Winter in Banff National Park
Whether you are here for a family adventure or a relaxing getaway, there is no better way to experience Banff’s pristine mountain landscape than to get out there in the snow. Lace up your boots, wax up your skis, strap on a pair of snowshoes or hop on a fat bike and enjoy one of many winter trails.
In 2018, we are celebrating families with free admission to all Parks Canada’s places for youth 17 and under. In celebration of diversity, Parks Canada will also continue to offer free admission for new Canadians through the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s Cultural Access Pass Program. Learn more and purchase your Parks Canada Discovery Pass here, download the new Parks Canada mobile app, and follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) to start planning your next Parks Canada experience.
Banff National Park is a winter wonderland full of great activities for the whole family! If you're planning a trip, it's important to plan ahead and ensure you are prepared for the winter conditions and potential hazards that could impact your visit.
Take advantage of trip planning tools like BanffNOW to help plan your Banff National Park experience with ease! Get the information you need to enjoy your winter national park adventure.
Ask for advice at a Parks Canada Visitor Centre for help with trip planning. Visitor Centres offer maps, brochures, permits, backcountry reservations, up-to-date park information, weather, trail, avalanche and road reports, interpretive exhibits and events. Banff Lake Louise Tourism has an office in the Banff Visitor Centre and in the Lake Louise Visitor Centre.
Trip planning references
Safety is your responsibility. There are always hazards associated with outdoor recreational activities. Even short trips from the Town of Banff can have serious consequences.
Avalanche season is here: Know before you go, don`t take risk! Be aware that thousands of avalanches occur throughout Banff National Park every year. Visitors wishing to venture beyond the limits of the trails described in this guide should assume that they are travelling in avalanche terrain and should be prepared with the appropriate knowledge, skills and equipment. For more information on the avalanche hazard, visit parksmountainsafety.ca or a Parks Canada Visitor Centre. Look for the Avalanche Terrain Ratings brochure and the current Avalanche Forecast.
Banff Legacy Trail: A winter warning of the Banff Legacy Trail is in effect. Use of the trail is not recommended as it is not maintained in the winter. Hazards may include snow plow debris, closed gates, icy sections and deep snow.
Ice Safety: Ice thickness of at least 6" is recommended for safety; the thicker the ice, the better. It`s up to YOU to assess the thickness of the ice. Please visit this page for more information on ice safety.
Although bears hibernate during winter, they can awaken at any time for short periods. Cougars, wolves and other wildlife remain active throughout the year. If you see wildlife, do not approach; give them lots of space and observe from a distance with binoculars or a telephoto lens. If tracks are observed, do not follow them towards the animal.
Be alert, make noise and carry bear spray.
While dangerous interactions with humans are rare, please visit parkscanada.gc.ca/banff-wildlife to learn more about keeping yourself safe.
Winter activities in Banff National Park
Visiting Banff National Park is an amazing experience at any time of year. While some shiver and scoff at the idea of winter, visitors to Banff National Park know that this is the time of year you don’t want to miss! If there’s snow on the ground, there outdoor fun to be had. Regardless of your activity of choice, the winter adventure opportunities in Banff National Park are endless.