Winter is great time to visit Banff, being an off-season it is less crowded. The road to the famous Moraine lake is closed, but there is a lot of other things to do in Banff in winters, like playing hockey or skating on a frozen lake.
We started our day at the Natural Bridge, which technically is not a Yoho National Park (the part in BC is Yoho National Park and the part in Alberta is Banff National Park) as we were driving from Golden, BC. The bridge has views of frozen waterfalls, and a great spot to start cross-country skiing. While we didn’t have ski equipment with us, we saw a lot of people going on the cross-country ski trail from here.
Emerald lake is a popular spot for Banff’s green water in summer. In winters the lake freezes and becomes a spot for skiing and walking
While kayaking is no longer an option in the winters, the Fairmont hotel located next to the lake has ice skates rental and the lake becomes a popular spot for hockey and skating, with lots of families going out for a walk on the frozen lake.
The lake is pretty busy and crowded even in winters. This is where I tried ice skating for the first time.
Banff in winter is popular for hot springs. If there’s one thing to do in Banff, it has to be taking a dip in one of the natural hot springs.
The hot springs are owned and operated by Parks Canada, and thus are very well maintained and super affordable.
There are 3 hot springs close by, all operated by Parks Canada.
- Banff Upper Hot Springs (Banff National Park)
- Radium Hot Springs (Kootenay National Park)
- Miette Hot Springs (Jasper National Park)
These are a great way to relax after being out in the snow the entire day. They have towels and swimming clothes for rental, or you can bring your own. Definitely plan to spend at least a couple hours here if you are visiting Banff or nearby parks in the winters.