Athabasca Glacier, Columbia Icefield lie alongside the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93), between Lake Louise and Jasper. Visit icefieldsparkway.ca, for an overview of the regional access to the icefield from Calgary/Banff or Edmonton/Jasper. Be sure to come back here once you’re done!
Or simply read the section below for full details.
The Columbia Icefield area
Stop at the Icefield Centre for Parks Canada’s interpretive displays and information desk, washrooms and last minute snacks.
Be sure to look across the valley to the Athabasca Glacier and the parking lot nearest the glacier. We meet near the footbridge in the parking lot nearest the glacier. (Did you catch “nearest the glacier”?) Look for the black Icewalks vehicle pulling a white trailer emblazoned with the Icewalks logo. We usually arrive a half hour before the scheduled departure time of the hikes.
Distances and times:
From Banff 195 km., 2 hours 40 minutes
From Lake Louise 130 km., 1 hour 40 minutes
From Jasper 105 km., 1 hour 25 minutes
These times allow for summer traffic. Allow extra time for sightseeing stops. NOTE: The icefield area is in the Mountain Time zone. If you are coming from Valemount/Mt. Robson or Revelstoke in British Columbia you will need to adjust your watch one hour ahead.
Travel directions from Banff or Lake Louise:
Head west on the Trans Canada Highway (Highway 1 west) from Banff and go past the Lake Louise exit.
Continue west two kilometres to the junction of Highway 1 and the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 north).
Head north at the turnoff to the Icefields Parkway.
Travel directions from Jasper:
Your starting point is the junction of the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) and the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 south), accessible from the western end of the town of Jasper. (From Jasper Park Lodge, simply head west 6 kilometres on Highway 16.)
Head south on the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 south), 106 kilometres. For a map of the entire Icefields Parkway, from Jasper to the Columbia Icefield and on to Lake Louise, including mileage and sights along the way, click here.