The Experience

Feed your adrenaline and step into a breathtaking world where glaciers rest above and birds soar below. Experience waterfalls, wildlife, fossils and more on an exciting cliff-edge walkway that leads to a platform where glass is all that separates you from a 918 foot drop. A new way to connect with the Canadian Rockies!
The Glacier Skywalk experience begins with a five minute scenic transfer by coach from the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre. Take your time to journey along the Discovery Trail; a fully-accessible, cliff-edge walkway that extends along the Sunwapta Valley. Look down and you'll see hints from life thousands of years ago. Look up and you'll see the most stunning mountain and glacial vistas. Look around and you'll discover one of the most unique ecosystems in the world - a place that's so hard to survive that adaptation never ends.
The grand finale to this experience is a glass-floored observation platform 280 metres (918 feet) over the Sunwapta Valley. A bird's eye view, fully accessible to all abilities provides the most unique perspective of nature at its finest.
This entire journey is presented in an interpretive story-telling format that will be sure to leave you with a special bond for our natural world that few people in the world have the opportunity to experience. In other words, it's flat. out. awesome!

Interpretive Experience

Follow the Water
The Glacier Skywalk experience is designed to draw inspiration from and integrate with the wilderness we invite visitors to discover. Along with our longtime partners at Parks Canada, we have developed this interpretive experience offered through interactive stations and a multi-language audio tour.

From afar, it’s easy to forget that the impressive crown of ice and snow that makes up the Columbia Icefield is created entirely of simple water molecules. Recognizing this ecological phenomenon, the Glacier Skywalk’s interpretive experience is designed to “follow the water”. Six interpretive stations spaced along the 400 metre cliff-edge walkway highlight the unique environmental aspects of a glacial valley. Chat with knowledgeable guides located at each station, and customize the educational level of your visit with a personal audio tour (included in admission price). Take your time to tune into 60 different audio points to hear about the incredible peaks and glaciers that surround you - available in English, French, Mandarin, Korean and Japanese.

1. Introduction to the Valley
Beginning with an introduction to the power and place of glaciers in our world, learn about the magic of the Sunwapta Valley. In both frozen and liquid states, and with considerable forces, water has shaped this landscape, sustained hardy subalpine plants and animals, and attracted diverse generations of people for millennia.

2. Geology
Journey back in time as you retrace the passage of time through the epic force of the glacier and the tangible evidence it has left behind: rock striations, ancient sea creatures and the deep valley itself.

3. Biology and Ecology
The biology and ecology station highlights the diverse life forms and the unique species that are found where glacial waters flow. Feast or famine, flood or drought, heat or cold: to adapt to a subalpine environment, indigenous plants and animals tolerate extremes—in the food supply, water levels, and temperatures—that most of us can’t imagine.
4. Technology
Making an award-winning design come to life high in a remote alpine location is no easy feat! Discover the design and construction of the Glacier Skywalk structure and how it balances access to and protection of important natural resources.

5. Phytology and Anthropology
A hanging garden built into the rock wall holds numerous plant species. Learn about the life of these plants in this distinctive environment. Chat with roaming interpretive guides on hand to help you trace human history in the area and see the vital importance of water as a natural resource to early explorers. Learn about historic use of the surrounding area and how the waterways created by glaciers became natural byways to discover and map these newfound lands.

6. Hydrology
From the nearby hydrological apex—triple continental divide—water from the Columbia Icefield flows to the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans and consequently, all around the world. Wherever in the world you are from, follow the water to connect this place to your home. 

Visitors use these interpretive stations to explore and discover the unique details behind the incredible landscapes that surround them. The Glacier Skywalk is more than an accessible walkway – it is a link that provides a powerful connection to the natural environment. A link to continuous learning, to the power of the National Parks to teach visitors about the Canadian Rockies. When guests leave the Glacier Skywalk, they leave with knowledge of the ecology, geology, glaciology and evolutionary history of the mountains they stand on. Not to mention incredible memories and great photos!

Environmental Stewardship

Design & Engineering
The vision behind the Glacier Skywalk’s design was simple: depend on the natural environment, draw inspiration from it, and integrate with it. With a non-negotiable commitment to an environmentally sound design, Brewster enlisted the help of Sturgess Architecture and Read Jones Christofferson Engineering (RJC). Having worked with Sturgess and RJC for two years, Brewster unveiled the Glacier Skywalk’s design in 2011. It was immediately recognized with a World Architecture Festival Award in 2011, where judges said, “The jury was unanimous. This is a simple, elegant yet highly emotional project.
Designed as an extension of the surrounding landscape, the Glacier Skywalk is entwined in a rock-solid relationship with the natural environment. The structure is built into native bedrock, with weathering steel, glass and wood. These materials mirror, rather than distract from, the natural environment— and are free of paint and other toxins. Keenly aware of and sympathetic to its surroundings, the Glacier Skywalk is dedicated to a near-zero footprint. Canada’s Globe and Mail stated, “The Glacier Skywalk is an audacious promenade that matches rather than shrinks from an epic landscape.”

Natural Landscape
Design and materials used for the Glacier Skywalk were specially selected to blend in with the natural landscape. The Corten steel used in the structure is tough weathering steel designed to oxidize in synchronicity with natural environments. The self-sealing metal changes colour as it rusts to mirror the iron oxide in the rocks around it. Materials free of paint and other toxins were specifically chosen for the project. The limited facilities at the Glacier Skywalk site and fully solar-powered operation minimize environmental footprint, and the relocation of the parking area to the nearby Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre is designed to have a positive impact on traffic-wildlife incidents.

Accessible Experience
The Rocky Mountain National Parks are a haven for visitors from near and far. Wherever you call home, whether it’s your first visit or your tenth, and whether you are spending the night in a backcountry cabin or experiencing the hospitality of the town of Jasper – the national park represents a place of peace and wilderness for everyone. 

Brewster Travel Canada recognizes how essential it is for all visitors to be able to experience the magic of our national parks. Regardless of age or mobility, the Glacier Skywalk is a completely barrier-free experience to welcome you. The materials used in construction, the open lookouts, the glass railings and smooth grades of the walkway are designed to accommodate strollers, walkers, wheelchairs and any other mobility aids. Start with the Glacier Skywalk – you never know where you might find yourself next!
Environmental Assessment
Brewster Travel Canada commissioned a 169-page environmental assessment including a study on wildlife and vegetation. The assessment was reviewed by Parks Canada officials and was deemed acceptable within Parks Canada’s strict policy framework governing the management and protection of our national parks.

In 2014, the Glacier Skywalk received the Award of Excellence in Building Engineering as well as the Environmental Award of Merit for Environmental Assessment and Monitoring. One of Brewster’s key goals was to develop the Glacier Skywalk project with minimal environmental impact. By partnering with Golder & Associates we were able to accomplish this by identifying ways, through careful monitoring, to maintain mountain goat use of the site during construction.

Wildlife Impact Study
As part of the environmental assessment process, in 2011 Brewster began commissioning an annual wildlife impact study for the Glacier Skywalk that focused heavily on collecting mountain goat and bighorn sheep data. In particular, the study provides clarification about how and when mountain goats and bighorn sheep use trails and cliffs in and around the Sunwapta Canyon Viewpoint, providing experts with a systematic look on how these precious wildlife use front-country sites that already have a high human use and, thus, human interaction. This study will be continued on an annual basis for three years post-construction.