Ice Walk
for a Glacial Experience


Imagine Yourself

Ice walk anyone? The opportunity to experience a glacier firsthand is really quite something. The Columbia Icefield gets about 7 - 12 metres of snow each year. The snow is compressed and in the process all of the air is squeezed out. It is now no longer snow but rather glacial ice, and this iceflow will then begin to travel downwards. It is on this iceflow that you can have the chance to do a glacier walk.

A glacier is considered a living thing - with its dynamics always changing. From crevasses to mill wells, a glacier can be a very dangerous place to be, so it is always a good idea not to venture out on your own onto any glacial surface.

If you enjoy hiking and would like a first hand experience on a glacier, consider discovering Athabasca Glacier with a professional guide on your visit to the Icefields Parkway in Jasper National Park. Following your ice walk you can find out more about glaciers at the Glacier Discovery Centre, located across from the Columbia Icefield.


Having lived here in the mountains for most of my adult life, I have met a variety of people with some fascinating pastimes. Peter Lemieux of Ice Walks is one of these people.

As part of our section on profiling adventures here in the Rockies, we interviewed Peter and found out a little more about his passion of giving people the glacial experience of a lifetime.

What first brought you to the Canadian Rockies?

I first came to the Rockies as a dishwasher at the Banff Springs Hotel in 1971, just for the summer. (Whoa, that's forever ago...) However, I had moved west from Montreal in 1974, planning to spend just the winter, getting skiing out of my blood. Well, that didn't work... Thirty years later, and I'm still making my living on skis in the winter and on ice in the summer. And it's still fun!

Just ask Peter

How long have you been giving guided ice walks on Athabasca Glacier?

I first gave ice walks in the early '80s as an interpreter for Parks Canada. However, with parks budget cutbacks, I started my own company back in 1985. So I guess you could say that I've been leading trips on the Athabasca Glacier since 1982.

What are the biggest thrills out on the glacier?

Perhaps the best thing for me on the glacier is seeing how it blows people away! It's a landscape that's quite unique and one that most people have never experienced before. Glaciers are intimately connected to almost everyone in western Canada, and many people worldwide, in the form of water that we drink daily.

Mill Well

What are the biggest dangers?

Hidden crevasses, millwells, and slippery ice are by far the biggest dangers. Crevasses or fissures on the Athabasca Glacier are often hidden during the early summer and can trap unwary tourists. Millwells are deep holes in the ice, carved out by flowing water and leading to a network of tunnels within and beneath the glacier. And finally, to avoid problems with slippery ice, we provide our guests with crampons or spikes for their boots. They love it!

What kind of people (age, nationality, interests, physical capabilities) go out on your glacier walks?

Fresh Meltwaters

We meet people of all ages and walks of life, from all over the world, literally. Most of our clients are from Europe and the U.S. The age range is from five to eighty-five! We recommend that those under seven be seasoned hikers. (Parents, you know who those kids are...) We do operate the trips at about 6500 feet (2000m) above sea level, so sometimes the altitude is noticeable to people, however, we make numerous stops along the way.

What kinds of hikes can you offer an adventure-seeker?

Our guided interpretive hikes take place on Athabasca Glacier and are designed for anyone with a desire to see and discover the world of glacial ice. Our guides are specially trained to ensure that you are capable, properly outfitted and led safely across the glacier. We operate daily from June first to September 30. Here's what we can offer you:

Say Cheese


This three to four hour walk explores the lower half of the Athabasca Glacier and offers superb views of glacial features, ice carved landscapes and other alpine glaciers.This hike takes place daily (except Sundays and Thursdays), meeting at 10:40 a.m. and leaving promptly at 11:00 a.m.

Adults: $70.00 CDN (including GST)
Children: 7-16 years, $35.00
Plus 5%GST


These hikes are for those who wish to see as much as possible of the world of glacier ice on a full day trip. They are relatively strenuous. Due to snow and ice conditions they may not begin until early July.

This hike takes place Sundays and Thursdays, meeting at 10:40 a.m. and leaving promptly at 11:00 a.m.. Duration: 5-6 hours
Adults: $85.00 CDN (including GST)
Children: 7-16 years, $40.00
Plus 5%GST


What do I need to bring and what can you provide for a glacier hike?
We would recommend you bring the following:

Guided Hike

  • sunglasses & sunscreen
  • warm clothes (no shorts please, there is always a cold breeze up there.
  • water bottle and water
  • food for longer trips
  • we also suggest a camera and binoculars (as well as chocolate for the guide!)
We can provide the following (free of charge):
  • boots, although you may be more comfortable in your own hiking boots (a good lug sole is essential)
  • crampons (spikes for your boots).
  • gloves
  • hat
  • rain jacket and pants

We can't wait to see you out on the glacier for a truly unique experience you will never forget.


Or if you would like to book a hike, reservations can be made at:

The Glacier Discovery Centre
(across from the Athabasca Glacier)


Jasper Adventure Centre
Chaba Theatre
604 Connaught Dr
Jasper, AB

Ph: (780) 852-5595 or
Toll Free North America:1-800-565-7547
International Calls: 001 780 852-5595

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Waterfalls? Visit Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls, or how about Mistaya Canyon, Johnston Canyon or Maligne Canyon! Witness the power of water and watch how water cuts, carving its way into age-old rock. The white churning water crashes and turns into the greenest flow. The spray - refreshing... and cold!!! Nature at its finest.

Athabasca Glacier

Glaciers? These mystifying ice flows really connect you back to a time when the earth was covered in ice. Come and experience the

href= target=_blank>Icefields Parkway and go for an ice walk or take a ride on an Ice Explorer to learn more about these disappearing wonders.

Sparkling blue-green Lakes? Yes, they really do exist! The mountain parks are famous for their blue-green colour.

href= target=_blank>Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Bow Lake and

href= target=_blank>Maligne Lake (famous for Spirit Island) are just a few of the breath-taking jewels here in the Rockies that are easy to get to. Don't forget your camera!

href= target=_blank>Travelling by Road & Rail? One of the most beautiful ways to travel across this big country is by rail. Make a

href=>Vancouver circle trip that takes you from Vancouver through the Rockies to Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and back to Vancouver. There is nothing like the views from a train in the mountains!

href= target=_blank>Scenic Drives? Whether you are on the road with a rental car, a motorhome or your own vehicle, there are a number of scenic drives you can do yourself that will guide you to the most interesting spots in the mountains that you won't want to miss.

Learning a little more about Canada? Read up on this diverse country of many cultures in my Canada Quick Study. Need to know more about our currency? Take a look at my Canadian Money Quick Study and study up for your trip!

The Next Great Souvenir? You want to take something special home from the Rockies, but what? Get some tips on what you have to think about when buying souvenirs and find out what is typical here in the Rockies.

Activities? There are so many great outdoor activities that allow you to discover the mountains in a whole new way. Take a canoe out on Lake Louise or a Kayak on the Bow for an afternoon. Go horseback riding through the Sundance Canyon or go hiking at Johnston Canyon.