How Can We Use Time Travel in Snowflake with a Query ID Using Python?

What will you learn?

In this detailed guide, you will discover how to effectively utilize Snowflake’s time travel feature by referencing a specific query ID using Python. By following the steps outlined here, you will gain the knowledge and skills required to implement this powerful capability seamlessly.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

Time travel functionality in Snowflake provides access to historical data within defined periods, offering valuable insights and data recovery options. However, incorporating this feature through Python, especially with a query ID, may initially appear complex. Our objective is to simplify this process by breaking it down into manageable steps.

The primary tool we will use is the Snowflake Connector for Python to execute SQL commands that leverage time travel features. By the end of this guide, you will be proficient in constructing and executing queries that retrieve historical data using specific query IDs within your Python applications.


# Importing necessary libraries
from snowflake.connector import connect

# Establishing connection parameters (replace placeholders with your actual credentials)
conn_params = {
    "user": "<YOUR_USERNAME>",
    "password": "<YOUR_PASSWORD>",
    "account": "<YOUR_ACCOUNT>",
    "warehouse": "<YOUR_WAREHOUSE>",
    "database": "<YOUR_DATABASE>",
    "schema": "<YOUR_SCHEMA>"

# The unique identifier of the query whose result we want to access
query_id = '<QUERY_ID>'

# Connect to Snowflake
with connect(**conn_params) as conn:
    cursor = conn.cursor()

    # Constructing our time travel query using QUERY_HISTORY function by passing the QUERY_ID 
    sql_command = f"SELECT * FROM TABLE(RESULT_SCAN('{query_id}'));"

    # Executing the constructed command 

     # Fetch results  
     results = cursor.fetchall()

for row in results:

# Copyright PHD


The provided code snippet illustrates how historical data can be retrieved from Snowflake using its time travel feature with a specific query ID. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Snowflake Connection: Establish connectivity with your Snowflake account by providing credentials such as username, password, and account details.
  2. Query Identification: Identify the previous execution based on its query ID for result retrieval.
  3. SQL Command Construction: Utilize the RESULT_SCAN function within an SQL command to fetch results from past queries identified by their query IDs.
  4. Command Execution & Result Retrieval: Execute structured SQL commands via the established connection to retrieve historical datasets for further processing or display.

This approach combines SQL flexibility within Snowflake’s environment and Python’s programmability, simplifying tasks like accessing previous execution states.

  1. How do I find my query ID?

  2. You can locate your previous queries’ IDs through the History tab on your Web UI or querying QUERY_HISTORY.

  3. What is Time Travel in Snowflake?

  4. It allows access to historical data up to 90 days depending on the edition used.

  5. Is there an additional cost for using Time Travel?

  6. Yes, utilizing Time Travel beyond default retention periods incurs extra costs based on storage usage.

  7. Can I use other programming languages aside from Python?

  8. Certainly! While examples here focus on Python, similar principles apply across languages supported by respective connectors/drivers.

  9. What are some limitations of Time Travel?

  10. Data beyond defined retention periods cannot be retrieved; performance may vary based on system load and queried timeframe size.


By mastering time travel capabilities alongside querying methods like leveraging IDs, you enhance both analytical prowess and operational resilience when interacting with cloud-based databases such as Snowflake through languages like Python. This guide aims to demystify complexities surrounding direct interactions while providing practical examples for seamless implementation and skill enhancement.

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