The Experience

Each Glacier Adventure journey is led by an experienced driver-guide, who shares a wealth of fascinating information about glaciers, icefields and their impact on our environment. At the mid-point in the tour, passengers can safely step out onto the glacier and stand on this powerful ancient ice.

Facing the Glacier Discovery Centre lies the Athabasca Glacier - a tongue of ice 6 kilometres long and one kilometre wide. Take time for Brewster's "Ice Age Adventure", a tour onto the icy slopes of the Athabasca Glacier. You will travel in a specially designed Ice Explorer to the middle of the glacier, on a 5 kilometre round trip journey. Your driver/guide will explain how glaciers are formed and point out interesting geological features as you travel in safety and comfort. At the mid-point, you will have the option of stepping out onto ice formed from snow falling as long as 200 years ago. 

Tours depart every 15-30 minutes from the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre on the Icefields Parkway (dependent on time of season and weather permitting). Guests will have up to 20 minutes on the Glacier to experience the ice before departing. 

Please note: Weather conditions can change rapidly. We recommend all guests dress accordingly (closed toe shoes /boots with a good grip; jacket / sweater). In more severe weather conditions access from the Ice Explorer out onto to the glacier surface may be inaccessible (i.e. thunderstorm, etc.) 

Next, hop on any of the designated Ice Explorers departing the glacier every 12 minutes to transfer to the Glacier Skywalk

The Glacier

Though apparently tranquil, the Columbia Icefield is a powerful, dynamic force, shaping the regional landscape and climate. Its glaciers endlessly advance and retreat in an ancient elemental dance, in a place where time is measured in millennia.

The Columbia Icefield is located in Jasper National Park. The Icefield – the largest body of ice in the Canadian Rockies – is one of the reasons why the United Nations declared Canada's four Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Sites. The Icefield covers 215 square kilometres with solid ice estimated up to 365 metres (1200 feet) deep. Meltwater from the Icefield flows to three oceans: the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic via Hudson Bay.


  • Icefall: 2700m (8900 ft)
  • Ice Explorer turn around: 2210 m (7000 ft)
  • Toe: 1965 m (6300 ft)

Columbia Icefield:

  • Area: 215 square kilometres (130 square miles)
  • Highest point: Mount Columbia, 3745 m (12,284 ft)
  • Average elevation: 3000 m (10,000 ft)
  • Greatest depth (estimated): 365 m (1200 ft)
  • Average snowfall: 7 m (23 ft) per year

Athabasca Glacier:  

  • Type: Outlet valley glacier
  • Area: 6 square kilometres (2.5 square miles)
  • Length: 6 kilometres (3.75 miles)
  • Depth (estimated): 90 - 300 m (270 - 1000 ft)
  • Icefall: 125 m/year (400 ft)
  • Ice Explorer turn around: 25 m/year (80 ft)
  • Toe: 15 m/year (50 ft)

Ice Explorers

The Ice Explorers provides all-terrain mobility to transport up to 56 passengers, equipped with large, low pressure tires, the bus can be used to transport personnel in on-road/off-road applications. Extra large side and top windows provide greater all-around visibility.

  • Height: 12 ft 8 in (3.86 m)
  • Length: 42 ft 8 in (13.0 m)
  • Width: 11 ft 10 in (3.61 m)
  • Weight: 55,000 lbs (25,000 kg)
  • Tare: 43,000 lbs (19,500 kg)
  • G.V.W.: 55,000 lbs (25,000 kg)


  • Engine: DDA 6V92TA (DDEC), 253 HP (189 kW) @ 2100 RPM
  • Transmission: Clark 34000 Series Powershift
  • Suspension: Leaf spring - front // Walking beam - rear
  • Axles: Rockwell Drive Steer Planetary front; Rockwell Planetary rear
  • Tires: Goodyear Terra Tires 66 x 43.00 x 25
  • Brakes: Air over hydraulic front drums; air rear drums
One quarter of Brewster's Ice Explorer fleet that tours the Athabasca Glacier are extra-long, with special wheelchair lifts and can comfortably carry up to two wheelchairs at a time in addition to the regular 56 passenger seats.

Environmental Stewardship

Brewster's Glacier Experience was recognized for its dedication to implementing the best practice in water, energy, recycling and flora/fauna protection at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre in Jasper National Park.

Attractions Canada
Brewster's Glacier Experience received the National Level Award in 2001 as Canada’s best natural outdoor site larger than 100 hectares.

Department of Canadian Heritage presented the PERC Award to Brewster's Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre for their efforts in reducing power consumption in Jasper National Park. This Centre, jointly built in 1996 with Parks Canada, was designed to be environmentally sensitive in setting and construction, water and power consumption, and sewage and solid waste management.

Learn more about Brewster's Environmental Commitment.