The sweet eye candy of the Icefields Parkway just got a little sweeter. Brewsters, the same company behind the Columbia Icefields Experience, spent $21 million on the Glacier Skywalk, a Grand Canyon-inspired glass observation deck stretching 35 metres from the cliff face and 300 metres above the stunning Sunwapta Valley. Interacting and learning about the Rockies is interesting. Walking on air (OK, 3.81cm-thick glass) is a thrill for the Bucket List.
Length of Trip : 1 hour
Cost : Starts at $24.95 per person, $12.50 for children 6 – 15. Kids under 5 walk free. There are combo packages available that tie in other experiences on the Icefields Parkway, such as the Banff Gondola, Brewster’s Glacier Adventure and a Banff Lake Cruise.
Best time to go : May to October.
Wheelchair friendly : Yes. Transport buses are wheelchair friendly as well.
Family friendly : Yes
Where to eat : There are snacks available at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre. Otherwise you’re likely to be eating either in Banff or Jasper. It’s my tradition to hit up Tony Roma’s in Banff for their bountiful beef ribs. I’m not especially proud of it, but it’s a tradition.
Official Site : Glacier Skywalk
Where to Stay : Fairmont’s iconic hotels in Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise are the obvious choices for the Bucket List. The Fairmont Banff Springs, Fairmont Lake Louise and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge are all surrounded by the exquisite beauty of the Rockies. If you’d like to stay somewhere on the Parkway itself, check out the historical 16-room Simpson’s Num-ti-Jah Lodge.
Getting There : The Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre is the departure point for the Glacier Skywalk. There is no parking available onsite at the Glacier Skywalk. You can park your RV, bike at the Glacier Discovery Centre. The Centre is located on the fabulous Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 N) approximately 6 kilometres south of the Glacier Skywalk. It is a one hour from Jasper and two and half hours from Banff. Leaving Banff, travel 57 kilometers (35 miles) north on the Trans-Canada Highway #1 to Lake Louise. Then travel 125 kilometers (78 miles) north, from Lake Louise on The Icefields Parkway Hwy 93N to the Columbia Icefield. Leaving Calgary, travel 183 kilometers (114 miles) west on the Trans-Canada Highway #1 to Lake Louise. Then travel 125 kilometers (78 miles) north, from Lake Louise on The Icefields Parkway Hwy 93N to the Columbia Icefield. Leaving Edmonton, travel 366 kilometers (220 miles) west on The Yellowhead Hwy #16, to Jasper. Then travel 108 kilometers (67 miles) south on The Icefields Parkway Hwy 93N, to the Columbia Icefield.
Note from Robin : While you’re at the Discover Centre, definitely look into the Columbia Icefields experience. A customized 4×4 bus takes you right onto the glacier! I’ve long sung the praises of the Icefields Parkway being one of the world’s most beautiful drives. Roadside attractions that allow you to appreciate the natural beauty make it even better. If the cost is deterring you, there are plenty of free pull-offs to stop the car and admire the scenery.