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7 Best Things to Do in Banff During Winter

7 Best Things to Do in Banff During Winter

Winter in Banff National Park is absolutely magical, and there are plenty of fun things to see and do.

From the flurries of snow cascading down the sky, to the unbelievably teal blue pools of water, visiting the Canadian Rockies during the winter is something that needs to be on your bucket list.

Now that I’ve seen Banff during the winter, spring, and summer, seeing it during the fall is on my bucket list – I’d love to see it surrounded with coloured leaves someday.

Here are some of the best things to do in Banff during the winter!

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Plan your Banff trip

If you’re planning a trip to Alberta, here are some other posts to help you plan your perfect trip:


Where to stay in Banff


Hotels in Banff

Hotels are a bit pricier in Banff and Lake Louise and can set you back $200-$400 CAD a night, but the ease of getting around without having to drive too far is worth it if it’s within your budget.

  • The Moose Hotel and Suites is a beautiful 3-star hotel right in the heart of Banff that serves up all of the cottage feels.
  • Fairmont Banff Springs is a historic and luxury 4-star hotel located right in Banff, and it’s perfect for honeymoons.

Hotels in Canmore

Hotels in Canmore are slightly cheaper, and it’s less than a 30 minute drive to Banff.

  • Basecamp Resorts Canmore is an amazing and modern 3-star condo building right in the heart of Canmore. It’s got a rooftop spa tub and laundry facilities, and there’s even free parking.
  • Basecamp Lodge Canmore is another nice property by Basecamp Resorts that serves up all the lodge feels.

Best things to do in Banff National Park during winter


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Icefields Parkway

Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic drives in the world, and the views are incredible even during the winter months.

The views are absolutely incredible, even during the winter!

One of the perks of visiting Banff during the winter is less crowds, and we managed to get a few shots in the middle of the road with this gorgeous mountain view!

If you choose to do this as well, please do so at your own risk and be safe, my friend.

If you’re lookin’ to take great photos for the ‘Gram, check out my blog post on how to take perfect travel photos.


Peyto Lake in Banff, Alberta

Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake is an absolutely incredible gem in Banff National Park, and it’s so beautiful during the winter.

The walk up to the top was a little tiring, but I blame it on the elevation and the cold air going up my nose.

You can hike, snowshoe, or ski from the lower parking lot up to the viewing platform, which offers up stunning views.

Please be aware of avalanche safety before doing any winter hikes in Banff!


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Hat: American Apparel | Crewneck: Everlane | Denim: Zara (similar from Everlane) | Boots: Ugg | Socks: Roots

Bow Lake

Bow Lake is one of the largest lakes in Banff, and it’s lovely to visit any time of year.

We couldn’t see much because of all the snow, but it was still pleasant to walk around the area – we even managed to get some beautiful shots here!

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Hat: American Apparel | Crewneck: Everlane | Denim: Zara (similar from Everlane)
Winter at Bow Lake in Banff, Alberta

If you visit later on in the winter season, the lake will actually be frozen over!


Snowy winter in Lake Louise, Alberta

Lake Louise

Lake Louise is one of my absolute favourite places in the entire world.

It’s beautiful no matter what time of the year you go, but it’s absolutely magical during the winter months.

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This cabin offers canoe rentals during the summer months.
Top things to do in Jasper and Banff National Park in Banff, Alberta in the winter | Banff, Alberta travel guide | what to do in Jasper & Banff, Canada | best Banff travel itinerary | best places to visit in Canada during the winter | where to go in Canada during the holidays | how to spend 3 days in Banff National Park | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Toronto lifestyle blog
Hat: American Apparel | Sweater: Everlane | Denim: Citizens of Humanity | Boots: Ugg | Socks: Roots

You can simply walk around and marvel in Lake Louise’s beauty, or go on a guided snowshoeing tour to get a more unique experience!

If you come later during the winter season, Lake Louise freezes over, and you can actually skate over the ice!

They even have a super cool ice sculpture exhibition that happens here every January.

Frozen and snowy Lake Louise during winter
Ice skating at Lake Louise.
Ice sculptures at Lake Louise during winter
Ice sculptures at Lake Louise.

If you visit from spring through fall, I’d highly recommend doing the epic Plain of the Six Glaciers hike, which starts at Lake Louise!

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat in Lake Louise, the Fairmont Château Lake Louise has an incredible restaurant with great food and cocktails, though their menu is a bit pricier.

If you’re traveling on a budget, Trailhead Cafe is an amazing and affordable café with fantastic sandwiches and drinks!


Emerald Lake in Field, British Columbia

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake is actually located in Yoho National Park, but many people make the stop here when they visit Banff because it’s located close to Lake Louise!

We loved having the lake all to ourselves so early in the morning, and the moody vibes made for some great shots.

It’s definitely not this peaceful and quiet if you visit Emerald Lake during the summer months!

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Top things to do in Jasper and Banff National Park in Banff, Alberta in the winter | Banff, Alberta travel guide | what to do in Jasper & Banff, Canada | best Banff travel itinerary | best places to visit in Canada during the winter | where to go in Canada during the holidays | how to spend 3 days in Banff National Park | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Toronto lifestyle blog

It would be so nice to stay in one of the rustic cabins here at Emerald Lake.

Emerald Lake in Field, British Columbia

You can actually hike around the entire lake, which takes about an hour, but we just stayed around the section of the lake near the parking lot.

LOCATION: 1 Emerald Lake Rd, Field, BC


Banff Gondola to Sulfur Mountain, Alberta

Banff Gondola

I’m not typically one for touristy activities, but the Banff Gondola is an attraction that’s so worth visiting.

You get to take a gondola up Sulphur Mountain, then you can explore the peak and take in the sweeping views of six mountain ranges.

Banff Gondola in Alberta
Banff Gondola to Sulfur Mountain, Alberta

There’s quite a bit of stair-climbing once you get off the gondola, so bring plenty of water and get yo’ exercise on!

LOCATION: 100 Mountain Ave, Banff, AB


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The adorable town of Banff.

Town of Banff

Of course, you can’t stop into Banff without visiting the actual town.

Wander around, do some souvenir shopping, and be sure to grab a meal at a local restaurant!

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I adore the souvenirs at the Big Bear Trading Company, which are more stylish and modern and don’t look like your typical touristy screen-printed t-shirts.

There’s even a massive shop called The Spirit Of Christmas that sells Christmas ornaments and goodies, and it’s Canada’s largest year-round Christmas store!

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Dinner at Block Kitchen + Bar, a delicious fusion restaurant in Banff.

There are plenty of great spots to eat in BanffBlock Kitchen + Bar is an awesome Asian fusion restaurant with a cool urban rustic interior, and they serve up delicious small tapas.


Banff Gondola, Alberta

Ski or snowboard in Banff

Did you know that you can actually ski and snowboard in Banff?

Book your skiing or snowboarding experience ahead of time, which includes rental equipment (skis, poles, and boots for skiers or snowboard and snowboard boots for snowboarders) and hotel pickup and drop off.

If you’d prefer to bring your own equipment or rent on-site, you can just visit the ski resorts yourself!

Mount Norquay is a great beginner or family-friendly spot, while Sunshine Village and Lake Louise are a lot larger with better terrains.


Best things to do in Banff during winter:

  1. Peyto Lake
  2. Bow Lake
  3. Lake Louise
  4. Emerald Lake
  5. Banff Gondola
  6. Town of Banff
  7. Ski or snowboard in Banff

These were some of the best and most fun things to do in Banff National Park during the winter months!

Banff is always a fun place to visit, whether you’re visiting during the summer or the winter.

It’s one of those trips that just never gets old – like Niagara Falls!

Have you been to Banff National Park during the winter before? What are the best things to do in Banff in your opinion? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!

Plan your Banff trip

If you’re planning a trip to Alberta, here are some other posts to help you plan your perfect trip:

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Jessica Lam | Toronto lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel blogger | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog


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