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Winter

Family ice skating on lake Louise

Winter in Banff and Lake Louise

Whether your idea of being immersed in a winter wonderland is strolling through snow-covered streets, cozying up by a fire with a decadent hot chocolate, skiing or snowboarding through world-class terrain, or ice skating over a frozen lake - there's an unforgettable winter experience for everyone in Banff and Lake Louise.  

 How will you explore in the snow? 

  • Tubing & Tobogganing

    Not up for skiing or boarding, but still want to glide down the snowy hills? Tubing is one of the best ways to get your adrenaline hit – no experience required!
  • Sleigh Rides

    Relax and listen to the jingling bells as horses pull you through magical scenery. Your winter sleigh ride awaits you in Banff and Lake Louise.
  • Snowshoeing

    Journey through magical surroundings in a pair of snowshoes. To get the best out of snowshoeing in Banff and Lake Louise, get your feet high and have them hover over the snow.
  • Ice Climbing

    Explore more on the ice. Join a friendly tour guide as they show you the ropes of ice climbing. You might even find yourself climbing the impressive falls of Johnston Canyon.
  • Skiing and Snowboarding

    With three ski resorts abundant with terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels, you'll be spoiled for choice in Banff National Park.
  • Cross-country Skiing

    Strap on your cross-country skis and get touring. Discover more of Banff National Park by hitting the backcountry or practicing on the flats of Lake Louise.

 Discover at a Leisurely Pace

  • Winter Hiking

    Want to get out and explore, but just in a pair of shoes? Lace-up some waterproof boots, get some cleats on and explore the trails of Banff and Lake Louise this winter.
  • Wellness & Relaxation

    After so many adventures in Banff National Park, relax, unwind, and take care of yourself. There are plenty of options for wellness in Banff National Park.
  • Winter Sightseeing

    Just here for the stunning winter scenery? Join a tour from Banff or Lake Louise and get to some of the best sites.
  • Dog Sledding

    Sit back and relax as a team of huskies pull you along the snowy trails of Banff National Park.
  • Ice Skating

    Rug up, get some skates on your feet, and hit the ice. There are plenty of spaces in Banff and Lake Louise to rent your skates and start gliding safely.

 

Celebrations fit for winter 

  • Christmas

    It’s a magical time of year, but in Banff and Lake Louise it’s even more festive and special.
  • SnowDays

    Celebrate all things winter at Banff and Lake Louise’s SnowDays. Days of activities, ice sculptures and snow sculptures to have you embracing the cold.
  • Winter Events

    Check out the events that are happening this winter in Banff National Park.

 

How to Get Here

Getting to Banff and Lake Louise is easy. Fly to Calgary International Airport and then enjoy a scenic drive or shuttle bus to Banff National Park. 

Direct Flights

Flying to Calgary International Airport (YYC) is an accessible and easy option when travelling to Banff and Lake Louise. Get on the plane, then after a glass of wine, a film or two, and a little nap, you will find yourself flying overhead the snow-covered peaks of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.  

Getting From the Airport

It takes around 90 minutes to drive from the Calgary International Airport to Banff depending on traffic. If you're heading to Lake Louise add another 40-45 minutes. It’s a very scenic and straightforward trip. You could rent a car from the Calgary airport or city centre or take one of the shuttle buses or scheduled coach services. Find out more information about trip planning.

Getting From Calgary

If you’re staying in Calgary, there are options to get from downtown and parts of the city of Calgary. Visit our Getting Here page for more information. 

Where to Stay

You’ll find the perfect winter base accommodation in Banff National Park. With fairy-tale castles, boutique hotels, hostels, remote backcountry lodges, charming B&Bs or mountain chalets:  there’s something for all preferences and budgets.

Luxury Hotels 

Look at the Fairmont Banff Springs if you like luxury and the idea of staying in a fairy-tale castle. You may even catch a glimpse of the famous Bow Falls outside your hotel window.  

For perhaps the most spectacular setting ever (think: right beside a frozen lake surrounded by mountains and glaciers), try the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. With ice skating, winter hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and outdoor campfires under the stars, you may never want to leave.  

If you’re after ultimate views, surrounded by trees whilst being nestled in the mountains, then stay at the Rimrock Resort. Not only has it got the views, but you’ll be staying in luxurious rooms with elegant service.

Cozy Cabins 

If you’re wanting a winter escape, to be surrounded by nature and snow, check out our list of cozy cabins in Banff National Park. You’ll have the option of remote, often hike-in backcountry lodges, or easier accessible frontcountry lodges and cabins. 

For a full list of accommodations and hotels in Banff and Lake Louise, visit our Places to Stay page. 

Where to Eat

There are so many options for food and drinks in the town of Banff and the hamlet of Lake Louise. Choose between distilled spirits and microbrews, delicious juices for breakfast, pizza or picnics for lunch, or Western-style steak or vegan meals for dinner.  

Après is a way of life in Banff and Lake Louise. Whether you want a cold beer brewed with glacial water, a hot chocolate by a log fire, or cocktails, you will find what you are looking for guaranteed. Here are where we recommend you visit for après.  

If you’re hitting the ski fields, there are some mouth-watering bites to get your lips around 

For ideas on cozy restaurants with mouth-watering food, or take-out to enjoy by the fire in your room, check out the dining page

What to Wear

Are you looking forward to the beauty of Banff National Park in winter? All those snow-capped mountains, trees topped with snow and frozen lakes. Winter in Banff is spectacular, but you’ll need to be prepared with temperatures ranging from –5°C to –40°C. So, we’ve put together a list for you of what to wear.

Layers are essential for all activities in Banff National Park through most seasons, but particularly winter. 

Base Layer 

  • Pack thermal longjohns and thermal long-sleeved shirts. Make sure your whole body is covered by a base layer of either wool or another synthetic material 

Second Layer 

  • Shirt on top of your thermals. Flannels work amazing! 
  • Waterproof pants (ski pants or snow pants) if you’re going to be in the snow or ice. Otherwise, if you’re after a casual look, jeans or other pants (fleece-lined leggings are amazing) can be worn on top of thermals.  

Mid-Layer 

  • Fleece jacket or a wool sweater for your upper body.  

Outer layer 

  • Jacket or coat. Insulated warm jackets are perfect. Waterproof or resistant is great for when you are out exploring or skiing. 

Feet 

  • Winter or snow boots, try to ensure they’re waterproof to avoid issues with snow. 
  • Warm socks, either wool or synthetic (not cotton). 

Other Winter Needs

  • Hand warmers are heavenly at times 
  • Beanie or Toque, the type with lining and no holes.  
  • Mittens or gloves, but remember mittens trap the warm air between your fingers making them warmer. Get ones with lining. 
  • Scarf or neck warmer 
  • Sunglasses are a must in winter! Snow can be bright on the eyes. 
  • Microspikes to avoid those slips

If you’ve forgotten your gear, not a problem! There are various stores in town where you can buy or rent some gear. 

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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.