Day trip

Athabasca Glacier: Columbia Icefield Parkway Tour from Banff

4.6 / 5

74 reviews

Activity provider: Discover Banff Tours

Athabasca Glacier: Columbia Icefield Parkway Tour from Banff

Activity provider: Discover Banff Tours

Travel along the world-famous Icefields Parkway and see, touch and even taste the ancient Athabasca Glacier on this full-day tour from Banff. Pass numerous Rocky Mountain peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, and emerald lakes on this incredible adventure.

About this activity

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Duration 11 hours
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Live tour guide


5 hours
  • Banff

  • 1.5 hours
  • Crowfoot Glacier Viewpoint (photo stop)

  • Waterfowl Lakes Viewpoint (photo stop)

  • 30 minutes
  • Saskatchewan River Crossing (photo stop)

  • 30 minutes
  • Icefields Parkway (photo stop, lunch, picnic, free time)

  • 40 minutes
  • Columbia Icefield (photo stop, guided tour, walk)

  • Columbia Icefield Skywalk (photo stop, visit, view, self-guided tour)

  • 1.3 hours
  • Bow Lake (photo stop, guided tour)

  • 1.5 hours
  • Banff

Pickup included
Main stop
Other stop
  • Travel along the world-famous Icefields Parkway, one of the world’s most stunning scenic drives
  • Climb aboard the Ice Explorer and travel onto the ancient Athabasca Glacier
  • Take in unparalleled views from the glass floored Glacier Skywalk
  • See iconic Rocky Mountain landmarks such as Bow Lake and the headwaters of the mighty Bow River
  • Pass by numerous peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, and lakes
Full description
Get picked up from your Banff hotel in a modern mini bus by your friendly guide. Departing from Banff, your guide will welcome you on the tour with an overview of where you'll be headed as you 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 to focus on the amphitheater of mountains towering above as you keep your eyes peeled for wildlife at the edges of the forest. The highlight of the tour is the Glacier Adventure, located halfway along the Icefields Parkway near the border of Jasper National Park. Stop at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre and board a bus that will take you to the specially designed 56-passenger Ice Explorer vehicle. Then, drive onto the Athabasca Glacier that is thousands of years old. After learning about the glacier along the way, enjoy 20 minutes of free time on the glacier to soak up the views, touch this ancient sheet of ice, and even drink pure, cold water straight from the glacier. From here, head to the nearby glass floor Glacier Skywalk and follow the 1-kilometer walkway that leads to a platform where glass is all that separates you from a 918-foot (280 m) drop. As you step out on the cliff-edge walkway, witness the giant glaciers perched above you and admire the views of the spectacular Sunwapta Valley spread out below. After the Glacier Adventure component of the tour (around 3 hours in total), there will be a scenic stop (weather permitting) to enjoy your hearty packed lunch of a sandwich, juice, fruit, chips, and brownies. Visit iconic landmarks along the Icefields Parkway such as Bow Lake, the headwaters of the mighty Bow River before heading back to Banff.
  • Banff hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • A professional certified guide
  • Small group tour size (up to 24 guests per guide)
  • Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure: Ice Explorer and Glacier Skywalk
  • Packed lunch
  • Gratuities

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Meeting point

Wait at the public bus parking spot located behind the Mount Royal Hotel at 138 Banff Ave. You must be ready 15 minutes prior to the tour departure time. Your guide will be there within the 15-minute pickup window.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Warm clothing
  • Sunglasses

Not allowed

  • Luggage or large bags

Know before you go

  • Early and late season road / trail closures may limit access to some areas
  • Infant rates do not include food
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.6 /5

based on 74 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money
  • Safety

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Fantastic opportunity to see multiple sights outside of Banff and learn about the history of the area. The glacier excursion was amazing, although I was shocked at the number of people--old enough to know better--who were completely unprepared for the weather (i.e., cold) on a glacier. We were limited to 30 minutes on the glacier, which felt rushed, but I understand the need to move things along. Be prepared for all types of weather--even if it is sunny and warm in Banff.

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September 13, 2022

This was an excellent tour and experience. Our bus driver/guide was very knowledgeable and friendly and provided information, history and stories along the way. Taking the big wheeled bus to the glacier and walking on the glacier was a very cool experience. The skywalk was great as well. The scenery was breathtaking.

July 16, 2022

September 12, 2022

Product ID: 226492