January 19, 2017

Review: Walking On Athabasca Glacier And Glass-floored Glacier Skywalk at Banff

If personally walking on the Glacier is one thing that you have always been wanting to do, then the Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure is for you without paying for the high priced helicopter rides that are heavily advertised at other glacier places in the world.

I had an opportunity to do this adventure during my visit to Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada. Below is my review of this adventure:

Getting Ticket(s)
I recommend that you get the tickets for the Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure before hand - online. This is a popular tour on the famous Icefields Parkway. In addition, it'll also save you time from standing on a long queue to purchase your ticket at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre. For ticket price, please refer to the official site of the tour. The tour includes walking on the Athabasca Glacier and the glass-floored Glacier Skywalk.

Want To Walk On The Athabasca Glacier?

Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre
As mentioned above, this is where you you will go get your ticket. You can purchase ticket online, but you still need to go redeem your boarding pass at the center using the fast lane. The agent at the ticket counter will give you suggestions on when to do the Glacier and the Skywalk. Typically, it's recommended that you do the walking on the Athabasca Glacier first, then the Skywalk later as they are not in one area close to each other.

The center is located on the Icefields Parkway highway, 2 hours from Banff and 1 hour from Jasper town. There are several parkings available there, free of charge. The facility is very nice with shops, dinning, and Glacier lookout, etc. This is also the place where you will queue up to do your tour.

Transportation 
This deserves its own section of review as I was very fascinated by the massive Ice Explorer vehicle that they use to take visitors and park literally ON the Athabasca Glacier. You first queue up at the Discovery Center to board the bus that transits you towards the Athabasca Glacier's direction. From there, you will be transferred to the Ice Explorer vehicle that drives on the dirt road onto the Athabasca Glacier. It's very fun to ride in it! The driver will also give you general information about the vehicle and the glacier, as well as let you know how and when to come back to the vehicle. Do pay attention to that and remember your vehicle's number, because we saw couple visitors that missed their Ice Explorer vehicle's ride at the Glacier and ended up waiting for a long time for the next available vehicle to come pick them up. The Ice Explorer vehcile's seats are often full and it's capacity control for safety reasons.

Massive Ice Explorer Vehicle On The Athabasca Glacier

Walking On the Athabasca Glacier
This experience is something that I think everyone should at least try once in their lifetime. Do dress appropriately though because it's cold up there. I also dare you to touch the fresh ice water there! The Ice Explorer will let you spend time on the surface of the Athabasca Glacier. Signs are clearly marked for where you are allowed to go to, but it's generally not too far from the Ice Explorer vehicle. It was incredible to get to see the Glacier that up close.

Walking On the Glass-floored Glacier Skywalk
After the Athabasca Glacier's walk, you will be transported back down via the Ice Explorer. Then you are transferred back to the transit bus. The bus driver then takes you all the way to the Glass-floored Glacier Skywalk. As name suggests, you walk on the glass-floored skybridge on top of the cliff's edge. To me, the scenery is really nice but the skywalk itself is thrilling and exciting! The area is nice to just hang around and relax with stunning scenery.

Glass-floored Glacier Skywalk & Scenery

Glass-floored Glacier Skywalk

The End of Adventure Tour
After you are done with the Skywalk, you get out and wait for the bus that comes to drop visitors from the Athabasca Glacier's walk. The bus then will take you back to the Discover Centre.

Check out more articles on Banff Canada

No Driving Yourself - Transit Bus For Adventure Tour Visitors


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