The Jasper Glacier Skywalk is unlike no other experience! Imagine stepping off a solid sidewalk onto a glass walkway. You try to look up to take in the view of the glacier, but you can’t stop staring at your feet, because you can see down the edge of the cliffs and to the river bed below. It’s a bit of an uneasy feeling when you are standing over a 918 foot (280 meter) drop!
This 1 kilometer long glass walkway allows you have an unobstructed view of waterfalls, river beds, fossils, glaciers and mountains with exposed rock tops.
Your glacier skywalk experience begins in the Icefield Centre where you purchase your tickets, line up and await your journey. You board a passenger coach bus and take a quick 6 km (8 minute) ride to where the skywalk begins.
Once you hop off the bus, you get your ticket scanned and off you go to explore. This is where you are able to grab your free audio tour handset. There are numbered signs along the skywalk, which you enter into the handset and it lets you listen to information about the water systems, plants, glaciers and about the skywalk itself. We highly recommend you take advantage of this free self guided tour, we learned SO much!
There are staff along the walk who are offering interpretive programs. We were able to have a hands on and close up look at some animal track casts and a fossil that had been found near the glacier.
The skywalk gives you a spectacular view of the Athabasca Glacier, one of the 6 glaciers fed by the Columbia Icefield. The melting water from the glacier goes into 3 rivers that eventually feed into the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
Being able to look down to the Sunwapta Valley below really puts into perspective how powerful the ice was when it carved out the valley so many years ago.
The glacier skywalk cost $21 million dollars to build, took 2 years and was mirrored after the same design as the Cliffwalk that is located at the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver, BC. Take the time to stop at the display about how they built it, it’s quite incredible!
Once you are finished exploring the skywalk, you head back to the start and hop on the next available shuttle bus back to the Icefields Centre.
The Icefield Centre has an incredible display downstairs that was put there and designed by Parks Canada. Learn all about the glaciers, ice field, fossils, water systems and historic explorers that were the first that set up to learn about the glaciers in the area.
Hungry after all your exploring? Pop into their restaurant to relax and refuel before heading onto your next Rocky Mountain adventures.
The Jasper Glacier Skywalk gave us such a different perspective of the valley, the glacier and the ice field. The Icefield Centre was the perfect pit stop to have an adventure, eat a delicious meal and learn more about the area that we were traveling in. We highly suggest a stop here on your journey through the Icefield Parkway of Alberta.
Make sure the kids pick up an Xplorer’s booklet for the Icefield Parkway at the Parks Canada desk inside the Icefield Centre so they can work towards their souvenir dog tag!
The skywalk begins from the Icefield Centre, not directly at the skywalk. So even if you have your tickets in advance, you must take the shuttle bus to and from the skywalk (there is no parking lot directly at the skywalk).
Pack rain gear! When we arrived it was bright and sunny and the weather turned wet quickly! In the 8 minute bus ride from the Icefield Centre to the start of the skywalk, the sky opened up and it started raining on us!
Both the Glacier Skywalk and Banff Gondola are operated by Pursuit . We highly recommend purchasing your tickets and booking your tour time for both attractions in advance. Not only will buying a combo ticket save you money, but then your time will be guaranteed and you won’t have to wait hours to visit either attraction.
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I am a family adventure writer sharing stories about solo and family adventures. I’m an outdoor enthusiast and you’ll find me regularly hiking, biking or boarding, often with my children by my side. I believe in lifelong learning, following your passion and living life to the fullest every day.