Athabasca Glacier. Hear about the people and events that made the area famous like Mary Shaffer Warren, Bill Peyto, George Simpson, and the Palliser Expedition. Easily navigate your tour and enjoy entertainment suitable for all ages. Stay laughing and engaged with your friends or family along the way with trivia fun. Hear fun audio clips that play automatically as you drive using a live GPS map. Try out multiple-choice trivia questions about the sights at each point of interest you pass. With no time constraints, enjoy the freedom to stop anywhere and take your time exploring.

Canadian Rockies 7–Day National Parks Group Tour

7. Canadian Rockies 7–Day National Parks Group Tour

Day 1: Seattle to Kamloops Kamloops British Columbia is abundant with stunning scenery and great wildlife . Cougars, bears, elk, and more inhabit the Thomson River Valley. Stop for a short walk and picnic at Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park.  Day 2: Yoho National Park Explore trails around the magnificent Emerald Lake or simply relax in the lakeshore cafe and enjoy the views. Drive along the Kicking Horse Pass across the Continental Divide into Alberta. Enjoy panoramic vistas of peaks exceeding 10,000 feet on Rogers Pass at the summit in Canada's Glacier National Park en route to Banff, your night stop. Day 3:  Banff National Park - Lake Louise Lake Louise is an alpine lake known for its stunning turquoise glacier-fed waters, surrounded by high peaks and overlooked by a stately chateau. Multiple hiking trails lead to the Lake Agnes Tea House for bird's-eye views of the lake. Take a hike to the Plain-of-Six-Glaciers, take it easy exploring the lakeshore or choose to canoe on these pristine waters. Visit Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, at an elevation of approximately 6,183 feet, for some epic photos. Day 4: Icefields Parkway Spend the day driving and exploring the Icefields Parkway. This drive offers endless vistas, jagged mountains, glaciers and wildlife viewing opportunities. Enjoy short walks, views of Bow Glacier and Peyto lake, take an optional helicopter flight over the Columbia Icefield, or strap on some crampons and step out onto the Athabasca glacier. Day 5: Jasper National Park Enjoy Canada's largest National Park, Jasper. Marvel at the snowcapped summits and beautiful lakes in this true wild mountain wilderness. Jasper offers an abundance of wildlife sightings, jagged mountain peaks, alpine lakes and numerous hiking and biking opportunities. Choose to visit Miette hot springs, or hike/bike the famous trails around stunning lakeshores. After a full day of activities, follow the Yellowhead Highway, hugging the mighty North Thompson River to your night stop of Cleawater BC. See the base of 12,972-foot Mount Robson (the highest point in the Canadian Rockies) and maybe catch a glimpse of the infamous peak en route. Day 6: Whistler and Vancouver On to the alpine resort of Whistler, nestled at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Today is yours to explore all that Whistler has to offer. Enjoy spectacular scenery and incredible photo opportunities as you explore this ski town, home of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Drive the spectacular Sea to Sky highway for your evening in Vancouver. Day 7: Vancouver and Seattle This morning, tour Vancouver, including the waterfront, Gas lamp district, Chinatown, and Stanley Park. Head to Seattle for a your evening downtown or drop off at the departure hotel.

Other Sightseeing Options in Columbia Icefield

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What people are saying about Columbia Icefield

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 177 reviews

Very informative. It was great to look and listen rather than having my nose in a map trying to figure out what I’m looking at. History of the area was interesting

It was a great experience, one I won't forget! The guides were friendly and knowledgeable.

Friendly, helpful drivers. Beautiful views and great time of year to go.

It was good to hear about different places that we were not aware of.

Tricky getting started but great info made for a super ride