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Columbia Icefield
Vacation Travel Guide

Columbia Icefield which includes landscape views, mountains and snow

This immense expanse of ice is home to six major glaciers, as well as some of the Canadian Rockies’ highest peak, including the mighty Athabasca Glacier.

Go for a drive over massive glaciers that have been active for thousands of years. Stare in awe at endless snowfields or hike past icy crevasses and muddy moraines. Drive the scenic Icefields Parkway to arrive in this vast winter landscape, which is one of the few that is easily accessible by road. Special explorer buses can take you into the park and even onto the glaciers.

With 130 square miles (365 square kilometers), Columbia Icefield is the largest of its kind in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and it feeds into six main glaciers. Located at about 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) altitude, the Columbia Icefield has year-round snowfall.

Stop at the Columbia Icefield Discovery Center, open April through October, for information. Learn how the Icefield is one of the major sources of fresh water for farmland and cities in North America. To see it all up close, book a tour with a vehicle that can take you onto the glaciers.

Most people visit at least the steadily receding Athabasca Glacier. Sign up for the Columbia Icefield Scenic Walk; a two-hour trek along the side of the glacier with a naturalist. Listen to the story of its formation and find out by how much it retracts every year. Take care if you decide to tour the glacier without a guide: Hidden crevasses in particular can prove treacherous and you should never set out on the hike alone. If you’re not feeling active, go for the Glacier Adventure aboard a snow coach bus. The trip lasts 1.5 hours and departs frequently.

Longer journeys lasting up to nine hours take in other sights of the Columbia Icefield and require you to book ahead. Tours often include Lake Louise, Peyto Lake, Big Hill, Victoria Glacier, and Athabasca Falls.

The Columbia Icefield is located on the boundary of Banff National Park. To get there from Jasper, travel 63 miles (108 kilometers) south on the scenic Icefields Parkway (Highway 93). Stop at the Athabasca Falls for a beautiful view.

Top Hotels Close to Columbia Icefield

Glacier View Lodge
Glacier View Lodge
3 out of 5
Highway 93 N, Icefields Parkway, Columbia Icefield, Jasper National Park South Entrance, AB
The price is CA $249 per night from May 16 to May 16
Situated in the mountains, this hotel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Icefields Parkway and within 3 mi (5 km) of Athabasca Glacier and Columbia Icefield. Jasper National ...
3.9/5Very Good! (779 reviews)
"Beautiful Hotel. No complaints. Perfect location if you are on your way to Jasper and want to do some hiking between Banff & Jasper."

Reviewed on Oct. 6, 2020

Glacier View Lodge
HI-Rampart Creek Hostel
HI-Rampart Creek Hostel
1 out of 5
Ice Field Parkway, Rampart Creek, AB
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Situated on a river, this hostel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Icefields Parkway and 11.3 mi (18.1 km) from Banff National Park. Panther Falls and Parker Ridge Trailhead ...
4/5Very Good! (2 reviews)
"WiFi but no showers"

Reviewed on Jun. 21, 2017

HI-Rampart Creek Hostel
Fortress Lake Wilderness Retreat
Fortress Lake Wilderness Retreat
2.5 out of 5
Columbia Shuswap A, Fortress Lake, BC
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Situated in Fortress Lake, this lodge is steps from Hamber Provincial Park and Hamber Provincial Park. Icefields Parkway is 6.4 mi (10.3 km) away.
Fortress Lake Wilderness Retreat
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Columbia Icefield Flight + Hotel Deals

Delta Hotels by Marriott Calgary South
The Malcolm Hotel by CLIQUE
Banff Rocky Mountain Resort
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Best Lodging Options Near Columbia Icefield

Glacier View Lodge
Glacier View Lodge
3 out of 5
Highway 93 N, Icefields Parkway, Columbia Icefield, Jasper National Park South Entrance, AB
The price is CA $249 per night from May 16 to May 16
Glacier View Lodge
HI-Rampart Creek Hostel
HI-Rampart Creek Hostel
1 out of 5
Ice Field Parkway, Rampart Creek, AB
HI-Rampart Creek Hostel
Fortress Lake Wilderness Retreat
Fortress Lake Wilderness Retreat
2.5 out of 5
Columbia Shuswap A, Fortress Lake, BC
Fortress Lake Wilderness Retreat
Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge
Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge
2 out of 5
Highway 93 - Icefields Parkway, Sunwapta Falls, AB
The price is CA $159 per night from May 24 to May 24
Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.