Is the Columbia Icefield Skywalk Worth It? (Jasper Skywalk)

The Columbia Icefield Skywalk, also known as the Jasper Skywalk or Glacier Skywalk, is one of the latest tourist attractions unveiled in Jasper National Park. The Jasper Skywalk is a glass-bottomed bridge that extends out from a cliff edge at the height of nearly 300 meters from the valley floor down below.

Visitors will receive a thrill as they look down to unencumbered views down below the Jasper glass bridge and out to dizzying peaks topped by glaciers. The Columbia Icefield Skywalk is heavily advertised, and it will certainly pique the interest of many. It’s also included in a combo ticket with the Athabasca Glacier Experience, Banff Gondola, and a cruise on Lake Minnewanka or Maligne Lake.

You can not park at the Columbia Icefield Skywalk, but you can catch a shuttle bus at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Center. In this post, we share what to expect from a Glacier Skywalk experience and whether it’s worth a visit.

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Columbia Icefield Skywalk General Information

Glacier-Skywalk-Things-To-Do-in-Banff
Pursuit Banff Jasper Collection

The Columbia Icefield Skywalk is a glass-bottomed bridge just north of the Athabasca Icefield and is a popular stop on the Icefield Parkway. Athabasca Glacier happens to be the most accessible glacier in the Canadian Rockies and well worth a stop.

From the Glacier Discovery Center, visitors have the opportunity to grab lunch, shop, hop on a tour, or even spend the night at a nearby Jasper Campground or Glacier View Lodge. The center serves as a hub for the Columbia Glacier Adventure Experience, Glacier Walk, and the Jasper Skywalk.

Mike Seehagel / Pursuit Banff Jasper Collection

You used to have the option to book any of the experiences separately other than the interactive walk on the Glacier. However, now the experiences must be booked in combos. The Jasper Skywalk is included in Pursuit’s Columbia Icefield Discovery Tour, including the Ice Explorer Tour.

That experience allows visitors to ride in massive monster trucks on the Athabasca Glacier, where they’re able to stand in a large lot on the glacier. This all unfolds beneath one of the most famous mountains in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Athabasca.

Tickets for the experiences operate on time slots, so it’s best to purchase your tickets in advance to avoid a long wait or the tickets being sold out entirely.

According to your ticketed time, you’ll board a bus at the Glacier Discovery Center that will drive you to the Jasper Skywalk. It’s 6 km away from the Glacier Discovery Center and does not offer views of the Athabasca Glacier, but instead the Sunwapta Valley.

The Icefield Skywalk is a kilometer-long walk that first moves along interactive displays where guests learn about the natural process that formed the Rockies along with the fossils. You follow along through an audio guide available in a wide range of languages that should cover most visitors.

The walk on the glass-bottomed bridge is a short but thrilling walk for many as they peer down on the valley far below. No need to worry about safety as these glass panels are literally bulletproof and then some.

If you’re scared of heights, it may make your heart skip a beat as the view down to the valley floor 918-foot (280 meters) below can be dizzying.

Mount-Athabasca-and-Andromeda-Icefields-Parkway-Banff

The bridge is shaped in a large semi-circle that offers 270° views of the sweeping valley. Off in the distance, you can see the glaciers far off in the distance that you left at the Discovery Center. In the distance, you can see the scale of Mount Athabasca, Andromeda, and glimpses of the Columbia Icefield high above Mt. Kitchener.

While the views are certainly enviable, they are not the jaw-dropping views some might expect. We regularly find and experience far better views on the free hikes in the Canadian Rockies.

A nice feature of the Icefield Skywalk is its wheelchair accessibility; handicapped users can get the same thrilling views. The only other area it’s possible to do this is at the Banff Gondola, managed by the same company, so we applaud them for making natural beauty more accessible to all.


When is the Columbia Icefield Skywalk open?

The Icefield Skywalk closes in the winter months due to dangers on the Icefield Parkway in the winter and decreased demand. However, it opens in the spring and runs until the fall.

The official dates are always subject to the season and weather. In 2022, the Columbia Icefield Skywalk will be open from May 1 to October 10, 2022. Please keep in mind the Columbia Icefield Skywalk will close if conditions are truly adverse.


Ticket Prices for the Columbia Icefield Skywalk

Tickets for the Columbia Icefield Skywalk are part of the Columbia Icefield Adventure ticket, which includes the Ice Explorer and Skywalk.

Adult$86
Children$55.90
Kids (Under 5)Free

Ticket prices for the Jasper Skywalk may vary by a few dollars due to demand and season.

Go Off-Peak! Pursuit offers discounted tickets for those that go in off-peak times. Enjoy the early morning light on the glacier daily before 12 pm and only pay $77 per adult and $50.50 for children.


Is the Columbia Icefield Skywalk Worth it?

We can’t help but feel what is the point of the Jasper Skywalk? For the vast majority of visitors, I’d say save your money and give the Columbia Icefield Skywalk a skip.

However, for handicapped visitors, its wheelchair accessibility is notable, and they may find good value as hiking or climbing a mountain is not in the cards. That being said, we’d recommend the Banff Gondola over the Icefield Skywalk as the views are better, especially since you get a similar view to the Columbia Icefield Skywalk from the road.

Upon the initial launch of the Columbia Icefield Skywalk, it was called the Glacier Skywalk, but considering its limited views of glaciers, the name was changed to the Columbia Icefield Skywalk.

If you’re capable of hiking, it’s a no-brainer to forgo the skywalk, as hikes in Banff and hikes in Jasper and the surrounding area offer far better views than the Columbia Icefield Skywalk. If you want a memorable hike that takes a few hours, hike Parker Ridge or Wilcox Pass nearby.

Parker Ridge Hike

In short, and in our opinion, the price or even your time is not worth the stop of Columbia Icefield Skywalk. You can also park at the Athabasca Glacier and take a short walk to the terminal of the Athabasca Glacier for free.

However, everyone is different, and if you want to walk on a glass-bottom platform, the Rockies are a great place to do it! If you’re traveling to the Canadian Rockies with kids, the Jasper Skywalk will likely get them excited as well!


Is the “Glacier Skywalk” in Banff or Jasper?

Icefields Parkway

Some people call the Jasper Skywalk the “Banff Skywalk.” However, the Icefield Skywalk is not technically in Banff. It is close, though, so we get the confusion. However, if driving the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper you enter Jasper National Park right before reaching the Icefields Center. So calling this attraction the “Banff Skywalk” may confuse people.


When is the Best Time to Visit the Glacier Skywalk?

To avoid crowds at the Columbia Icefield Skywalk, it’s best to be on one of the first tours of the day or the last. Of course, if you are driving between Banff and Jasper, this isn’t always possible.

Opening Times for the Jasper Skywalk

May 1 – 2111 AM – 5 PM
May 22 – October 110 AM – 6 PM
October 2 – 1011 AM – 5 PM

Where Should You Park for the Columbia Icefield Skywalk?

All vehicles and visitors must park at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre. You can not park at the Skywalk, and you can not park on the road. From there, visitors will take the included shuttle from the Centre. Tours depart every hour from the Columbia Icefield Centre.


Where to Stay Near the Jasper Skywalk?

The Glacier View Lodge

There aren’t a plethora of options in this remote section of the world. In fact, besides camping, there is only one hotel near the Athabasca Glacier, and that is the luxurious Glacier View Lodge.

Besides that, you can book the HI Rampart Creek Hostel near the Saskatchewan River Crossing or the Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge at Sunwapta Falls.


Go Big and Climb Mount Athabasca

Natasha on Mount Athabasca

If you want the best view of glaciers in the Canadian Rockies you cannot beat the views from one of the major mountain peaks, Mount Athabasca. Mountaineering has found a home in the Canadian Rockies, and many learn their mountaineering skills here.

We took a mountaineering course over a long weekend where we learned the basics of mountaineering, including glacier travel and crevasse rescue. On the last day, we summited Mount Athabasca for extraordinary views of glaciers and peaks most visitors and locals will never see.

If you have the time and are interested in learning the basics of Mountaineering, Yamnuska runs fantastic courses. Although it’s best to have some hiking in the Canadian Rockies under your belt before attempting this summit.

Learn More About A Mountaineering Course


Things to do in Jasper

Jasper National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Canada. Like its southern sister, Banff, there are many things to do in Jasper all year round.

In the summertime, you can easily grab a canoe and paddle your way around one of the many mountain lakes, or in the winter in Jasper, you can take a drive on the stunning Icefields Parkway. We have you covered if you’re wondering what to do in Jasper on your Canadian vacation.


Hopefully, this helped you determine if you want to enjoy the Columbia Icefield Skywalk.

If you have any other questions, leave a comment or see our Canadian Rockies travel guide for more articles about photography spots, lakes, hikes, and everything else.

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About Cameron

Cameron is a resident of Canmore, Alberta. After traveling the world for six years, he settled down in the beautiful Bow Valley with Natasha. He has been featured as a travel expert with numerous publications worldwide and has spoken on several occasions about the power of travel. He has a passion for all things in the Canadian Rockies and loves to spend his time snowboarding, scrambling, camping, biking, and trail running. Conservation is a deep fundamental in his life, and he aims to inspire others to care about our natural world. You can learn more on the about us page.

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2 thoughts on “Is the Columbia Icefield Skywalk Worth It? (Jasper Skywalk)”

  1. Totally agree with you ..not worth the visit…We also walked to the glacier instead….We didn’t expect the Skywalk to be just off the highway…expected so much more for the price….

    Reply

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