Dec-Apr
Season
8:30am
Departure Time
4 Hours
Duration
8+
Age
Active
Activity

Explore the icy beauty of Grotto Canyon and see ancient native pictographs using special hiking crampons to grip the smooth frozen creek bed.

Here at Grotto Canyon, our Icewalk hikes the frozen creek bed, through a narrow canyon, past unusual rock formations and spectacular icefalls.

You might see ice climbers scaling the frozen waterfalls, but for many the highlight of the Grotto Canyon Icewalk is the ancient native pictographs, that are easily missed by the general public. Your guide will point out the stunted pine forest and hidden ancient native pictographs, which were likely created by Hopi visitors from the Arizona region.

The symbols have many possible meanings and origins and you will learn more about First Nation history in the Bow Valley.

Included
  • Small group size (up to 12 guests per guide)
  • Use of hiking poles
  • Professional certified guide
  • Light snack & refreshment
  • Ice cleats
  • Hotel pick up and drop off
Walking Distance
  • 4.2km (2.6 miles)
Elevation Gain
  • 100m (33 feet)
Guide Quote

Emma's Pick

"Grotto’s a local secret with few crowds and cool human history." - Emma , Hiking Guide, Discover Banff Tours

The best parts of the tour for most people include the following:

1

A stunted forest

Why are the trees so small and oddly shaped?
2

Grotto Creek

You will walk on the frozen creek bed in Grotto Canyon winding through the narrow gorge.
3

Rockies geology

Witness unusual rock formations and ancient ocean floors around you, the result of mountain building processes.
4

Pictographs

The ancient Native rock art provides 1500 year old clues linking native culture in Canada to distant areas further south.
5

Icefalls

Get close to icefalls seeping from the cliff face, and if lucky watch ice climbers performing their craft.
Included
  • Small group size (up to 12 guests per guide)
  • Use of hiking poles
  • Professional certified guide
  • Light snack & refreshment
  • Ice cleats
  • Hotel pick up and drop off
Walking Distance
  • 4.2km (2.6 miles)
Elevation Gain
  • 100m (33 feet)
Guide Quote

Emma's Pick

"Grotto’s a local secret with few crowds and cool human history." - Emma , Hiking Guide, Discover Banff Tours

The tour commences at 8:30am and runs for 4 hours, which includes  2 – 2.5 hours for the icewalk. The tour returns to Canmore around 12pm and to Banff at 12:30pm.
The tour includes transport from Banff and Canmore, and a 2 – 2.5 hour walk on a frozen creek through Grotto Canyon past unusual rock formations, ancient Native rock art, and icefalls.

We provide ice cleats that will be attached to your boots that will prevent you from slipping on the ice. We have hiking poles if you would like to use them as well, and we can also provide winter boots if requested at the time of booking.

We pick up from most hotels in Banff, and you can select your preferred pick-up location during the booking process. Guests in Canmore will be picked up at 8:45am from the Coast Canmore Hotel & Conference Centre. For drop offs in Banff, our guide will ask you on the way back where you would like to be dropped off either in town or at your hotel.
You will be outside for around two hours and so we suggest warm clothes, including hats, gloves and warm boots. Ski gear (such as ski pants and jacket) is recommended. Wearing other sorts of clothing such as jeans will be very cold. For your shoes, we would suggest hiking boots or snow boots.
It does get icy during the winter season which is why we provide ice cleats during the tour to give you extra grip while you are doing your ice walk on the frozen creek. We cancel our tour around -30 degrees Celsius or -22 Fahrenheit.
There is a 48 hour cancellation policy, which allows you to change/cancel or refund your booking up to 48 hours outside your booked tour (up to 7 days for group bookings).
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 12 guests per guide)
  • Use of hiking poles
  • Professional certified guide
  • Light snack & refreshment
  • Ice cleats
  • Hotel pick up and drop off
Walking Distance
  • 4.2km (2.6 miles)
Elevation Gain
  • 100m (33 feet)
Guide Quote

Emma's Pick

"Grotto’s a local secret with few crowds and cool human history." - Emma , Hiking Guide, Discover Banff Tours

  • The minimum age for this tour is 8 years.
  • Please note that this tour requires a minimum of 4 participants, please call the day prior to confirm the tour.
Included
  • Small group size (up to 12 guests per guide)
  • Use of hiking poles
  • Professional certified guide
  • Light snack & refreshment
  • Ice cleats
  • Hotel pick up and drop off
Walking Distance
  • 4.2km (2.6 miles)
Elevation Gain
  • 100m (33 feet)
Guide Quote

Emma's Pick

"Grotto’s a local secret with few crowds and cool human history." - Emma , Hiking Guide, Discover Banff Tours

Grotto Canyon Icewalk
Grotto Canyon Icewalk
Banff Icewalks
Grotto Canyon Icewalk
Banff Icewalks