Why to go now: Alberta's iconic Athabasca Glacier is the most visited glacier in North America, thanks to a convenient location just off Highway 93 between Banff and Jasper. It dramatically spills down from the Columbia Ice Field, the largest ice field in the Canadian Rockies. Athabasca's visibility and popularity make its rapid recession all the more distressing. The glacier has been melting for about the last 125 years, losing half its volume and receding nearly one mile. It's currently receding at a rate of 6.6 to 9.8 feet a year.

How to get there: Base yourself in Jasper National Park, one of Canada's oldest and largest parks, with more than 600 miles of trails and thousands of campsites.