Before the Canadian Rockies Summer Ends: Athabasca Glacier

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Written by Patrick J. Smith posted on Thursday, August 26th, 2010

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As much as we hate to admit it here at Rockies.com, summer must eventually come to an end in the Canadian Rockies. But before it does, there’s a few things you should check out before your vacation time is over, one of them being the Athabasca Glacier.

Mt. Athabasca, Jasper National Park. John Marriott photo.

Among the many treasures to see in the Canadian Rockies and Jasper National Park, this one of the most popular sightseeing stops. In fact, it’s the most visited glacier in North America, and a definite must-see if you’re looking for one-of-a-kind scenery on your vacation.

It’s enormous size makes the Athabasca Glacier easy to spot. It is 6 kilometers long, and is measured between 90 to 300 meters thick. Yet, despite it’s size, you may be shocked to find out that the glacier actually moves several centimeters per day over the three bedrock steps and down towards the valley.

You can catch a ride on standard buses and special ice vehicles to get a closer look, and the Icefield Interpretive Center is a lodge and ticket sales area for the glacier. However remember to follow designated path signs, as deep crevasses are hidden in the glacier.

Visitors shouldn’t miss a stop at Athabasca Glacier because it won’t be around forever. It’s estimated this glacier recedes at 20 to 30 meters per year, and has lost over half of its volume in the past 125 years due to a warmer climate.

Jasper’s LIVE web cam is here!

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