Canadian Rockies #4 – Athabasca Glacier

Athabasca Glacier

Our journey continued from Lake Louise to Athabasca Glacier from Trans-Canada Highway and diverting into Icefields Parkway.

Icefields Parkway is much narrower than Trans-Canada Highway. Along the way, there are a few viewpoints to stop-over for some quick photo-taking:

Hector Lake – Small viewpoints on the left side of the road. There is no direct route that leads to the lake, so the best option is to view the lake from a distance. Total distance is approximately 15 min | 21.2 km from Lake Louise.

Crowfoot Glacier – Located north-west of Lake Louise, the viewpoint can be reached within 31 min | 36 km from the town and 9 min | 13 km from Hector Lake. Same as Hector Lake, the viewpoint is located on the left side of the road but it is well-marked with information about the glacier. Take note of the big brown signboard on the right side of the road before the viewpoint, so that you don’t miss it.

Close-up view of Crowfoot Glacier
Close-up view of Crowfoot Glacier

Lake Peyto – One of the most scenic lake in Icefield Parkway. Situated approximately 6.2 km from Crowfoot Glacier Viewpoint, it takes 7 min to reach. The Bow Summit Viewpoint is not situated on the parking lot, so climbing up a hill is needed. However, it is totally worth it as entering the viewpoint is like walking into a landscape painting.

There are various routes that lead to the viewpoint. Make sure that you follow the same route, if not, it can be quite confusing.

Lake Peyto from Bow Summit
Lake Peyto from Bow Summit

Waterfowl Lake – Situated along the left side of Icefields Parkway,  which provides a good reflection of Mount Chephren and the surrounding. The viewpoint is 15.8 km from Lake Peyto, 12 min of driving.

Waterfowl Lake and Mount Chephren
Waterfowl Lake and Mount Chephren
Valley along Icefields Parkway
Valley along Icefields Parkway

Saskatchewan River Crossing – 19.1 km | 16 min from Waterfowl Lake. A great place to stopover for a rest; dine or even call it a day and stay in The Crossing Resort.

Big Bend – Big Bend is part of Icefields Parkway, which winds its way up the Big Hill. The viewpoint on the top provides a magnificent view of the valley.

Viewpoint from Big Bend
Viewpoint from Big Bend

Columbia Icefield – this area house the infamous Athabasca Glacier. Join the Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure, which includes a lifetime experience to explore the Glacier as well as Glacier Skywalk. Tickets can be booked online via Brewster Website.The Snow Coach will stop at the Glacier for 30 min, sufficient to walk around the surrounding. Due to the fragility of the glacier, it is advised not to wander too far from the group.

Athabasca Glacier
Athabasca Glacier
Ice piling up in Athabasca Glacier
Ice piling up in Athabasca Glacier

Besides the Glacier, there aren’t many activities to do around the area. Most people will continue their journey to Jasper National Park. However, to call it a day and recharge, Glacier View Inn offers reasonable price and a great view of the Glacier. Rooms are limited, so advance online booking is advisable.

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