Approximately half way between Lake Louise and Jasper you encounter the Columbia Icefield. This is the only accessible section of the remnant ice age. The icefield covers 325 square kms and is the largest icefield in the Canadian Rockies. The ice is up to 365 meters deep. Up to seven metres of snow falls on the Icefield each year.
The meltwaters feeds 5 river systems: Fraser, Mackenzie, Athabasca, Columbia and the North Saskatchewan. Fresh water from the Columbia Icefield flows into the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, and scientist recognize this as the hydrographic apex of North America – the center of all water distribution throughout the continent. There is only one other similar apex – and it is in Northern Siberia.
There is a Discovery Centre onsite to learn more about the Icefield with park rangers to answer questions. Tourists can venture out on foot across the icefield or take a guided trip in one of the Snowcoaches.