Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or someone who enjoys nature, Banff has something special to offer during the winter months.
The whole national park is covered in snow, and downtown offers the most amazing views of snow-capped mountains.
I just came back from my trip to Banff, where I spent every moment checking out all the cool spots, secret treasures, and beautiful views.
Continue reading below as I detail the best things to do that will make your winter getaway in Banff truly special.
- Best Things To Do In Banff In Winter
- 1. Ski Or Snowboard
- 2. Ice Skate On Lake Louise
- 3. Walk Along The Johnston Canyon Icewalk
- 4. Go Dog Sledding
- 5. Enjoy Snowshoeing
- 6. Drive Around The National Park
- 7. Eat And Drink In Downtown Banff
- 8. Take The Banff Gondola
- 9. Explore Banff Springs Hotel
- 10. Take A Dip At The Upper Hot Springs
- 11. Enjoy The Night Sky
- 12. Go For A Sleigh Ride
- 13. Embark On A Helicopter Tour
- 14. Go Tubing At Mt Norquay
- 15. Go Snowmobiling
- 16. Go On A Winter Hike
- 17. Visit Banff’s Museums
- Final Thoughts On The Best Things To Do In Banff In Winter
Best Things To Do In Banff In Winter
Keep reading to discover the best winter activities in Banff.
I’ve personally explored the national park during the winter months and can share the top things to do in the picturesque destination of Banff, Canada.
1. Ski Or Snowboard
Nestled in the heart of Banff National Park, Banff is a fantastic place for winter sports fans thanks to its incredible mountains and plentiful snow.
The trio of remarkable ski resorts include Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Mt. Norquay.
Each of these resorts cater to all skill levels, creating an ideal destination if you love skiing and snowboarding or are just starting out.
Having enjoyed skiing at both Banff Sunshine and Lake Louise, I can attest to the exciting and varied slopes these resorts offer for winter sports enthusiasts. If you plan your trip in advance, the costs are reasonable.
So, pack your skis, helmet, and other gear, and prepare for a blast on the slopes in Banff.
2. Ice Skate On Lake Louise
Glide across the frozen magic of Lake Louise, surrounded by stunning mountains.
The famous turquoise lake turns into a huge ice rink surrounded by snow, giving you a fairy-tale-like experience.
I personally visited Lake Louise during the winter season and it was mind blowing watching countless people skate around the large lake.
Although I didn’t join in the skating myself, it was incredible being able to watch others have fun and take in the dramatic mountain scenery.
3. Walk Along The Johnston Canyon Icewalk
Put on some crampons and take a winter stroll through Johnston Canyon.
You’ll walk on paths and trails, surrounded by icy waterfalls and mesmerizing ice formations. It’s like stepping into a winter wonderland and is a truly unique experience.
I highly suggest putting on crampons as the trails can get icy and slippery in winter. It’s the safest way to enjoy the views and the activity without any worries.
4. Go Dog Sledding
Feel the excitement of riding through snowy landscapes with a dog sledding adventure.
Let a team of lively huskies lead you through the snowy wilderness, creating memories of a real Canadian winter.
I’ve personally been dog sledding before and it’s a truly unique experience. It’s so much fun to be with such beautiful creatures and they truly enjoy taking you around the winter scenery.
If you are looking for a special winter activity in Banff, don’t hesitate to embark on a dog sledding tour.
5. Enjoy Snowshoeing
Experience the calm of winter by snowshoeing through Banff’s snowy trails.
Whether it’s Vermilion Lakes or other scenic spots, take your time connecting with nature in a laid-back way.
If you’re looking for a more laid-back and less exhilarating alternative to snowboarding and skiing, snowshoeing is an excellent choice.
It lets you take a leisurely pace, soak in the winter scenery, and still get some exercise.
6. Drive Around The National Park
Take a scenic drive through Banff National Park, where snow-covered trees and mountains make for a beautiful winter drive. Stop at viewpoints to soak in the breathtaking views.
During our winter trip to Banff, my family and I took a car ride to check out different views.
Banff looked like a Christmas wonderland, and taking a break from the busy downtown to enjoy the scenery was totally worth it. It’s a nice way to relax and connect with nature, and you might even spot some wildlife.
We didn’t see elk or deer, but we did see a cool fox during our drive, which was pretty awesome.
7. Eat And Drink In Downtown Banff
Warm up in downtown Banff’s cozy cafes and restaurants. Whether it’s a comforting hot chocolate or a hearty meal after a day of winter fun, the town’s friendly vibe and diverse food scene make it a great spot.
For a delicious dinner, make sure not to pass up the opportunity to dine at LUPO Italian Ristorante. We thoroughly enjoyed our pasta dishes, and the ambiance was truly impressive.
If you prefer a more relaxed setting, consider checking out the Three Bears Brewery and Restaurant for a laid-back experience.
They serve many different delicious craft beers and they have several TVs if you want to catch a game.
8. Take The Banff Gondola
Take a ride up Sulphur Mountain using the Banff Gondola to see amazing views of snow-covered peaks.
You’ll get a fantastic panorama of Banff and the surrounding mountains as the winter landscape spreads out beneath you.
It’s not only a fun experience to ride up the gondola but the views up top are truly gorgeous and make for a great photo opportunity.
9. Explore Banff Springs Hotel
Enter the beautiful Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and appreciate its historic charm.
Take in the architecture, stroll through the luxurious halls, and enjoy the wintery ambiance with snowy mountains in the background.
Even if you’re not a guest, it’s worth visiting for the views, and don’t forget to explore their fantastic bar and restaurant.
10. Take A Dip At The Upper Hot Springs
Relax at Banff Upper Hot Springs, where warm mineral waters provide a soothing break from the winter cold.
I’ve personally visited many different hot springs and can attest to how phenomenal the Upper Hot Springs are in Banff thanks to the outrageous winter scenery and massive mountains.
11. Enjoy The Night Sky
Appreciate the brilliant night sky in Banff. Away from city lights, the winter air is perfect for stargazing.
Bundle up and witness the magic of a starry night and sometimes you may even catch the famous aurora borealis.
When we visited, we didn’t get to see the aurora, but we did see lots of bright stars.
It’s a really cool experience, and I recommend going outside at night to check it out. Just make sure to dress warmly because Banff can be pretty chilly in the winter evenings.
12. Go For A Sleigh Ride
Feel the magic of winter on a classic sleigh ride. Wrapped in cozy blankets, slide through snowy scenes in a sleigh behind horses for the ultimate festive charm.
This is a great activity to do on a romantic outing or a family adventure.
13. Embark On A Helicopter Tour
Fly above snowy peaks on a helicopter tour to get a bird’s-eye view of Banff’s winter beauty.
Take amazing pictures of the rugged mountains and frozen landscapes and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience on an epic helicopter tour.
I’ve been on a helicopter ride before, and it’s truly surreal to soak in the views from above. It’s an exciting experience and an extraordinary way to enjoy the scenic mountains
14. Go Tubing At Mt Norquay
Experience the excitement of tubing at Mt Norquay’s tubing park. Zoom down snowy slopes on an inflatable tube for a thrilling winter adventure.
This is not only a great experience for adults but it’s an incredible activity to do for those that have young children.
15. Go Snowmobiling
Get an adrenaline rush as you zip through snowy trails on a snowmobile. Explore the backcountry and enjoy the freedom of speeding through winter landscapes.
I’ve tried snowmobiling, and it’s a blast for getting outdoors and exploring the backcountry.
Remember to dress warmly and drive safely, but definitely take the chance to stop and capture photos of the stunning scenery to remember your adventure.
16. Go On A Winter Hike
Take a winter hike on Banff’s trails, surrounded by the beauty of snow-covered trees and frosty landscapes. Bundle up and experience the calm of the national park in the winter.
As a person who enjoys hiking in all seasons, winter hikes hold a unique appeal.
The landscape becomes stunning with white snow, and you’ll appreciate the peace that comes with fewer people compared to other times of the year.
17. Visit Banff’s Museums
Banff isn’t just about its stunning nature; it also has interesting museums to explore.
The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies is a fascinating place where you can learn about the history and culture of Banff through art, artifacts, and more.
It covers everything from early explorers to the development of Banff as a famous resort town.
Another interesting stop is the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum, which gives insight into the history and traditions of the First Nations people in the area.
If you’re interested in a mix of history, art, and culture, Banff’s museums are well worth a visit.
Final Thoughts On The Best Things To Do In Banff In Winter
A winter trip to Banff is like stepping into a magical world where you can have both exciting adventures and peaceful moments.
Whether you’re skating on Lake Louise, exploring Johnston Canyon, or just taking a quiet walk, Banff has something for everyone.
From thrilling activities like dog sledding to more relaxed experiences at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, there’s a lot to discover.
So, whether you love excitement or just want to enjoy the snowy scenery, Banff in winter is a fantastic place to create unforgettable memories.