A lot of people look at us like we’re crazy when we say we’re going hiking in the winter but honestly, winter is the best time to explore our beautiful backyard.
Bluebird skies, fluffy white snow and the absence of crowds all come together for the perfect experience. Thanks to Alberta’s dry cold, all you have to do is throw on an extra layer to keep warm and you’re set.
We also never forget to reward ourselves with some hot chocolate and poutine on the way home 😉
Take advantage of Canada’s longest season (by far) and try out our top winter walks:
Johnston Canyon Winter Ice Walk, Banff National Park
This really is one of the best winter walks that Banff has to offer. Johnston Canyon is one of those hikes that is arguably MORE beautiful in the winter.
This winding walkway takes you way back into the depths of an enormous canyon, with the walls rising up either side of you and several absolutely stunning waterfalls along the way. If you’re never seen a frozen waterfall, you’re in for a treat!
There are two parts to this hike (or 3 if you count the Ink Pots). Part one is Johnston Canyon Lower Falls, where you’ll find a waterfall through a cave!
Part 2 is the longer hike to the Johnston Canyon Upper Falls, where you’ll be able to check out the secret cave and the enormous Upper Falls. It’s also a great place to try or watch ice climbing!
If you’re attempting this in Winter, make sure you bring ice spikes or cleats because it gets extremely slippery!
Check out our blog post for more information about this beautiful walk.
Grotto Canyon, Bow Valley Provincial Park
Grotto Canyon is a hidden gem located near Canmore.
The hike itself requires you to walk up the frozen riverbed, and eventually you’ll find yourself buried in a historic slot canyon. In fact, it’s so old that you can find ancient petroglyphs on the walls from the Native Americans that lived here thousands of years ago.
The hike is filled with frozen waterfalls, steep canyon walls, snow capped trees and a gorgeous valley when it opens up at the end.
This is a place where you can take your dog for a scenic walk in the wilderness or just get lost in the epic shadows of the mountains.
Bonus points if you can locate the cave hidden way up high at the end of the hike (and serious kudos if you have the balls to climb up to it!).
Again, make sure you bring ice spikes because some parts are just sheet ice!
If you’re looking for more information on Grotto Canyon, make sure you check out our full Grotto Canyon blog post here
Elbow Falls, Kananaskis Provincial Park
Here’s a winter walk that takes almost no effort to find (or do), and it’s perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Just a few steps from the carpark, you’ll the stunning Elbow Falls. It’s probably the closest, easiest waterfall to get to from Calgary, and it’s well worth the drive.
Once you reach the river, there’s a nice paved footpath you can follow along the river bank.
Elbow Falls is about 45 minutes West of Calgary in Kananaskis Country near Bragg Creek. Bragg Creek is an excellent place to stop for a cup of hot apple cider or mulled wine to warm yourself up – it’s a quaint, western style town located off Highway 22.
Where to find our favourite winter walks
Here’s a map with a few pins to help you track these winter walks down!