glacier national park

This national park in Canada has an ice cave and more than 100 glaciers

Though it's only just more than a quarter of the size of the U.S. national park of the same name, Canada's Glacier National Park has more than four times the number of glaciers as its twin to the south.

Located on 1,349 square kilometres between Revelstoke and Golden, B.C., the park holds peaks from a number of mountain ranges alongside features like rivers, forests, and diverse wildlife amid a range of rich ecological zones.

It is also the country's second oldest national park, and a national historic site.

Though its all-around beauty and potential for endless outdoor fun serve as a huge draw, the aptly-named park's most exciting feature may be its active glaciers, of which there are more than 130.

The most popular among the varied glacial features, which include glaciers themselves and also land forms created by moving and receding glaciers, include Illecillewaet Glacier and Mummery Glacier, both of which visitors can hike to quite easily.

The park also boasts what is thought to be the country's largest cave system, with mind-blowing ice caves that look like something from Antarctica or Iceland.

The 6 km-long Nikamu Caves were a highlight before they were closed to the general public for containing highly rare geologic and chemical features like "moonmilk," a precipitate of limestone.

Glacier's significance in regards to Canadian industrial history also cannot be overstated, as it was at one point considered the "cradle of North American mountaineering" as more people began traversing the Canadian Pacific Railway, which was built through the now-skiiable Rogers Pass in the late 1800s.

Along with the railway came Glacier House, a bustling hotel in the park that served as a massive tourist attraction from the 1880s to the early 1900s, along with the western town of Summit City.

The Ktunaxa, Secwepemcstin and Nsyilxcən peoples have also lived in and enriched the region, part of the Kootenay Rockies, for thousands of years.

If you're keen to enjoy the natural riches of Canada's west, learn some valuable railroad history and hike atop some glaciers (before they all melt) — and all in your own backyard — Glacier National Park is a must-do.

Lead photo by

Andy Brown


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