Grotto Canyon Ice Walk

Grotto Canyon is located about 10-15 minutes from Canmore. We booked the Grotto Canyon Ice Walk with Discover Banff and to our delight, we had Anik as our guide again. The views are amazing while you walk on a frozen creek. You’ll be given cleats or spikes to walk. One of the coolest things about this walk is getting to see Hopi pictographs up-close.

Stunted forest.

It was an easy walk but really slippery. We would have preferred using spikes to walk over the cleats. the cleats felt slippery to me and you have to stomp as hard as you can for firmer footing. Anik also slowed down for us because we were having trouble keeping up and getting winded easily (the thin air was tough when we had to work our bodies harder).


You’ll be walking surrounded by a stunted forest. In summer the trees absorb water, in winter they go into hibernation and don’t absorb water. Since they don’t absorb water in winter, the stream swells and raises the river bed 2-5 feet (0.61-1.52m) higher in winter. Making it easier to see the pictographs seen that were probably painted from ochre collected at Painted Pots where we went for our snowshoe. Hopi, the indigenous of the Arizona area left their mark. Click here to read an article about the Hopi people in Canada. Imagine, there was time when the Americas were interconnected and flowed freely.

Sometimes you may see ice climbers climbing the frozen waterfalls. One of Vic’s coworkers went to Banff to ice climb; she goes on some of the coolest trips. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any.

We had a little squirrel friend greet us along the way, what a cute little guy.

After filling up on maples cookies and hot chocolate it was time to get back. We wished the tour was at least an hour longer just so we had time to bask in the view.

This is a half day walk (4 hour tour). We wish we had more time just because we don’t get to see things like this everyday. We bumped into another guest we met on another tour, she was from China and telling us about the ice festivals in Harbin. Our other tour mates were other tour guides on their day off, they were from Ireland and Australia.

Here’s a video about Grotto Canyon. It’ll give you an idea what it was like.



7 thoughts on “Grotto Canyon Ice Walk

    1. Thanks! We have another heat wave but not as bad as yours. We live on the top floor and we learned to never ever move to a top floor apartment again. We had a bad heat wave about 2 weekends ago. It was so hot inside that you could smell the plastics and metals in our place. I have to look for cat friendly hotels, found dog friendly. Next time we are going to a hotel. Stay cool and hydrated!

  1. Ice is exhausting to walk on. You have to work really hard to keep your balance, and I think your muscles, especially in the glutes and back, get so tense from trying not to fall, they start to hurt. That was my experience at least with walking over glazed-over sidewalks and streets in Minnesota.

    Your photos are beautiful, though! They make me miss real winters, though I know if I had to deal with icy paths and snowy roads day after day for four months, I’d probably go nuts. I’d love to visit BC, but maybe not in the winter!

    1. By the end of the trip my knees were very unhappy. Just getting all twisty walking around. It sure is pretty but also pretty hard on the body. Hope it doesn’t rain a lot this winter. Didn’t like our rainy winter although anything is better than this heat.

  2. What a beautiful hike! It does looks a bit strenuous, particularly with the constant tension to not fall on the ice/snow. Thanks for letting us share vicariously!

  3. Thinking cool thoughts for a hot summer? It’s been a while since I walked on ice, I do ok except when it’s not flat. I don’t know that I’ve ever done it in such a picturesque place.

    1. Exactly! It’s been pretty hot and humid. It’s a little better today. Banff is an amazing place and the food is really good too. Hope you are having a nice summer!

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