Ice Caves Athabasca Glacier

Explor­ing new area is one of the­se places. It has been around for awhile, but we had nev­er ven­tured into this area before. Even though thou­sands of vis­i­tors trav­el through the Columbia Ice­field, this ice cave has not seen many of those vis­i­tors. Due to the sea­sons, it is very dif­fi­cult to get to in the sum­mer months, plus it is also dan­ger­ous when ice melts.

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The entrance
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Crys­tal clear ceil­ing glac­i­er
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Shel­ter

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Columbia Icefield Cave Heather J
Columbia Ice­field Cave

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Athabas­ca glac­i­er can be access by Ice Explor­ers in the sum­mer months. There is also an out­fit that offers hikes onto the glac­i­er, but not to this cave due to the dan­gers that lurk.

Use cau­tion to explore this area. Do not ven­ture too deep into the cave due to crevass­es with in the cave itself. Prop­er tools to ven­ture deep­er is rec­om­mend­ed.


Access: High­way 93 south, approx. 105km from Jasper

Park­ing: Yes

Trail­head: at base of glac­i­er where the sum­mer plat­form ends

Activ­i­ties: Sight­see­ing, Tour, Ski­ing, Snow­shoe, Hik­ing


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8 thoughts on “Ice Caves Athabasca Glacier”

  1. Hi Eddie,

    I was at Athabas­ca Glac­i­er approx­i­mate­ly two weeks ago and asked one of the Ice Explor­er guides about the ice cave you vis­it­ed. Given that it was sum­mer, he strong­ly advised again­st it but gave the same opin­ion even for win­ter. Sur­pris­ing­ly, he had very lit­tle inter­est in the cave and had no idea whether it had ever been vis­it­ed before or was being stud­ied etc. 

    I wasn’t able to deter­mine whether it was actu­al­ly pro­hib­it­ed or ille­gal to go to the cave though… Did any­one try to stop you or advise again­st it at all? Or is it a case of you take the risk upon your­self?

    On the day that I vis­it­ed, there were a num­ber of oth­er tourists about and I can imag­ine that some­body prob­a­bly would’ve raised an alarm had I tried to step under­neath the rope to walk to the cave.

    1. Any­one there that is asso­ci­at­ed with Parks Canada or Brew­sters will not men­tion that cave as it implies lia­bil­i­ty. So any­thing you do there will be at your own risk. Plus most of the guides there are spoon fed infor­ma­tion around that area, so they don’t real­ly know much as they are sum­mer tran­sient employ­ees, it is unfor­tu­nate that they don’t explore more. And they sug­gest that you do not cross the line, but there is no hard rule for you to explore the area unless it is deem zone 1. You will have to research that at the info cen­ter. In the sum­mer, you might have to ford a river to access the cave, even I do not rec­om­mend this time of the year. Hope this helps.

  2. This arti­cle is great, exact­ly what I was look­ing for. South on Hwy 93, is the trail­head marked? I’ve nev­er been to Jasper and am com­ing from Cal­gary, I don’t want to miss it! 

    Thank you so much!

    1. The trail­head is not marked, read the pre­vi­ous com­ments to find out why. The open­ing of the cave is deter­mined on the sea­son­al con­di­tions. Rumors has cir­cu­lat­ed that the open­ing has col­lapsed. I have not been there since last win­ter, so I can­not con­firm the col­lapse. If you do hap­pen to ven­ture there, please let us know here.

      1. Thanks for the reply, yes I had heard of it’s rumored col­lapse as well. I saw the pre­vi­ous com­ments stat­ing about lia­bil­i­ty etc, that’s why I was won­der­ing if it will be like­ly a stop I’ll miss hav­ing not been in the area before. Can you tell me any­thing I’m sup­posed to look for while dri­ving by? 🙂

        I’ll try my best!

  3. Very inspired by the pho­tographs! So much that I’d sac­ri­fice the only free day I get at Banff to drive/hike all the way to this cave. 

    Sad to hear it appears to be no longer acces­si­ble. Can any­one share any new info on this or sim­i­lar caves around the Columbia Ice­fields? Please. 

    I can con­firm that you would get zero help from paid staff to get to any of the­se caves. Found out about one in BC last year and had to strug­gle to find it on my own after no one want­ed to give any infor­ma­tion about it. Lia­bil­i­ty appears to explain it.
    Good luck!

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