10 Winter Adventures in Banff (+1 Day Itinerary) (2023)

Banff is one of the largest in Alberta, Canada.popular mountain villagessurrounded by snow capped peaks and vibrant turquoise lakes.

It is aPostkartenstadtwith ski resorts, hot springs and fragrant pines and full of nature and wildlife (like wild moose and grizzly bears).

After our brief day visit to Banff, it was easy to see why so many people flock to experience this beautiful city not just in the summer, but all year round!

10 Winter Adventures in Banff (+1 Day Itinerary) (1)
10 Winter Adventures in Banff (+1 Day Itinerary) (2)
10 Winter Adventures in Banff (+1 Day Itinerary) (3)

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That's right, Banff in winter can be just as magical.banff in summer.

It's one of those rare destinations where there isn't a lot of low season. Banff is a year-round favorite among outdoor enthusiasts for its hiking opportunities in summer and its icy ski slopes in winter. So what is there to do in Banff in the winter if you only have one day?

Here's my sweet little guide to it.Visiting Banff, Alberta in One Day: Winter Edition!Keep reading to discover the best winter getaway activities in Banff.

Index Show

Complete Guide to Banff in Winter

Know before you go

To visit the town of Banff inlandbanff national parkYou must pay a fee per person for each day you visit or participate in an activity. Therefore, you will need a valid national park pass for any activity or camp you are staying at.

  • Cost:$10.25 per adult daily
  • Offers admission to Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Waterton Lakes and Elk Island National Parks until 4pm. M. the day after purchase (renewable)

Banff Visitor Center:In hindsight, the Banff Visitor Center should be the first thing you do in Banff, as it provides the most up-to-date and accurate information on available hikes, slopes and trail conditions, as well as other important information such as road closures, weather updates or wildlife. visualization. When we visited the center, signs warning of aggressive moose adorned the site. It wasn't until hours later, when we saw several wild moose on the sidewalks of downtown Banff, that we realized what they meant. Wildlife is up close here and there are not just moose but also grizzly bears roaming around here!

(Video) Banff Winter Activities - Scenic Hikes Stunning Views - MUST SEE Banff Alberta in Winter
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Banff, Alberta, late October

Best things to do in Banff in winter

Banff is a tourist town with lots to do. But it closes some of its trails and lakes for the winter, which we discovered when we visited the Banff Visitor Center.

Although winter usually starts in December, these trails/lakes may close soon.October 15 due to road iceand danger of avalanche.

So, before you get your hopes up (like I did), here's what NOT to do in Banff during the winter:

  • Visit Turquoise Moraine Lake after mid-October
  • Road trip along the Icefields Parkway(risky even with winter tires)

PS It is still possible to visit Lake Louise and even camp there until mid-October. only 1-2Camps and Banffremain open in Banff and Lake Louise through the winter.

So, here's what to do in Banff this winter (this list goes on and on!)

1. Visite o Fairmont Banff Springs & Bow Falls

curved"The Castle of the Rocky Mountains', Fairmont Banff Springs is actually just one of 11 luxurious Fairmont Castles located across Canada.

But Banff's somehow has an added charm, as it sits in a stunning setting surrounded by mountains, pine trees and hot springs. Just a 20-minute walk down the slopes from the hotel is the legendary thundering Bow Falls Rapids. Visiting the falls is a great outdoor activity in Banff during the winter.

Book your stay at Fairmont Banff Springs here

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(Video) 10 BEST Things To Do In Banff | What To Do In Banff

Fairmont Banff Springs overlooking the Bow Valley

2. Take the gondola up Sulfur Mountain

If you can't hike anywhere near the Rocky Mountains in summer, the next best thing is seeing their snow-capped peaks from a fully enclosed gondola. As you fly in the air above the treesBanff cable car, you canunparalleled 360 degree viewsof six mountains in the Canadian Rockies. However, prices aren't exactly cheap, so allow some time (and money) if you decide to do this during your trip to Banff.

Cost: $66/person|Book your tickets in advance here

3. Take a dog sled or helicopter ride with Banff Adventures

Banff Adventures is a locally owned companyAdventure tour operator in Banffduring the last 20 years. They do all kinds of guided tours; Canoeing, kayaking, hiking, ice hiking, helicopter rides and even dog sledding. If you only have one day in Banff, consider booking an all-inclusive tour so you don't get FOMO.

Check here the tours available with Banff Adventures

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4. Go ice skating

You have two options forIce Skating in BanffIn the winter. You can skate indoors at the public Fenlands Rec Center or head to the outdoor rink at Banff High School Center in the evenings after mid-December. The Banff Visitor Center even mentioned that they often skate on the river or even the frozen lake in front of Fairmont Banff Springs!

5. Hike the Short Hoodoos Trail

Let's Hunt Hoodoo! What is a hoodoo, you ask? A hoodoo is a pyramidal, spiral, or tent-shaped peak made of soft rock.

They are sometimes calledFeenkamine. Banff has a Hoodoo Trail that leads directly to Mount Rundel and into the valley that leads to Fairmont Banff Springs.

If you have a good camera zoom you can see the hotel in the distance! The views from this trail are stunning, but check winter conditions before heading out. Find the hoodoo starting point near the Tunnel Mountain campgrounds in Banff or learn more.Here.

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10 Winter Adventures in Banff (+1 Day Itinerary) (8)
(Video) A Week of Winter Adventures in Banff National Park & Jasper Canada

6. Practice esqui or boia no Mount Norquay or Sunshine Village

Bueno,Skiingin Banff in the winter is the number one reason to visit Banff in the winter. But I put it 5th because you probably won't have time to visit Banff in one day if you ski and stuff.

However, if you plan on staying in Banff for at least two days or more, a trip to a ski resort is the best thing to do in Banff this winter, hands down! Alternatively, you can spend a whole morning skiing.city ​​of the Sunoder Snowtubing-Praktika demonte norquayand then swimming in Banff's Upper Hot Springs later that night.

7. Visit the public lakes near Canmore

If you're like me, you at least want to see some turquoise lakes set against stunning mountain peaks. I mean maybe? If so, you can travel from Banffclose to canmore, where there are several mountain ranges that rise above several clear lakes.

While they may not be as vividly blue as others like Peyto Lake,Lago Louise, or Moraine Lake, still offer an immersive experience of the Canadian Rockies. I'm so glad I decided to stop and do this on my way to Banff. What's more, visiting these places costs us nothing!

PS: The lakes start to freeze in the middle of winter, so it's best to visit before the end of October.

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Canmore has many beautiful peaks and lakes and is only 15 minutes from Banff

8. Patine no gelo no Grotto Canyon + Johnston Canyon

A guided ice walk is another way to discover Banff's winter magic! Different guides do tours to different places in winter, for examplecave gorgeÖJohnston Gorge.

Both are exhilarating adventures with breathtaking views over canyons along steel walkways and both offer visitors another breathtaking opportunity to experience the Albertan love of nature.

Book your ice hike to Grotto Canyon here

Book a Johnston Canyon Sunset Ice Cruise here

9. Nade em Upper Hot Springs de Banff

ANDUpper Banff hot springsIt is perhaps the most popular activity in Banff during the winter, as the hot springs are open from mid-October to mid-May. The price is very cheap and you have access to the hot water pool until late at night.

(Video) 3 days in Banff National Park - Travel Guide

It costs US$ 8.30/adultfor access to the hot springs and about $7-8 for the radio hot springs.More information here.

10. Visit the cute restaurants and shops

The best thing to do in Banff is just to admire the streets, signs, shops and wooden houses. I say cured because Banff is a mountain town through and through. My

Even the street signs are named after wild animals! In winter, Banff is particularly cozy at night, with the festive lights twinkling and the sun setting perfectly over Mount Rundle.

There are also many trendy restaurants, pubs and bars to explore in Banff, so enjoy dining out when you can. Restaurant highlights:Park of restaurants and distilleriesis a Banff specialty restaurant known for its mountain campfire-style dining with creative liquors.

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A magical sunset in Banff

Additional activity in Banff: The Whyte Museum

Located in the heart of Banff, the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies is a great indoor activity when the weather changes.

The museum houses a large exhibition that showcases the region's rich culture and heritage. You can learn about women in history, First Nations, local heroes and other stories from Banff and the Canadian Rockies.Get your ticket to the Whyte Museum here!

Banff 1 Tag Winterroute

As you can see, there are so many things to do in Banff during the winter that it would be impossible to do it all in one day.

But here is my itinerary suggestion of what to do in Banffif you only have one day!

Banff 1 Day Winter Itinerary

  • Early morning gondola ride to Sulfur Mountain
  • Morning-noon: skiing, dog sledding, snow tubing, ice skating, snowshoeing, etc.
  • Late lunch in Banff (Nourish Bistro and Eddie Burger Bar are great lunch options)
  • Afternoon hike to the hoodoos
  • Early afternoon ice hike to a canyon with Banff Adventures
  • Evening: Soak in Banff Upper Hot Springs (Mon-Fri until 10pm, weekends 11pm)
  • Dinner at Parks Distillery

Feel free to swap activities above, but I think this one-day itinerary of what to do in Banff in winter gives a good idea of ​​possible activities.

If you wish to stay 1 night or more in Banff,Check out these upscale accommodations. Whether it's a campsite to park your mobile home, a cozy B&B or aBoutique Hotel in Bergen, Banff has excellent accommodation options for one or more nights.


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With so much to see and do in Banff, there's no doubt we'll be back. We look forward to visiting Banff and Lake Louise for much longer on our next trip!

Have you explored Banff yet? What was your favorite thing to do there?

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10 Winter Adventures in Banff (+1 Day Itinerary) (13)
10 Winter Adventures in Banff (+1 Day Itinerary) (14)


How many days do you need in Banff in winter? ›

Recommended Length Of Stay

I would recommend visiting for no less than 4-5 days, especially if you plan on seeing both Banff and Jasper National Parks. There is a lot of driving between the different lakes and waterfalls, and we found that we couldn't always fit as much into one day as we had anticipated.

Is one day in Banff enough? ›


If you've only got 24 hours in Banff, no problem. Start by soaking up that mountain air on a walk around town. Try the hiking trails up Tunnel Mountain or, if you're looking for something less strenuous, take a walk along the Bow River on the Fenlands Trail.

Is it worth going to Banff in winter? ›

Absolutely Banff is worth visiting in the winter. If you like to ski, you are guaranteed some great skiing at the Banff ski resorts. If you are looking for that classic white Christmas, you are also 99.9% guaranteed a white Christmas in Banff or Canmore.

How many days are enough for Banff? ›

There are some experiences in Banff and Lake Louise that simply can't be missed. It's a subjective list, but five days is a good length of time to tick off the world-famous hot spots.

Is Lake Louise worth it in winter? ›

We love Lake Louise all year round, but I particularly love Lake Louise in winter. While most people think of the Canadian Rockies as a summer destination, I believe that winter in Lake Louise is what it's all about. There are so many amazing things to do in Lake Louise during the winter.

What is the coldest month in Banff? ›

Winter can start as early as late October and lasts until mid April. December, January and February are the coldest. Temperatures can dip to -34ºC or more.

Is Banff crowded in winter? ›

Crowd. Banff has two peak seasons: the summer tourist rush from July through August and the winter ski season from December through January (particularly around Christmas break). As with most travel destinations, the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) are best for avoiding crowds.

Is Banff overcrowded? ›

In reality, the Canadian Rockies are a popular summer destination and Banff National Park is the most crowded of them all. With its easy access to some of the most beautiful lakes in the Canadian Rockies and its proximity to the hub of Calgary, the park receives approximately four million travelers yearly.

Do you need a day pass to go to Banff? ›

Why do I need a Park Pass? A National Park Pass is required when entering a national park in Canada. Banff National Park entry and service fees help support visitor services and facilities. This means that every time you visit, you are investing in the park - and in a legacy for future generations!

Do you need bear spray in Banff winter? ›

Wildlife Safety

Bears are on the landscape until late November and occasionally emerge from their dens throughout the winter. It's important to be BearSmart and carry bear spray year-round.

How do people dress in Banff in winter? ›

Here's what's in a recommended kit:
  1. Long underwear set (shirt and tights)
  2. Snow pants, lightly insulated (on a milder day, this could simply be a shell pant)
  3. Fleece or insulating mid-layer.
  4. Waterproof/windproof/breathable shell or ski jacket.
  5. Puffy jacket that packs down small - great for when you stop to take a break.
Jan 16, 2018

Is Lake Louise busy in winter? ›

You can stay at luxury hotels like the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel or Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and score a reduced rate. You CAN get parking at Lake Louise and don't need to pay for it. There are no crowds in winter anywhere.

What month is best for Banff? ›

Overall, May, June and September are the best months to visit Banff. These months have warm weather but there are fewer crowds. Hotel prices can also be lower in May and June. If you're hoping to hit the slopes, March is the best time to visit Banff in winter.

Should I stay at Lake Louise or Banff? ›

With so many things to do in the area, Lake Louise is one of the best choices if you still don't know where to stay in Banff National Park. It's also a great base if you're planning to explore the nearby Moraine Lake, which is only a 15-minute drive away from Lake Louise Village.

How far apart are Banff and Lake Louise? ›

Lake Louise itself is 61 km from the Town of Banff. The drive takes about 45 minutes along the TransCanada or an hour if you drive the scenic Bow Valley Parkway.

Is Moraine Lake better than Lake Louise? ›

Moraine Lake is only half the size of its nearby neighbour Lake Louise, but perhaps even more scenic. It's situated at an elevation of 1883 meters in the beautiful Valley Of The Ten Peaks in Banff National Park. This glacier-fed lake becomes the most intense and vivid shade of turquoise blue.

Why does no one swim in Lake Louise? ›

Like most of the lake in the Rocky Mountains, Lake Louise is not a lake you would want to swim in. The temperature of the water would rarely get above 5C. (41F.) The water is so frigid that the Lake Louise Polar Bear Dip is held during the Canada Day Celebrations on July 1st.

How long is the shuttle from Banff to Lake Louise? ›

It takes around 15 minutes to get to Lake Louise from the Park and Ride, as there are no other stops along the way. The Parks Canada shuttle operates from mid-May to mid-October for Lake Louise (May 13 to October 10 for 2023) and June 1 to mid-October (October 10 for 2023) for Moraine Lake.

What month is Banff snowiest? ›

March in Banff

Despite the warmer weather, March often sees Banff's biggest snowfall of the year, making this month a fantastic time to ski and snowboard.

Can you see Northern Lights in Banff in winter? ›

The aurora borealis can shine any time of year, but they are best from October to mid April when the night sky is at its darkest. Generally, the northern lights in Banff shine their brightest during the winter months of December to February. Your best chance to see them is on clear nights with a new moon.

What is the cheapest time to go to Banff? ›

The cheapest times to visit Banff are April to May and September to November. At this time, you'll be able to find the best deals on hotels, resort packages, outdoor activities, and travel fees. These months are known as the offseason, and there are fewer tourists during this time.

Is 2 nights in Banff enough? ›

This magical town and national park are filled with literally hundreds of amazing places to visit, tours to go on, and, of course, things to do. But with that said, 3 days or 72 hours in Banff is a good amount of time to visit the majority of the most amazing attractions in Banff.

Is it worth going to Banff in December? ›

Banff in December is one of the best times of the year to visit the Canadian Rockies. If you are into winter, snow, and hot chocolate, that is. Banff in December is the most magical time of year.

Can you see the northern lights in Banff? ›

The most accessible location from the town of Banff for viewing the northern lights is Vermillion Lakes. Although they don't provide as direct of a northerly view, the lights are often bright enough to dance over the Rundle range.

Is Banff a walkable city? ›

The Banff townsite is just 3.94 square kilometres, which means it's fairly easy to get around. Locals like to walk and cycle everywhere, or Roam on Banff's great public transit system.

Are there homeless people in Banff? ›

There are individuals in our community who are rough sleeping, sleeping in the woods, in their vehicle or precariously housed and at risk of homelessness. COVID-19 has only worsened the situation for many people in our community.

Can you walk from Lake Louise Village to Lake Louise? ›

The Louise Creek Trail is the best way to get to Lake Louise without worrying about parking, traffic, and the busy road. You will be able to hike up to the lake through the forest next to the rushing waters of Louise Creek. This is a great option for those looking to hike right from the village of Lake Louise.

Do you need cash in Banff? ›

We often get asked how much cash is needed to visit Banff, and the truth is not much. You can pay for almost everything in the Canadian Rockies with your credit card. In fact we still have a crisp $100 bill that we pulled out over a year ago sitting in our wallet, because there is no need to use much cash.

Is the Banff shuttle free? ›

Once you're in Banff, getting around was easy with our FREE shuttle service during the Festival. Visit Banff Parking to find out about more parking locations in Banff.

Should I be scared of bears in Banff? ›

How can I be safe when exploring bear country in Banff National Park? Bears are solitary, wary and sensitive to human activity. They can be dangerous. The safest bet is to avoid encounters with them altogether—both for their sake and yours.

How do I protect myself from bears in Banff? ›

Back away slowly, while facing the bear and your bear spray ready to discharge. Go to a safe place - inside a vehicle, your residence or a building. Never move towards a bear. When safe, call Banff National Park dispatch at 403.762.

Are there bears in Lake Louise? ›

Observe Grizzly bears and other wildlife in their natural habitat. The Lake Louise Summer Gondola is famous for being one of the best places in the Canadian Rockies to safely view grizzly bears, black bears, lynx, moose, mountain goats, elk, and deer along with many other fascinating species of wildlife.

What shoes to wear in Banff in winter? ›

You aren't going to trudge around town in a pair of sneakers. Pick up a pair of functional but stylish boot that has a high ankle to prevent snow. We have a pair of Sorel Caribou boots for deep snow days in Banff. However, most winter snow depths aren't bad in town, so a sturdy pair of boots will work perfectly well.

What should I wear for dinner in Banff? ›

For walks around town, dinner, or drinks at the bar we recommend a pair of jeans. Banff is very casual, and there aren't a plethora of fine dining restaurants and no clubs to wear nice clothes.

Do I need hiking shoes in Banff? ›

Feet. For footwear, a pair of light hikers will be sufficient for most hikes in Banff National Park. For more rigorous or backcountry hikes, consider a mid-height, sturdy hiking boot with good tread.

Can you do Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in one day? ›

Be an early bird, grab a coffee and jump on one of the first Roam buses departing from Banff to Lake Louise. Visiting Moraine Lake and Lake Louise in one day is possible on the Parks Canada Shuttle system from June 1 – October 11, 2021 (Lake Louise shuttles operate from May 14).

Is it better to see Lake Louise in the morning or afternoon? ›

The lake is accessible all day and night, though it's best to visit during the day. It's worth noting that attractions and things like the Icebar and canoe docks at the Fairmont will close down come nighttime. There is paid parking in effect at Lake Louise during the summer months between the hours of 7am and 7pm.

Can you visit lake Moraine in the winter? ›

Moraine Lake in the winter is inaccessible by car, however you can make the easy hike up to the lake. Don't be expecting the famous turquoise waters though; due to its high elevation the lake usually doesn't beginning thawing until June.

Is 3 days in Banff enough? ›

If you want to get a taste of Banff and see the famous lakes, then you can spend 1 to 2 days in Banff and just see the highlights. If you want to see the lakes in Banff but also explore a little and do a hike or two, then 3 days is perfect for Banff National Park.

Is 2 days enough for Banff? ›

This magical town and national park are filled with literally hundreds of amazing places to visit, tours to go on, and, of course, things to do. But with that said, 3 days or 72 hours in Banff is a good amount of time to visit the majority of the most amazing attractions in Banff.

Can you do Banff in 4 days? ›

Starting your day early in the morning allows you to beat the crowds to many must-see attractions and avoid congestion getting into Banff National Park. It also gives you the most time to spend exploring everything Banff has to offer, allowing you to fit more into your 4-day Banff itinerary.

Is Jasper or Banff better in winter? ›

If you're looking to truly visit nature and want to experience all the area has to offer, Jasper is the summer pick while Banff is great for winter.

Can you do Banff and Jasper in one day? ›

If you were to drive straight through without any stops, the drive will take you between 3.5 and 4 hours. However, you should expect the drive to take you at least 5 hours in the winter and the summer, but it's best to plan to be driving between Jasper and Banff all day.

Is Jasper better than Banff? ›

Banff, without a doubt, has the better location in terms of ease and access to the mountains. Jasper is much more of a haul to get to, and if driving from Calgary to Jasper, you'll have to pass through Banff and drive the Icefields Parkway to reach Jasper.

Is driving in Banff hard? ›

Driving in Banff isn't all that difficult with a properly winterized vehicle. The roads in Banff are spacious and clear, with little to no road deformities. You'll have to keep your eyes open for animals and slippery roads, but you should be fine as long as you drive at a comfortable and safe speed.

Can you explore Banff without a car? ›

The Banff townsite is just 3.94 square kilometres, which means it's fairly easy to get around. Locals like to walk and cycle everywhere, or Roam on Banff's great public transit system.


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