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 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!
Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre - This indoor rink is open for public skating at select times. Skates available for rental for use on-site only. Check the schedule here.
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.
Lake Louise Recreation Centre - Located on Village Road in Lake Louise, this facility includes an outdoor hockey and skating rink with a drop-in fee of $2. Ice rink schedule here.
*All free unless otherwise indicated.
The following bodies of water are the local favourites for outdoor skating when conditions permit (usually early season before a big snowfall, or when the 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).
Vermilion Lakes, Lake Minnewanka, Johnson Lake, Cascade Ponds, 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!
- 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.
Bring your own skates or leave them behind – there are plenty of places to rent a pair in Banff and Lake Louise.
- Banff Adventures
- Ultimate Sports
- Chateau Mountain Sports (Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel)
- Fenlands Recreation Centre (Skates available for rental for use on-site only)
Are you coming to Banff National Park?
Make sure you purchase your Parks Canada Discovery Pass in advance for express entry into the park.