By Afton Aikens & Jack Newton
Enchanting Ice Walks
An ice walk at Johnston Canyon reveals a magical frozen blue world (access the canyon via Bow Valley Parkway). Another top rated icy trek is at Grotto Canyon, just east of Canmore. Watch in fascination as climbers set routes on icefalls suspended from gorge walls. You can go alone, but guides provide safety gear like ice cleats and hiking poles, and point out easy-to-miss canyon features such as fossils and historic Native rock paintings.
In Jasper, straddling Maligne River is the new fifth bridge, “the best place to begin a Maligne Canyon ice walk,” says guide Trevor Lescard. A tour is the safest way to see the ice and rock caves, and icefalls like Queen of Maligne where climbers often perform. Guides provide ice cleats and waterproof boots, plus headlamps on magical evening trips.
Frozen Falls of Jasper National Park
In summertime, powerful Athabasca, Sunwapta and Tangle falls are perennial Icefields Parkway stops en route to the Columbia Icefield. But when cold winter air transforms these falls into blue-hued icewalls, they’re even more stunning. (Trivia: Sunwapta means ‘turbulent water’ in the local Stoney Nakoda First Nation’s language).