20 Best Banff Winter Activities

“What are some good Banff winter activities?” The answer is… there are A LOT.

There’s honestly no better place on Earth to spend winter. Here in the mountains winter lasts for up to 8 months but here are 20 reasons not to spend it cooped up indoors… you’ll be missing out on the most breath-taking season of all! (Disclaimer: Enjoy these activities responsibly and make sure you always have the proper gear. Winter in the Rockies is no joke.) All images by Elite YYC, unless otherwise stated.

1. Skate on the Bow River

Banff winter skating

Banff winter skating

2. Play hockey on the Banff High School skating rink

3. Soak in the Banff Hot Springs and let your hair turn into icicles

4. Go tobogganing on the hill behind the Banff Springs Hotel

5. Visit the ice castle and Ice Magic Festival at Lake Louise

Banff winter Lake Louise ice castle

Lake Louise ice castle

6. Dog sledding and/or sleigh riding through the Rockies

7. Grab a beaver tail in Banff

(Photo: Google Images)

8. Tubing and night skiing at Norquay

This is a whole lot of fun for not very much money, and easy for anyone to enjoy. Norquay is only minutes from Banff, so you don’t have to waste too much time getting there either! Read more about it here!

Banff winter tubing

Tubing at Norquay

9. Catch the Northern Lights by Lake Minnewanka or Vermilion Lakes

Banff winter northern lights

Northern Lights over Lake Minnewanka

10. Visit a frozen waterfall at Johnston Canyon

Banff winter frozen waterfall

Johnston Canyon – Frozen!

11. World class skiing at Lake Louise and Sunshine Village

Banff winter snowboarding

Snowboarding in Banff

12. Cross-country skiing at Canmore’s Nordic Centre

(Photo: Travel Alberta)

13. Visit a backcountry cabin like Bow Hut or Mary Shaffer Cabin (Lake O’Hara)

 14. Drop into waist-deep pow with some Heli-Skiing

Banff winter powder snow

Lots of pow!

15. Soak in some natural hot springs just outside Kootenay Park

Banff winter natural hot springs

Soaking in natura hot springs

16. Go on a snowshoeing adventure at Sunshine Village

(Photo: Sunshine Village)

17. Visit the Ice Castle Exhibition in Edmonton

Edmonton ice castles

Edmonton ice castles

18. Go searching for bubbles on frozen lakes (Minnewanka and Abraham Lake are good bets)

(Photo: Google Images)

19. Throw a cup of hot water into -25 air and watch it turn into snow

20. Toboggan the Norquay Ski Out

*BONUS* 21. Try out the luge at Canada Olympic Park (Calgary)
 (Photo: Google Images)

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  1. Maleeha

    Hi! We’re planning on going to Lussier Hot Springs (pictured, I think) next week. Do you think that is a crazy idea to go during that time?

    Also, are there any trails you can recommend to go hiking/snowshoeing in mid-March?

    • Robin Tuck

      Hi Maleeha! It’s a great idea to visit Lussier in the winter because it’s often too hot to try going in the summer. The best winter walks are often the canyons – Johnston Canyon, Grotto Canyon, Maligne Canyon, etc. Have a great trip!


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