The Athabasca Glacier is part of the larger Columbia Icefield, which stretches off over the mountains of the Canadian Rockies. We made it to the closest and easiest place to view the glacier from, along the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93), which passes just along the viewpoint that we made it to. It is one of 6 major arms of the Columbia Icefield, the largest Icefield in the Rocky Mountains. Here you can get an up-close and personal view of the massive glacier.
We arrived a few days after the first snowfall, so the lower parking lot was closed, but normally its very easy to get close to the glacier from the highway. We had to walk a bit further, and aside from having to be a little extra cautious with the icy packed snow, it didn’t take us very long. If you have a guide or experience hiking with the danger of glaciers, it’s possible to hike even further, which we did not do.
The Icefields Parkway (which gets its name from it’s proximity to the glacier) travels from Jasper to just north of Lake Louise, winding through the incredible mountains of the Canadian Rockies. The Athabasca Glacier is the easiest one to visit. As you drive along the highway this massive glacier reveals itself, becoming even more impressive the closer you get.
With a fresh layer of snow, it was hard to see where the Glacier ended and the snow began. Sadly, as you walk up towards the glacier there are signs along the way indicating how much the glacier had receded over the years.
There are so many great places to stop along the Icefields Parkway, as there are many places to pull over to the side of the road to stop and admire your surroundings. We loved our visit to the Athabasca Glacier, as it was a reminder of how incredible nature can be, and how important it is to keep it that way.