Columbia Icefields

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The Best of Both Worlds at the Columbia Icefields, Alberta

by: Brian W.

The Columbia Icefields, partially situated in Banff National Park and partly within the boundaries of Jasper National Park, is the largest amount of ice accumulation in the Canadian Rockies and is the largest south of the Arctic Circle.

These icefields cover an area of more than 300 square kilometres (186 miles) and are over 350 metres (1000 feet) thick. Conditions here are almost the same as during the last ice age that occurred between 75,000 years to 100,000 years ago.

Aboriginals knew about the Columbia Icefields and their location, but Europeans did not see them until 1892 and then only from the peaks to the east.

Hit the Road at Columbia Icefields, Canada

The Icefields Parkway that connects Lake Louise in the south to Jasper in the north is known as one of the world’s most spectacular mountain highways, and for good reason. Scenery in this part of the world is breath taking.

Starting at Lake Louise, heading north you climb through forests to the Bow Summit, the highest point on the Parkway. From the Bow summit to Saskatchewan Crossing you wind your way alongside the Mistaya River to the valley of the Saskatchewan River.

Great Activities and Things to Do in Columbia Icefields, Alberta

Scenery along here is spectacular. Once you leave the Columbia Icefields and Tangle Ridge the Parkway drops as you follow the Sunwapta and Athabasca Rivers in Jasper.

Sightseeing is the larger drawing card to this region. There are hundreds of opportunities for photography and wildlife viewing. Walking, hiking, mountain biking, fishing and ice-tours are all very popular. Golfing is popular, too.

Rafting is also a very popular activity in the Columbia Icefields, Alberta. There are tons of resources that you can use to find the perfect rafting adventure for you and your family. We highly recommend Mistaya Rafting for a one-of-a-kind whitewater experience.

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