Winter Must-Do Activities

Back to Banff & Lake Louise

APRES ACTION

Après is a way of life in Banff and Lake Louise. Whether you want a cold beer brewed with glacial water at the locals’ hangout, a hot chocolate by a log fire, or cocktails and dancing, you will find what you are looking for guaranteed. Don’t miss a chance to explore the town by night, it may even get a little wild.

There are so many options for food and drinks in the town of Banff and village of Lake Louise, from distilled spirits to microbrews, to delicious juices for breakfast, pizza or picnics for lunch, or Western style steak or vegan meals for dinner. Some of our favourites for food, drink, and nightlife are:

The best espresso

For the best coffee or tea in town to kick off your day, try Whitebark Cafe. And a bonus for getting your caffeine intake – the coffee is fair trade and organic and the teas are sourced locally.

Best cocktails

Park Distillery Restaurant & Bar on Banff Ave. is the place to go for campfire-inspired food and spirits distilled in-house. Have a later lunch and join the free Distillery Tour from 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. daily.

Warm from the inside out

Fondue totally makes sense in this snowy town. The Banff Grizzly House has some of the best around. And don’t miss calling your friends from one of the many old-school telephones in each booth. It’s hilarious.

Get wild

For a proper Western cowboy/girl experience, Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon offers slow-cooked brisket and line dancing lessons. We dare you to ride the mechanical bull!

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

Cross country skiing is a great way to explore Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies during the winter months. A vast network of classic and skate skiing trails provides plenty of options for all fitness levels. Banff, Lake Louise and Castle Junction trails are track-set and groomed regularly, giving you the choice of leisurely loops or more demanding routes. Pack a lunch, grab your gear and choose your ideal trail.

DOG SLEDDING

This unique experience can be tranquil at some times, and exhilarating and delightfully chaotic at others. Dogsledding is a must-do activity for any traveler, but especially so for dog-lovers or those wanting to experience a classically Canadian activity. Explore the rich history, culture, and techniques of dogsledding as your musher and dog team guide you through the incredible scenery of the Canadian Rockies.

ICESKATING

A favourite Canadian sport, ice skating on frozen lakes and playing shinny with your friends on an outdoor rink is an incredible way to enjoy fresh mountain air.

There are several indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks open during the winter in Banff and Lake Louise and the best part – 90% are free!

For a truly spectacular skating experience, you must try the iconic Lake Louise. Named as one of the “10 most beautiful ice skating rinks in the world,” by CNN Travel, the frozen lake is cleared and maintained daily by The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and has a heated shelter to warm chilly fingers and toes.

WINTER HIKING AND SNOWSHOEING

Two activities that are enjoyed by locals every day are winter hiking and snowshoeing. All you need is a warm jacket, a toque, mittens, and a pair of winter boots and you’re set to experience our winter wonderland. If you’re keen to experience something a little different, strap on some snowshoes and play in the freshly fallen snow.

 

ICE CLIMBING & BACKCOUNTRY SKIING

For the adrenaline-inspired, Banff National Park boasts some of the best ice and mixed climbing routes in the world. Imagine climbing up frozen waterfalls while you look down at a spectacular frozen creek below. For the best and safest experience hire an Alpine Mountain Guide for the day through Yamnuska Mountain Adventures.

 

Backcountry skiing is a spectacular way to find your inner mojo. It’s an activity that can be both exhilarating and peaceful at the same time. You can fly by helicopter with CMH Heli-Skiing to a remote luxury backcountry lodge where thousands of feet of vertical and fresh tracks await, or you can ski the majestic Puracell Range with R.K. Heli-Skiing. Get out and explore!

JOHNSTON CANYON ICEWALK

The Johnston Canyon Icewalk traverses a series of steel catwalks that give spectacular views of the Johnston Canyon below. This popular ice walk leads you past the lower falls and to the breathtaking upper icefalls. Travel through prime wildlife habitat and learn the clues to how Johnston Canyon was formed.

RELAX AND REJUVENATE

Travelling is a great opportunity to nourish your body and soul, especially in a place like Banff and Lake Louise where you are surrounded by such majestic natural beauty – it’s difficult to not feel inspired here. Amongst the pristine wilderness, vibrant townships, and inherent peacefulness of the landscape, you will find relaxation and rejuvenation.

 

Hike up Tunnel Mountain just above the town of Banff to watch the sunrise; sit with a book by the Bow River; participate in a yoga or fitness class; savour the indulgence of a spa treatment; absorb the stillness and silence of the forest; or gaze upon the stars in the crystal clear sky. Banff and Lake Louise is a place where you can truly relax, rejuvenate, and renew.