Bucket List Worthy News
Canada’s Japser National Park is well known for its beautiful landscapes and sweeping vistas. Located in Alberta, west of Edmonton, the park stretches across the Canadian Rockies, offering visitors unparalleled views of snow capped peaks, massive glaciers, and breathtaking valleys. But travelers who visit Jasper this summer will get a completely new perspective on the park’s dramatic panoramas thanks to the Glacier Skywalk – a glass-bottomed overlook that extends 30 meters (100 feet) over an open canyon that falls 280 meters (918 ft) below.
The new Skywalk opened at the beginning of May, after nearly three years of of development, and at a cost of CA $21 million. It is a marvel of modern engineering, seamlessly melding glass, wood, and metal to offer visitors an unprecedented experience that they haven’t seen before. Walking out into open space, with nothing but a thin layer of glass separating them from a massive drop to the valley floor below, is equal parts exhilarating, awe inspiring, and terrifying. But the natural environment on display there is amazing enough in its own right to still overshadow the manmade structure itself.
Suspended above the Sunwapta Valley, the Skywalk provides views of an extremely rare triple-continental divide. Depending on the water source, rivers emerging from this area can flow north to the Arctic Ocean, east to the Atlantic, or west to the Pacific. Millions of years of geologic history are also on display in the from of stratification in the canyon walls, which can be easily seen from the structure as well. Of course, the Rocky Mountains make a spectacular backdrop to the entire scene, reminding travelers of why Jasper is such a special place to begin with.
In order to reach the Skywalk, visitors must first hop a shuttle from the Glacier Discovery Centre, then hike a short cliffside trail lined with interpretive displays that provide useful information about the ecosystem there. The trail ends at the newly built structures, which in addition to the Skywalk, includes both a meeting area and free viewing area. But lets face it, the real star of the show is the observation deck, which will be adrenaline-inducing fun for more than a few visitors.
It is important to point out that while the Glacier Skywalk is located inside a national park, it is owned by a private company, and operated as a commercial endeavor. That means visitors must pay an additional fee to visit the structure, and take in the impressive views that it offers. The observation deck is open every day through October, with tickets costing CA$24.50 for adults, and CA$12.50 for children under the age of 16.