Looking for that one-of-a-kind off-the-beaten path activity in Jasper National Park?
While almost every activity in Jasper National Park seems to qualify (yes, I’m biased – I like Jasper National Park), here’s a hidden gem for those looking for a unique hiking experience:
- A guided ice walk on the Athabasca Glacier
Imagine hiking on a glacier. Where else could you do that?
The guided ice walk offers a way to intimately experience the Athabasca Glacier. Starting from the entrance just off the Icefield Parkway near the Athabasca Information Centre, the ice walk involves a guided hike where you’ll learn about how the glacier came to be as you hike right on the glacier.
There are 2 tours given by trained guides, a 3-4 hour “Ice Cubed” tour and a day-long 5-6 hour “Icewalk Deluxe” hike. Both have frequent stops for rest, talks about glaciers, and enjoying the scenery. The 3-4 hour Ice Cubed hike should be a good way to hike if you are in shape and able to hike but don’t want to be too tired out the next day.
Walking on ancient ice of the glacier is surely a different experience from any other hike in Jasper National Park.
There’s a certain element of danger to getting up close to this amazing ice sculpted landscape. The waiver you’ll have to sign explains some of the potential dangers, such as:
“‘…Deep millwells, crevasses, or other holes, fissures or crevices may be hidden from view and not apparent to hikers. Glacier ice can be very slippery, and ice conditions can change rapidly, without warning, in a short time or distance….”
Don’t be put off. You’ll be in good hands with the experienced guides.
Athabasca Glacier Icewalks will teach you what you need to know at the beginning of the hike. They’ll even provide crampon spikes that fit over your shoes. Glacier streams also can make for some slippery areas so you’ll need to wear boots or hiking shoes. They’ll also provide boots if you want.
Learn more at the Ice Walk website where you should make advance reservations if you plan on doing the walk this summer.