Hiking to Athabasca Glacier's Toe

January 24, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
 
We were driving along the Icefields Parway from Jasper to Canmore, when we decided to make a stop at Icefield Interpretive Center and hike to the toe of Athabasca Glacier located at Canadian Rockies.
 
Athabasca Glacier is just one of the six glacier tongues of the Columbia Icefield, which is situated across the Icefield Centre. As you can see, from the Icefield Centre you can glimpse the grand view of Snow Dome and the Athabasca Glacier. 
 
It is the most visited glacier in North America due to its easy accessibility along the Icefields Parkway.  The Columbia Icefield was formed during the last Ice Age.
 

Snow Domeview from Icefield Center

 

Toe of Athabasca Glacier

It’s relatively a short hike but there’s a part that is steep though the leading edge of the glacier is within easy walking distance. However, you should hike with caution and stay on the trail because there are hidden deep cracks on the ice sheet or glacier called crevasses that have led to deaths. To this date, there has never been a successful crevasse rescue recorded at the Athabasca Glacier. This is why the Icefield Interpretative Center is closed during the winter that is mid-October to mid-April.
 
The glacier is in continuous motion, creeping downward like a slow moving river; sometimes you can hear the sound from the toe of Athabasca Glacier. This movement is due to the warming of Earth. 
 
The trail runs along the edge of the glacier before looping back to the rocky ridge. 

Mt. WilcoxA frozen pond with Mt. Wilcox on the background Going back to the trailhead, you can see on your left Mt. Wilcox also Lake Sunwapta and on the right you can see the Icefield Interpretive Center.

 
Here's the last shot before going down to the trailhead where I found a frozen pond and a solitary rock with Mt. Wilcox on the background.

 

Mt. WilcoxTrail overlook view with Sunwapta Lake and Mt Wilcox in the background.

 

 

 

 

 


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