As crowds flock towards Athabasca Glacier, this walk will take you off the beaten path. Walk a dirt path upward through the woods before arriving above treeline. The path will become more gradual as you ascend the ridge of Wilcox Peak. Across the valley, you'll see Athabasca Glacier, snow-capped Mt. Adromeda, and Boundary Peak. Below in the valley, you'll also see the Columbia Icefield Discovery Center which hosts most travelers as they pull off of the Icefields Parkway to take in the view.
Once you arrive at the top of the Mount Wilcox Route, you'll be able to take some of the best-framed photos in the area. From here, you can either head back the way you came, or if you'd like to do a little more exploring, head out on the Wilcox Pass Trail for some beautiful tundra walking. From the end of the pass, you'll glimpse views of the Sunwapta Peaks.
Bears are present and active around all hiking routes. Be sure to review The Parks Canada information regarding travel in bear country to familiarize yourself with best practices. Always carry bear spray and know how to use it.
The weather in this area can change quickly. Even if you start a hike with blue skies, it could easily be storming (or even snowing) by the afternoon. Check the weather report daily to adjust your hiking schedule as needed.
Trail Conditions can vary based on the season and weather. Check with a local visitor's center or visit the Parks Canada Website for the most up to date trail conditions. Always be prepared to turn back if you feel that snow or rain makes a trail unsafe.
- Once you come out of treeline, the path will follow the ridgeline of the hill. The path is wide here and about 8ft away from the edge, but it is a steep drop so use care while taking any pictures near the edge. This part of the route might not be well suited for those afraid of heights or with vertigo.
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- Restrooms: There is an outhouse at the trailhead.
- Cell Service: You might have a small amount of service at the trailhead, but for the most part there will be no service on the hike.
Points of Interest:
Looking accross the AB -93 from the top of this hike, you'll see Athabasca Glacier as it stems from the Columbia Icefield above. Notice the bus tours that safely drive out on the glacier to give visitors a chance to explore the ice up close.
Food & Drink:
As there are no good places to stop to eat or drink on this hike, we recommend you bring a lunch, snacks and water. For recommendations of restaurants and grocery stores on the drive see your driving route notes.