Columbia Icefield

Jasper National Park

About halfway between Lake Louise village and Jasper Town, you'll glimpse the vast Columbia Icefield, covering an area the size of Vancouver and feeding eight glaciers. This remnant of the last ice age is up to 350m thick in places and stretches across the plateau between Mt Columbia (3747m) and Mt Athabasca (3491m). For serious hikers and climbers, this is also the only accessible area of the icefield. For information and conditions, visit Parks Canada at the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre.

This is the largest icefield in the Rockies, feeding the North Saskatchewan, Columbia, Athabasca, Mackenzie and Fraser River systems with its meltwaters. The mountainous sides of this vast bowl of ice are some of the highest in the Rockies, with nine peaks higher than 3000m.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Jasper National Park attractions

1. Athabasca Glacier

6.54 MILES

The tongue of the Athabasca Glacier runs from the Columbia Icefield to within walking distance of the road opposite the Icefield Centre. It can be visited…

2. Columbia Icefield Skywalk


Winner of numerous architectural awards, this glass-floored, glass-sided, open-air lookout and walkway is suspended high above the Sunwapta River opposite…

3. Icefields Parkway

8.17 MILES

The Icefields Pkwy is often referred to locally as the ‘world’s most spectacular road,’ and it’s tough to argue. Stretching for 230km north from Lake…

4. Bridal Veil Falls Viewpoint

11.57 MILES

Near the Icefield Parkway's midpoint, just east of a dramatic bend in the roadway, this lookout offers amazing views southeast down the valley of the…

5. Jasper National Park

12.18 MILES

Encompassing 11,228 sq km of Rocky Mountains wilderness, including jagged peaks, vast forests, glacial lakes and the magnificent Columbia Icefield, Jasper…

6. Weeping Wall

13.36 MILES

This imposing rock wall towers above the east side of the Icefields Parkway, a few kilometers south of Sunwapta Pass and the Banff–Jasper border. In…

7. Saskatchewan River Crossing

27.86 MILES

This junction of Hwy 93 (the Icefields Pkwy) and Hwy 11 (the David Thompson Hwy) marks the site where 19th-century fur trappers crossed the North…

8. Sunwapta Falls

29.33 MILES

Meaning 'turbulent water' in the native language of the Stoney First Nations, the 18m Sunwapta Falls formed when the glacial meltwaters of the Sunwapta…