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A women skates on Lake Louise, Banff National Park, AB
Destination Canada
The Real Banff / Published: Tue, 01/09/2018 - 02:56

8 Memorable Places to Skate in Banff National Park

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Something magical happens in Banff National Park when the mercury dips well below zero, and stays there for months on end. It takes freezing temperatures to turn water to solid, and when this happens the region’s lakes, rivers and creeks turn into some of the most scenic ice skating rinks in the world. Whether you prefer a manmade rink, a frozen lake or the smooth surface of an indoor facility, you’ve got all three options at your fingertips here in Banff. Throw some hot chocolate in the mix, and you can’t get more quintessentially Canadian than that!

 Maintained Rinks

All FREE unless otherwise indicated.  Downtown Rink at Banff Community High School Located centrally on the field at the Banff Community High School, this rink is easily accessed from the downtown core.

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise - Winning the top spot for scenery, this rink is maintained right on Lake Louise, and features bonfires to keep you toasty. During the Ice Magic Festival an ice castle is installed right on the lake!

Lake Louise Recreation Centre - Located on Village Road in Lake Louise, this facility includes an outdoor hockey and skating rink. Ice rink schedule here.  

Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre - This indoor rink is open for public skating at a cost of $6 (FREE for 17 and under). Skates available for rental for use on-site only. Check the schedule here

Ice Skating on Lake Louise, Banff National Park, AB
Travel Alberta

Nature’s Rinks

The following bodies of water are the local favourites for outdoor skating when conditions permit (usually early season before a big snowfall, or when wind has blown snow off the surface of the ice). As these rinks aren’t maintained, be extra cautious about checking for safe conditions prior to skating  (see safety section below). Bow River A skating oval is cleared on the Bow River, and gives you the perfect setting to do some laps while you take in the mountain views at every turn. It is generally maintained, but prone to bumps, cracks and elk tracks! Located along Bow Ave, near downtown Banff.

Mountain Lakes  Vermilion Lakes, Lake Minnewanka, Johnson Lake and Two Jack Lake are all contenders for a memorable skating experience when conditions allow. Chances are you’ll have the ice to yourself unless word gets out!

Ice skating on Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park, AB
Paul Zizka
 Photo by Paul Zizka 

Be Safe

  • Ensure safe ice conditions prior to skating and know what to do if someone breaks through the surface.
  • Check conditions after heavy snowfall. Wait for rinks to be cleared or bring a shovel and lend a hand!
  • It is recommended you wear a helmet. Remember you’re skating on a hard surface.

Skate Rentals  Bring your own skates or leave them behind – there are plenty of places to rent a pair in Banff and Lake Louise.  


 Lake Louise

Are you coming to Banff National Park?

Make sure you purchase your Parks Canada Discovery Pass in advance for express entry into the park. All of the details, including frequently asked questions can be found in our Guide To The Parks Canada Pass. 

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Plan Your Stay

Browse and book accommodation and lodging packages with our trip planning tool. To learn about the different types of accommodation available in Banff and Lake Louise, visit our Places to Stay page or Contact Us to speak to a local expert.