When planning my Rockie Roadtrip I made stopping at Athabasca Glacier a must do. I have never seen a glacier before and I was hoping to get the chance to not only see one, but to stand on one as well.
The Athabasca Glacier is one of the six principal ‘toes’ of the Columbia Icefield, located in the Canadian Rockies. The glacier currently recedes at a rate of 2–3 metres per year and lost over half of its volume. It is the most visited glacier in North America.
When I first arrived, I was excited to see the path leading up to the glacier. It was obviously close to the highway if they have a walking path.
And while this path doesn’t look steep, the elevation combines with the freezing wind running off the glacier makes the walk up quite a challenge. I was huffing and puffing as though I was trying to climb Bears Hump!
When I got to the top I was very sad to see that the way to the glacier was roped off and blocked by a stream. I considered jumping the rope and hopping the stream but warnings of crevices shied me away.
It was so cold up there. The wind was blowing directly off the glacier and because I was sweaty from the walk up, I became real cold real fast.
It looks like the only way you are getting on the glacier is if you book a tour through Glacier Adventures. For $50 you get an 80 minute tour of the glacier with the opportunity to get out and walk on it. I was in a hurry to reach my destination so I didn’t have the time to go on a tour.
It was still worth the stop to stretch my legs and see a glacier up close and personal!