“What is there to do in Banff in winter” is a question I get asked a lot. There may actually be MORE things to do in Banff in winter than in summer. There are activities galore for all ages and abilities and it is absolutely worth visiting Banff in winter. So be sure to add the ideas to your travel bucket list.
Things to do in Banff in Winter
Go Skiing – at 3 different resorts
Johnston Canyon Ice Walk and Ice Climbing
From December to April, Johnston Canyon provides a couple unique things to do in Banff in winter. The waterfalls freeze during the winter making it an interesting place for an ice walk. Be sure to rent snowshoes or cleats from a business in Banff, or take a guided tour. If you really want to do something unique, try ice climbing! It’s a great place to learn and there are numerous guided trips available with instructors and gear, to ensure beginners through to advanced will be safe while having fun.
Wild skating has been very on trend the last couple years. However, wild skating – or simply outdoor skating as Canadians know it – has been one of the most popular things to do in Banff in winter for decades. There’s something special about strapping on a pair of skates and taking to the frozen and unmaintained lakes and rivers in the Canadian Rockies.
Sip Hot Chocolate
One of the longest available activities makes cross-country skiing a must for things to do in Banff in winter when making your holiday travel plans. Cross-country skiing is available in Banff and Lake Louise from November through to April.
Snowshoeing is a classic Canadiana winter experience and an easy one to add to your list for those of any age, ability or fitness level. If you can walk, you can snowshoe! It’s a fun way to explore new terrain that wouldn’t be easily accessible in winter.
If you’ve never been on these bikes, the tires are extra wide providing great grip for you to be able to rip around safely on snow and ice. There are several great trails around Canmore and Banff that are ideal for fat biking. Fat bikes can be rented from Snowtips Bactrax.
Originally used as transportation by Canada’s Inuit, dog sledding is now available as a recreational activity. Several providers offer dog-sledding in Banff National Park; however two companies to consider are Kingmik Dog Sled Tours and Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours.
Another iconic experience in the Canadian Rockies is a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Enjoy the sounds of the horses hooves and jingling bells as you’re pulled across the snow and along the shoreline of Lake Louise towards Victoria Glacier. Brewster Adventures has offered these winter sleigh rides in Banff for decades and you’re sure to enjoy.
Watch Ice Carving
Ice Magic ice carving competition happens on the shores of Lake Louise every January. It’s a short window – just 11 days – but you can enjoy the incredible artistry long after the competition. It’s one of many easy and interesting things to do in Banff in winter for family members of all ages.
Going for fondue dinner is an absolute must on your list of things to do in Banff in winter. Luckily there are two excellent options to choose from while in Banff National Park: Walliser Stube in Lake Louise and Waldhaus Restaurant in Banff. Dig in and enjoy!
I hope these things to do in Banff in winter give you lots of ideas to consider. If you’re planning a trip to visit Banff in winter, read my post with 3 reasons why you should. I also answer your most FAQ’s about Banff in winter.