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These 9 Banff Winter Activities Will Make You Wish The Cold Were Here To Stay

Family-Friendly Activities For Your Winter-Loving Heart 💝

​A person rock climbing in Banff National Park. Right: Gary the cat in Banff National Park.

A person rock climbing in Banff National Park. Right: Gary the cat in Banff National Park.

Staff Writer

It's that time of year again. Leaves fall down, thermometers retract, and the Great White North starts living up to its wintry name. While some of us are locking ourselves in our homes to hibernate as soon as the first signs of the cold season show up, other Canadians come to life with the snowy landscape.

Canada, indeed, transforms into a winter wonderland for your eyes to feast on, and one of the most breathtaking spots to enjoy all the frozen sights is Banff National Park. But don't just take our word for how fantastic this area of the Albertan Rockies is, as we've compiled photos of the mountainous town in the wintertime for you to be dazzled by its beauty.

Of course, when you think of Banff, the first activity that comes to your mind is probably its hot springs — we get it. But when the below-zero temperatures arrive, this charming spot offers plenty of fun activities to enjoy.

The Bow Valley town is full of festivals and year-round fun. With places to check out, such as ice castles, snow sculptures and other icy creations — you'll feel like you've stepped into a fantasy land of ice and snow.

Throughout the coldest months, you can also satisfy your need for adventure. For example, you can hike to frozen waterfalls, or up mountains to incredible lookout points.

Another top pick is visiting Alberta's largest snow tube park. Here you can race down the hill on slides made out of snow and make your inner child happy as a pig eating slop.

Race Down Slides Made Out of Snow

Prices: $42 (adults 18-64), $36 (youth 13-17 and seniors 65+), $28 (children 4-12)

Address: Mount Norquay's Tube Park, 2 Mount Norquay Rd., Banff, AB

Why You Need To Go: It is Alberta's largest tube and has eight slides where you can race your friends in a childish fashion.

See Massive Snow and Ice Sculptures

Price: Free

When: From January 18 to January 29, 2023

Address: Banff National Pk., AB

Why You Need To Go: Talented ice sculptors will make colossal creations out of snow and ice, and you'll be able to admire the art for free. You'll feel like you've entered a fantasy land as you see the castles made out of ice during the Ice Magic Festival 2023.

Relax at a Hot Spring

Price: $9.25 (adults 18-64), $8.00 (youth 3-17), free (children under 3), $8.00 (seniors 65+), annual passes and group discounts available

Address: 1 Mountain Ave., Banff, AB

Why You Need To Go: Within this hot spring you can enjoy picture-perfect views of the snowy mountains, while relaxing in warm thermal water with your significant other.

Discover Frozen Waterfalls

Price: Free to explore on your own, $89 (adults 13+), $56 (children 8-12) for a guided tour

Address: Banff, AB

Why You Need To Go: You can go on a guided ice walk tour to stretch your legs and gaze at frozen waterfalls and other natural ice sculptures in a canyon. The fee even includes a pick up from most hotels in Banff, a maple cookie snack and a hot chocolate!

Hike to Stunning Lookouts

Price: Free

Address: 137 St Julien Rd., Banff, AB

Why You Need To Go: Within Banff National Park there are winter hiking trails for all levels of hikers to enjoy. At 1,684 meters above sea level, you'll find Tunnel Mountain, a gorgeous "mountain" (more like massive hill) offering you a shorter-than-most hike of 2.3 kilometres both ways, with a slight elevation gain of 266 metres.

Enjoy Skating in a Winter Wonderland

Price: Free

Address: Banff National Pk., AB

Why You Need To Go: You'll be able to enjoy the crisp air and mountain views as you glide across the ice... or watch the scenery as you fall on your butt for the third time in the past hour — no judgement! Plus, according to the Banff and Lake Louise website, "all skating rinks are free unless otherwise noted, and skate rentals are available in both Banff and Lake Louise."

Enjoy Snow-Covered Mountain Views

Price: Free

Address: Moraine Lake, Banff National Pk., AB

Why You Need To Go: While Lake Louise is more well known for its divine beauty, Moraine Lake is just as magnificent with its turquoise glacier water and its mind-blowing mountain views. Plus, it's only 14 kilometres southeast of Lake Louise.

Incredible Skiing and Snowboarding

Price: Up to $156, depending on age and time of year

Address: 1 Sunshine Access Rd., Banff, AB

Why You Need To Go: Banff has three amazing ski resorts where you can enjoy the best views of the Canadian Rockies at a wild speed while coming down stunningly white slopes.

Ride a Gondola to the Top of a Mountain

Price: Varies

Address: 100 Mountain Ave., Banff, AB

Why You Need To Go: You can enjoy a relaxing gondola ride to the Sulphur Mountain summit where you can enjoy amazing lookout points. If you're too eager to see the view before you actually get there, you can even have a look at the beautiful Rocky Mountains perceptible on the mountaintop through this live webcam.

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

These prices are confirmed at the time of publishing, but they can change at any time. Taxes and fees may not be included.

This article has been updated since its original publication on January 9, 2020.

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