The Icefields Parkway is one of the most awesome highways in the world. It winds its way south from Jasper to Lake Louise and ... More
Columbia Icefield Visitors' Centre
The Icefields Parkway is one of the most awesome highways in the world. It winds its way south from Jasper to Lake Louise and provides incredible glimpses of the glacial Columbia Icefields along the way. The Columbia Icefield Visitors' Centre is a starting point for guided tours and offers a variety of services and amenities to travelers. Find maps to picnic areas and lookout points, a restaurant, postal and banking services, public phones and restrooms, gift shop, parking and guided tours. Slide shows, exhibit areas, travel advice, and general information are all provided here. Hours vary according to season; check website for further details.
dislike: 1) pretty bad fish and chips
2) always too crowded
3) $49 [yes forty nine!] for a bus tour
like: 1) courteous and helpful employees
2) beautiful view from terrace
3) ample parking
This was our fourth visit and it is well worth the 3.5hr plane trip, but will NOT pay the above rate for a bus tour; no matter how well informed the guides.
You ride up in coach bus, with an excellent tour guide. Then you gou on a monster snow coach mobile to the top, also with an excellent tour guide. You are not quite sure if the vehicle wi9ll make it. Then you reach the glacier! Bring an empty bottle of water so you can draw water from the melted glacier and drink it. The water from the glacier is blue! To be able to walk on a glacier, to drink from it, to learn about it, what more do you want?
The views from the ice center deck are fabulous. The food in the cafeteria is excellent, especially the Asian cuisine.
Sorry to be negative about such a popular attraction, but we came away from our ice coach tour feeling it simply wasn't worth the steep price. Yes, the ride is interesting and the guide(s) are knowledgeable and fun. But for $32 apiece, you ultimately end up with a scant 20 minutes to spend walking around a large ice parking lot. There's really not much to see close up, and the more distant views are pretty much what you'd see from the Icefields Center telescope. This would be a very worthwhile tour for about $20, but at this price I'd recommend driving to the foot of the glacier and exploring on your own from there.
Excellent visitor centre with commanding views of the glacier. You can get tickets from here to go on a bus tour onto the glacier - which is a definite must do tour (unless you arrive early you may have to wait a while as the tours get booked up rapidly)
You can also go on a guided walk up the glacier (either full or half day depending on the day) which departs from the car park at the toe of the glacier - this is also a must do. You get a completely different perspective on the glacier.
From the lower car park you can walk to the toe of the glacier (although you should not venture on to it unless you are with a guide as there a many hidden dangers) It is an interesting short walk passing a number of small cairns marking where the toe of the glacier was in the reecent past.
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*Terms & Conditions: Savings calculation is based on Flight + Hotel vacation package bookings for a 3 month period for 2 adults with a 2+ night length of stay compared to price of the same components if booked separately during same period. Savings will vary based on origin/destination, length of trip, travel dates and selected travel supplier(s). Savings not available on all packages.