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Athabasca Glacier Snow Trip from Banff

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Banff, Canada
Athabasca Glacier Snow Trip from Banff
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icon11 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

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Enjoy this full-day tour from Banff, visiting the Athabasca Glacier and the stunning scenery lining the breathtaking Icefields Parkway. This tour travels halfway along the world-famous Icefields Parkway, recognized as one of the top drives in the world passing numerous Rocky Mountain peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, and emerald lakes. Your tour also includes round-trip transport from Banff, a mountain picnic lunch, Glacier Skywalk, and an all-terrain Ice Explorer tour.
  • Day trip to Athabasca Glacier from Banff
  • Gaze at the stunning glaciers and remnants of the last ice age
  • Enjoy breathtaking views along the Icefields Parkway
  • Go on an exciting, optional all-terrain onto the glacier
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Professional guide
Picnic lunch
Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure: Ice Explorer! Tour and Glacier Skywalk
Small group tour (maximum of 24 guests)
Hotel pick up and drop off
Pick up from the public bus parking located behind the Mount Royal Hotel.
Mount Royal Hotel , 138 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1A7, Canada

All guests must wait at the public bus parking located behind the Mount Royal Hotel at 138 Banff Ave. You must be ready 15 minutes prior to the tour departure time. Our guide will be there within the 15 minute pick up window.

8:00 AM
This activity will end right where it started.
Explore the dramatic glaciers of Banff and Jasper National Park on this adventurous Athabasca Glacier tour. Along the way, get a first-hand look at the key role these huge ice formations played in shaping the sweeping valleys, colorful alpine lakes, and soaring peaks of the region.

Sit back and enjoy the ride along the Icefields Parkway, one of the world’s most stunning scenic drives. Because you don’t have to navigate or watch the road, this tour lets you focus on the amphitheatre of mountains towering above. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife at the edges of the forest.

Dig into a hearty mountain picnic and take a photo stop at Bow Lake, one of the largest lakes in Banff National Park, against the backdrop of the Crowfoot Glacier.

Climb aboard the Ice Explorer (a 6-wheeled behemoth of a vehicle) and drive across the surface of this glittering sheet of ice. Getting thirsty? You have a chance to drink pure, cold water straight from the glacier. You also walk the glass floor Glacier Skywalk, hanging from the edge of the Sunwapta Valley, for unparalleled views of the canyon below and mountains around you.

Please note: This tour is seasonal, operating April through October.
Stop At:  
Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre
Departing from the centre, you'll climb aboard the Ice Explorer (a six-wheeled behemoth of a vehicle) and drive across the surface of this glittering sheet of ice. Getting thirsty? You’ll have a chance to drink pure, cold water straight from the glacier. Them, be transported to the glass floor Glacier Skywalk, hanging from the edge of the Sunwapta Valley at 918-foot (280 m), for unparalleled views of the canyon below and mountains around you.
Duration: 3 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
Pass By:  
Icefields Parkway
This tour travels halfway along the world-famous Icefields Parkway, recognized as one of the top drives in the world passing numerous Rocky Mountain peaks, glaciers, waterfalls and emerald lakes.
Stop At:  
Crowfoot Glacier
A brief stop provides one of the day’s many up close glacier views.
Duration: 5 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Bow Lake
You will visit Bow Lake, one of Banff National Park's largest lakes. Bow Lake is fed by meltwater from the Bow Glacier in the Wapta Icefield and lies at the base of Bow Summit.
Duration: 20 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Infant rates do not include lunch
  • Early and late season road / trail closures may limit access to some areas.
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 24 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Discover Banff Tours
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

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157 Reviews
2 stars

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Showing 1-10 of 157 reviews
An excellent day trip!
, Jul 2022
Very nice trip with a lot of great places to see even before walking on the glacier, which is a unique experience. Our guide was very good and told us so many things about the area and its history!
Great trip
, Jul 2022
Wonderful day with a great guide. Really pleased we chose this trip to do and would highly recommend it
A phenomenal excursion!
, Jul 2022
This is a really long trip, but it's worth every second! We were picked up right on time and the tour guide explained everything we would need to do before hitting the road (picking up other guests, etc.). The ride along the icefields Highway is jaw-dropping vista after jaw-dropping vista, and our guide, Tyler, was knowledgeable, humorous (for the most part), engaging, and had some great stories about his experiences in the area. The only downside was the crowd of people at the building across from Athabasca (but that's to be expected).
icon Response from Host , Jul 2022
Hi Bob. Thanks for reviewing our tour. Glad you had a great time on our full day experience. It's a popular, iconic destination for Alberta, if not Canada. People want to see it and we're glad you did with us.
God's creation is Beautiful
, Jun 2022
Being out on the ice in the beauty of God's creation! Trip was AWESOME! What a beautiful area! The bus driver was great! He was very helpful, informative, and fun!
, May 2022
We loved learning the geological history of the mountains and other trivia. Our guide, Neil, was very knowledgeable and made the experience all the more enjoyable.
Thank you
, May 2022
The tour was more enjoyable as Jeff, Tia, Sean and Ben were all so kind and funny and accommodating.
Great experience.
, May 2022
Jeff our guide for the trip. Incredible knowledge and experience. Great story teller. Comfortable bus and good lunch.
Amazing stunning scenery
, Sep 2021
Rob was our coach driver, so patient and helpful with my husband who had limited mobility. He drove very safely and wanted us to see as much as possible. Lunch was good but our time was rushed and no where to sit. Rob and all the other drivers were very knowledgeable about history and geography
Columbia Icefields
, Sep 2019
Aaron was our guide, he was very knowledgeable and added lots of interesting points, re native tribes in the area.
Excellent trip with Matt
, Jun 2019
Great trip into the beautiful ice-fields. Knowledgeable guide Matt was excellent. Book this tour! You won’t regret it.
My wife and I had a wonderful...
Stan M
, Oct 2018
My wife and I had a wonderful experience with the glacier tour! We saw some incredible sites that we'll remember forever...many pictures! Our guide for the day Ed was wonderfully knowledgeable, not only of the area but also the history. Many interesting discussions ensued. We also very much enjoyed meeting our tour mates!
Well-worth taking this trip...
Stephen A
, Sep 2018
Well-worth taking this trip. Absolutely stunning scenery, although our guide could have eased up on the military-style organisation of the group. We were on holiday after all!
The tour guide Alice was brilliant...
Amar P
, Nov 2017
The tour guide Alice was brilliant ! She made the trip informative and interesting with her great knowledge and sense of humour. Alice ensured everyone on the bus looked after. No one was ignored or left out as sometimes can happen in a group trip. My only disappointment was that there was not enough time on the glacier. The 15-20 mins flew past and seemed very rushed. The picnic stop turned out to be amazing as we got lucky and saw a bear in the woods !. A big thank you to Alice for looking after the group. Highly recommend the tour and company.
Coming from the deep south, this was...
, Oct 2017
Coming from the deep south, this was such an unique experience!!! Totally impressed by the beauty and majesty of the area! We only had 3 full days for the visit, so we took tours each day. Each tour was different. We know we would not have seen and enjoyed a fraction of the things we experienced if we had tried to do it ourselves. The guides were knowledgeable and friendly. Would go back again in a heartbeat!!
Fantastic day. Stunning stops to and...
Jennifer E
, Oct 2017
Fantastic day. Stunning stops to and from the glacier, and Ed was a lovely, informative guide with a lot of knowledge. This trip was the perfect first jaunt into the park. The glacier itself was a little touristy, but when on vacation, it's okay to be touristy.
The sites were stunning. Be...
Leah H
, Aug 2017
The sites were stunning. Be prepared for a long drive with a few stops along the way for photos, washrooms and lunch. A little disappointed because the tour description mentioned a stop at Lake Louise, which didn't happen, not sure why as no reason was provided...we had to make our way there the next day a Saturday with tons of other visitors and had to park in the overflow lot and take the shuttle, and it wasn't even 9:00am. The glacier was an amazing experience, freezing, but amazing. Remember that when your Ice Explorer guide/driver gives you a time to be back on the bus, BE BACK ON THAT BUS, as our driver almost left the glacier without a couple who were too busy taking photos to keep track of the time. The buses run on a very precise schedule which is a well oiled machine. Be sure to do the hotel pick-up as there is no full day parking in the bus pick-up lot. Despite having spoken to someone from the tour company the previous day and being told that we could park in the lot, we returned from the tour to find a 50.00 parking ticket on our car, and we weren't the only ones from our tour who returned to this surprise. If you're good with driving and packing a lunch, I'd suggest doing the drive yourself, as there are tons of turnouts and washroom stops along the parkway for breaks and photos, all with signs and interpretive boards providing the history and explanations of everything. Driving yourself will also give you more or less time at each stop so you won't feel rushed or have to wait for others to load the bus.
Very pristine scenery surrounded by...
Rona R
, Aug 2017
Very pristine scenery surrounded by mountains and glacier ice/snow which has been there since the ice age time. The weather cooperates on the way up until we stepped on the glacier snow walk. Highly recommended for people who loves cold weather.
This was an amazing one-day tour...
Rene F
, Jul 2017
This was an amazing one-day tour. Our tour guide, Hugh, was great. He had lots of interesting information and stories about the geography and people who had discovered and developed these areas of the Canadian Rockies. He was very flexible on timing for stops along the way, and when weather and logistics issues required some minor changes. The scenery is beautiful. The experience on the glacier was one you will not want to miss. The next time we do this, I think we will consider the glacier ice walk. We ended up staying in Canmore, rather than Banff. They were very helpful to direct us to a centrally-located meeting place in Banff to meet the tour bus in the morning.
This was a very nice trip with a lot...
David P
, Jul 2017
This was a very nice trip with a lot of great scenery and wonderful to be in such a small party. Our guide was very informative and helpful and I would highly recommend the store to anybody who wants to see the sights.
Tour was very good. Saw a lot more...
, Oct 2016
Tour was very good. Saw a lot more than we would have done trying to do it by car. Guide was very informative and the glacier ride well organised.

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