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7 Christmas Traditions To Discover in Banff and Lake Louise

Published Date
Oct 3, 2023|
Themes
Events & Festivals, Family Travel
Sleigh Ride, Lake Louise, Banff National Park

If ever there was a time to discover and create new traditions, it’s around Christmas, when the spirit of the holidays inspires you to focus on what’s really important.

Perhaps it’s quality time with loved ones or disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whatever the holiday season means to you, adopting new Christmas traditions in Banff and Lake Louise is an enriching way to create lasting memories, and ones you can look forward to year after year.

Here are some of our favourites:

1. Take a Time out and Hit the Slopes

The slopes are often a little quieter on Christmas Day, providing the perfect opportunity to take a few turns and keep the little ones active. Spend the afternoon or morning with your nearest and dearest, hitting the world-class slopes at one of the three mountain resorts in Banff National Park.

A mom skis closely behind her child as they descend a small snowy hill at a ski resortA mom skis closely behind her child as they descend a small snowy hill at a ski resortA mom skis closely behind her child as they descend a small snowy hill at a ski resort

2. Slide Along on a Horse-Drawn Sleigh

Keep warm under a blanket for a peaceful ride in a horse-drawn sleigh, an experience the whole family can enjoy. Available in both Banff and Lake Louise, a sleigh ride slows down the pace as you take in the scenery, breathe in the crisp air, and spend time with your loved ones. Plan ahead, check the weather, and dress warmly with a hat, scarf, and mitts.

A sleigh ride underneath Mount Rundle in Banff National Park.A sleigh ride underneath Mount Rundle in Banff National Park.A sleigh ride underneath Mount Rundle in Banff National Park.

3. Go for a Fresh Air Picnic

Traditionally, Christmas is a day gathered around the tree indoors, indulging in all the good food life has to offer - but why not adopt a refreshing tradition of time spent outdoors? Take your tradition up a notch and take food with you for an outdoor picnic - don't forget the hot chocolate! Try hiking Tunnel Mountain, snowshoeing around Lake Louise, or, for a much longer day, ski touring to Boom Lake or Rockbound Lake. Stock up on supplies in Banff at Nesters Market or IGA, or in Lake Louise at the Village Market.

A family walks along a snow covered trail around a frozen lakeA family walks along a snow covered trail around a frozen lakeA family walks along a snow covered trail around a frozen lake

4. Get Cozy at a Cabin

Spend the holiday season in a fully furnished cabin where you can warm up by a wood stove and enjoy an intimate holiday gathering with friends and family, surrounded by nothing but wilderness. Or, check out one of the backcountry lodges in Banff National Park accessible by snowshoe or ski, where warm duvets and gourmet meals await your arrival.

A wooden cabin with a stone fireplace on a snow covered ground as snow continues to fall around itA wooden cabin with a stone fireplace on a snow covered ground as snow continues to fall around itA wooden cabin with a stone fireplace on a snow covered ground as snow continues to fall around it

5. Eat Out, You're on Holidays

One of the best things about Banff and Lake Louise is the mouth-watering food options. Our favourites for Christmastime include Park Distillery, for a campfire-inspired menu that will warm you from the inside out, Chuck's Steakhouse with their tummy-filling multi-course Christmas dinner, and the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel for their many Christmas meal offerings.

Check our Eat & Drink page for more ideas and be sure to call ahead!

6. Skate When the Sun Goes Down

The skating rink on Lake Louise is lit at night, making for the most magical skating experience imaginable. With Christmas lights twinkling (not to mention stars sparkling above!), you’ll instantly fall in love with this new tradition. When you’re ready to unlace your skates, head in for a well-deserved hot chocolate or a coffee with liqueur. And don’t forget the whipped cream!

A skater stands on a lit outdoor natural skating rink at night with a large, well lit hotel next to the skating rinkA skater stands on a lit outdoor natural skating rink at night with a large, well lit hotel next to the skating rinkA skater stands on a lit outdoor natural skating rink at night with a large, well lit hotel next to the skating rink

7. Wander the Trails of Banff National Park

Spend your day trekking through the snow-covered hiking and walking trails of Banff National Park. Whether your mode of transportation is skis, snowshoes, or winter boots, there is a trail in Banff and Lake Louise for you.

Then, when the sun goes down, immerse yourself in the festive live story In Search of Christmas Spirit.

A family on a lantern walk in search of Christmas spirit in Banff National Park in a cold winter night.A family on a lantern walk in search of Christmas spirit in Banff National Park in a cold winter night.A family on a lantern walk in search of Christmas spirit in Banff National Park in a cold winter night.

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Meghan J. Ward

Meghan J. Ward

Meghan J. Ward is an outdoor, travel and adventure writer based in Banff, Canada, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.