Apr – Oct
Season
9:30am
Departure Time
10 Hours
Duration
All Ages
Age
Leisurely
Activity

See, touch and even taste an ancient glacier that has been slowly creeping across the Rocky Mountains for millions of years.

Sit back and enjoy 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 amphitheatre of mountains towering above. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife at the edges of the forest.

Afterwards, dig into a hearty mountain picnic and take a photo stop at  Peyto Lake – famous for their stunning pale milky-turquoise hue.

Climb aboard the Ice Explorer (a six-wheeled behemoth of a vehicle) and drive across the surface of this glittering sheet of ice. Getting thirsty? You’ll have a chance to drink pure, cold water straight from the glacier.

Included
  • Small group size (up to 24 guests per guide)
  • Professional certified guide
  • Ice Explorer
  • Use of binoculars
  • Hands on interpretive tools
  • Hotel pick up and drop off
Meal
  • Alpine Picnic Lunch
Guide Quote

Rose's Pick

"Besides the amazing views you'll have a chance to try delicious water straight from the glacier." - Rose , Manager of Guiding Operations

Highlights:

Board the Ice Explorer and step foot onto the ancient Athabasca Glacier

Make a stop at the Columbia Icefields Centre

Journey along the Icefields Parkway – rated as one of the most scenic highways in the world

Gaze in awe and snap photos of glaciers left over from the last ice age

Dig into a hearty mountain picnic

1

Crowfoot Glacier

One of the day’s many up close glacier views
2

Peyto Lake

The classic emerald green jewel of the Canadian Rockies
3

Saskatchewan Crossing

A rest stop/coffee break
4

Mountain Picnic Lunch

Enjoy a hearty lunch with your choice of sandwich at a scenic stop along the Icefields Parkway.
5

Columbia Icefields

Venture onto the Athabasca Glacier on the Ice Explorer! and visit the interpretive centre.
6

Bow Lake

The headwaters of the mighty Bow River.
Included
  • Small group size (up to 24 guests per guide)
  • Professional certified guide
  • Ice Explorer
  • Use of binoculars
  • Hands on interpretive tools
  • Hotel pick up and drop off
Meal
  • Alpine Picnic Lunch
Guide Quote

Rose's Pick

"Besides the amazing views you'll have a chance to try delicious water straight from the glacier." - Rose , Manager of Guiding Operations

Q: How long is the tour?
A: The tour begins at 9:30am and brings you back to Banff around 7pm, approximatly 9.5 hours.

Q: Is lunch included?
A: A picnic lunch is included on the tour. On nice days we stop at Coleman Picnic Area, by the Sasketchewan River, but if the day isn’t nice enough we will have our lunch when we get to the Columbia Icefields

Q: Is there a lot of walking involved?
A: At every stop you will have the opportunity to get off the bus and stretch your legs. All of the viewpoints are a short walk

Q: What sort of shoes and clothing should I wear?
A: We suggest that you dress in layers and according to the weather. A large portion of the tour you will be on the bus. It is usually only a few degrees cooler at the Icefields as it is in Banff, although the glacier does experience some cold winds. For shoes, we would suggest closed toes shoes such as trainers or outdoor shoes. It is also recommended to take sunglasses, as it can be very bright on the glacier.

Q: How long are we on the glacier for?
A: The tour from the Columbia Icefield Center is about an hour and 15 minutes, where there will be guided commentary all the way. You get about 20 minutes on the glacier itself.

Q: How long is the drive from Banff?
A: The drive from Banff to the Columbia Icefield is around 3 hours.

Q: Where do we stop and for how long?
A: We make lots of stops along the way to break up the drive. Normally we stop at:

  • Crowfoot Glacier – 10 minutes
  • Peyto Lake – 25 minutes
  • Saskatchewan Crossing – 10 minutes
  • Coleman Picnic Area – 30 minutes
  • Columbia Icefields Centre – 2 hours
  • Bow Lake – 20 minutes

Q: Where is our pick up and drop off from?
A: We pick up from most hotels in Banff. For drop offs, our guide will ask you on the way back where you would like to be dropped off either in town or at your hotel.

Q: What happens if it not a nice day for our picnic lunch?
A: We will go to the Columbia Icefield Centre and have lunch there, while you enjoy the view of the glacier before you head onto the Ice Explorer Tour.

Q: Does it snow on the glacier during the summer?
A: It can snow, rain, hail or shine any month of the year at the Icefileds. We suggest you dress in layers and prepare for unpredictable weather.

Q: Does this tour run in winter?
A: Unfortunately the tour does not run in winter, as conditions are to harsh to travel on the glacier.

Q: How far is Jasper from the Athabasca Glacier?
A: Jasper is approximately 1.5 hours driver from the Glacier. We do not include Jasper in the tour, as there would be a huge time constraint with traveling time.

Q: Will I see wildlife on the tour?
A: There is a chance of seeing wildlife on the tour, and the Icefields Parkway is a common area to spot animals, however we do not guarantee seeing wildlife on any of our tours. Our guides have a lot of knowledge about the animals within the park and can fill you in about them if you see any wildlife or if you have any questions.

Q: Should I tip my guide?
A: Tips are not expected, but are certainly appreciated. If you think your guide did a wonderful job and would like to indicate that with a tip, it will be graciously accepted.

Included
  • Small group size (up to 24 guests per guide)
  • Professional certified guide
  • Ice Explorer
  • Use of binoculars
  • Hands on interpretive tools
  • Hotel pick up and drop off
Meal
  • Alpine Picnic Lunch
Guide Quote

Rose's Pick

"Besides the amazing views you'll have a chance to try delicious water straight from the glacier." - Rose , Manager of Guiding Operations

Columbia Icefields Parkway Tour
Columbia Icefield Parkway
Columbia Icefield Parkway
Columbia Icefield Parkway Tour
Columbia Icefield Parkway Tour
Columbia Icefield Parkway
Columbia Icefield Parkway