Let’s face it, the most recognizable images of Banff National Park are from summer. And for good reason! Moraine Lake at sunrise is one of the most beautiful places in the world. However there are plenty of reasons to visit Banff in the winter months. Below are three important factors to consider when planning your trip to the Canadian Rockies, and I’m also answering your most frequently asked questions about visiting Banff in Winter.
3 Reasons to Visit Banff in Winter
1) There are fewer crowds in Banff in winter
Banff National Park is an iconic summer destination with its turquoise lakes and majestic mountains. However, high season also brings tourists in droves. If you’re looking for a great way to experience this special place that is more serene, winter is a good option. You won’t have to deal with traffic jams, full hotels, and the endless search for a parking spot.
2) Prices are lower in Banff in winter
Fewer crowds means less demand, which equates to lower prices for you. Hotels, like the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and popular attractions such as the Banff Gondola are available at much lower prices than during peak season summer months.
3) It is a magical winter wonderland
Like straight out of a storybook fairytale with frozen waterfalls, wild skating on glacial lakes, and snow-covered mountain views, Banff in winter is truly a winter wonderland. So long as you have the appropriate attire and gear, you can explore Banff National Park to your heart’s content during the winter season and take in the magic of this real-life snow globe.
Your Banff FAQ’s, Answered:
Is Banff worth visiting in winter?
I have been there countless times and can answer with a resounding YES, Banff is worth visiting in the winter. If you’re going to spend time anywhere in the colder months in North America, this is a great spot that is adventure-filled, offers iconic experiences, and the best views will take your breath away at every turn.
Where can I go in winter in Banff?
You can go almost anywhere in winter in Banff that you can go in summer. It’s just a little different. Whether you want to go skating on the frozen Lake Louise or ice climbing at Johnston Canyon along the Bow Valley Parkway, there are plenty of places to go in winter in Banff National Park. To be sure you have enough time to do everything, especially if it’s your first time, be sure to read my Things to Do in Banff in Winter post.
Is Banff cold in winter?
The reality is: Yes, Banff is cold in winter. However the temperatures vary from severe cold snaps to seasonal chinooks. Be sure to visit the Environment Canada website for the weather and snow forecast when planning to visit Banff in winter. The best way to enjoy a long day is to dress in warm layers to protect you from the elements.
Is it good to visit Banff in winter?
The Canadian Rockies is such a bucket list destination that everyone really must see at least once. The mountains and scenery change so much with all four of Canada’s seasons so it would be good to visit Banff in winter for that special experience. It’s truly the perfect place for a winter getaway.
Is it safe to drive to Banff in winter?
So long as you have proper winter tires (and ideally All-Wheel Drive) on your rental car, it is very safe to drive to Banff in winter. However, you can also take the Banff Airporter or Brewster Express shuttle bus from Calgary International Airport if you would rather not drive. Either way, the trans Canada highway is a scenic drive from Calgary to the town of Banff and makes for an incredible road trip. There are plenty of public transit and shuttle options to get around Banff town once you’re there.
Does it snow in Banff in February?
It does snow in Banff in February, on average about 30 cm. You can find all the average snowfalls, daylight and weather information for Banff and Lake Louise here.
Can you see northern lights in Banff in winter?
Winter is the best time to see the northern lights because of the amount of darkness, and Banff is one of the best places to see them. And if you take a trip along the Icefields Parkway to Jasper National Park, you can experience one of the world’s largest dark sky reserves!
I hope this post provided you with helpful information to plan your trip to the Canadian Rockies, and answered any questions you might have if you’re going to visit Banff in Winter.
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