Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest national park, established in 1885. Located in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains Banff encompasses 2,564 sq miles of mountainous terrain, with many glaciers and ice fields, dense coniferous forest, and alpine landscapes. The Icefields Parkway extends from Lake Louise, Alberta to Jasper National Park in the north. The parks together along with the surrounding area form the Canadian Rocky Mountain UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Over the past few million years, glaciers have at times covered most of the park, but today are found only on the mountain slopes. The Columbia Icefield is the largest uninterrupted glacial mass in the Rockies. You can walk out onto the glacier but be sure to bring sunglasses. I neglected to bring a pair and the resulting snow blindness gave me the worst headache I ever had in my life.
The walk up to what is now the foot of the glacier gives you a real sense of the effects of Global Warming as the markers indicate how far the glacier has receded in the last few decades.
The power of the glaciers can be seen in the grooves carved into the granite rocks.