With colder temperatures, Banff becomes a giant playground with a backyard full of fresh snow and impressive peaks! Whether you’re taking the day off of skiing or looking for something to do après-ski, you can choose from a number of activities that celebrate the awesome snowfall and mountain scenery of this winter wonderland.
Keep your eyes on the schedule for SnowDays, a fun-filled month of heart pumping, mid-week activities and weekend festivals jam-packed with adventures of all kinds. SnowDays kicks off in January with something to do each and every day, including ice climbing, outdoor skating, hockey, ice carving, curling, snow sculptures, and more!
Sightseeing & Tours
Sightseeing is one of the most popular activities in Banff National Park, and for good reason! Cruise the scenic roads to the shores of wintry alpine lakes on your own or join in on a guided tour through one of the local tour operators. Among many options, guided snowshoeing, ice walks at Johnston Canyon and GPS-guided driving tours are also available!
Banff National Park is the gateway to many other mountain adventures, including snowmobiling. This adventure awaits you outside of the park itself but nearby, amidst beautiful, snow-clad peaks. With half-day and full-day guided tour options available, each guest is equipped with a helmet, warm clothes and their very own snowmobile to explore the vast mountain terrain.
Ice fishing, offered December through April, is located on the beautiful Spray Lakes in Kananaskis Country, just outside Banff National Park. Relax in heated huts on the ice while you fish for trout and white fish. Your guides will even cook your catch on-site for a shoreline lunch!
With an average temperature of 37 degrees Celsius, the Banff Upper Hot Springs offers particularly special conditions to go for a warm, soothing soak in wintertime. As snow gently falls on the surrounding peaks, you can take a deep breath and relax amidst steaming waters.
The sparkling, glacier-fed waters of Banff National Park freeze over in winter, providing you with some of the most scenic ice skating rinks in the world. Many free skating rinks are maintained throughout the winter, including rinks at The Fairmont Banff Springs, where you can lace up your skates under a shelter and warm up next to a crackling fire, and the world-famous lake at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, where you can take in Ice Magic Festival in January each year.
Dogsledding is an exciting way to enjoy the landscapes of Banff National Park in winter. Sit under a blanket on a traditional dogsled and let a team of huskies lead you on a picturesque journey through mountain valleys. For added excitement, try mushing the sled yourself and guiding a team of dogs down the trail!
NHL Hockey Games
Banff is just an hour and a half drive from Calgary, where you can join the crowds for a National Hockey League (NHL) game at the famed Scotiabank Saddledome arena. Cheer on the Calgary Flames and get ready for the fast-paced action of Canada’s favourite sport.
Strap on some snowshoes and venture into the wilderness of Banff National Park! Trained naturalists will accompany you to provide instruction on snowshoeing and to share their knowledge about the area. If you’re eager to experience more distant mountainous regions, heli-snowshoeing options are also available.
See more mountains in a moment than most see in a lifetime! Ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain to experience a bird's eye view of six mountain ranges. The Banff Gondola is located just five minutes from the Town of Banff, on the shoulder of Sulphur Mountain. The 360o view from the upper gondola terminal, view-decks and Summit Ridge Interpretive Boardwalk offer the very best vantage point in the area.
While Banff National Park is famous for its wide open wilderness, wildlife and natural beauty, you can also escape the cold temperatures and partake in some indoor activities. Among many options, you can explore Banff’s museums and art galleries, take the family to an indoor water slide, climbing gym or movie theatre, enjoy some glow-in-the-dark bowling or relax at a local spa.