Insider Tip Saskatchewan Glacier


North Saskatchewan River
North Saskatchewan River
Marcel Finnigan

Are you a hiker? 34 km north of the Saskatchewan River Crossing, just after crossing the bridge over Nigel Creek, you will come to what is known as the Big Bend. On the left you will see part of the original 1940 Banff to Jasper highway and a bridge which is where the trailhead to the Saskatchewan Glacier is located. This glacier is the source of the North Saskatchewan River. The Saskatchewan Glacier is just one of many glaciers that comes from the Columbia Icefield you are traveling to!

Saskatchewan glacier is part of the Columbia icefield. This glacier doesn't have the easy access that the Athabasca glacier has, but it does have the reward of being isolated. When you hike into it, chances are you may be the only one or with very few people, do travel with caution as there may be grizzly bears along the route. Prior to this hike you can check with Parks Canada before for any wildlife warnings such as the grizzly bears. The hike takes approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours in one direction approximately 7 km one way about 14km round trip. You will need a minimum of 5 to 6 hours to enjoy this experience. The hike can have some rewarding experiences as keeping your eyes open for ancient sea life such as Trilobites that are fossilized in some of the rocks along this trail. Now if you find 5 to 6 hours is too much time there is a short hike at Parker's Ridge , which will give you a beautiful view of the entire glacier along with the Columbia icefield.

Saskatchewan Glacier from Parker's Ridge By ParleUsted at youtube

I found that when I did this hike it brought me back in time as you start out near an old bridge from the original highway of the 1930's when the highway was first built, it made me think of what it might have been like back in those early years, when most travel was done by foot or by horseback. Make sure that you have good footware and are well prepared for weather change as it can change quite rapidly here in the mountains. The last time I hiked in the weather was quite nice when I started but then a storm had moved in quite rapidly just as I was making my way back.

Return from Insider Tip Saskatchewan Glacier
to Via Icefields Parkway