The Columbia Icefield is the largest icefield in the Canadian Rockies, measuring 230 square kilometers (89 square miles) and stretching for 28 kilometers (17 miles) to a depth of 365 meters (1,200 feet). It receives an average of 7 m (23 ft) of new snowfall per year, draped over the continental divide on a high alpine plateau along the Alberta-BC border.
Because not all of the snow melts during the short summers, it accumulates, converting to ice that flows forth through the surrounding passes, forming glaciers, the most well-known of which is the Athabasca Glacier.
Before 11 a.m. or after 3 p.m. are the best times to visit the Columbia Icefield. You’ll have a better chance of seeing wildlife and benefit from improved experiences like a guided morning tour on the Skywalk.