We know that travel can be difficult to plan, so we thought we’d put together an itinerary of the 9 best places to visit in Alberta in winter that you can do too!
Travel to Alberta in winter is a wonderful experience. The air is crisp and clear, the sky is blue, and the sun in shining.
Sure, temperatures dip below freezing, but that gives you an excuse to cuddle up by the fire with your sweetie and enjoy a romantic night in after a great winter adventure.
For a little inspiration, we’ve put together the perfect Alberta winter vacation itinerary for you to explore and experience the best of the Rocky Mountains, enjoy!
Best Places to visit in Alberta in Winter
Table of Contents
From Banff to Canmore, Lake Louise to Sunshine, we’ve got you covered for everything winter in Alberta.
We saw nearly everything and had the perfect blend of taking part in epic adventures, enjoying relaxing days, and of course, fitting in some romance too.
We had the chance to do some amazing winter activities in Alberta over the holidays and we want to share them with you.
Banff National Park is filled with incredible winter adventures.
From trekking to the backcountry, cross country skiing, enjoying the downtown vibe of Banff Village or doing so many of the activities listed below.
It’s your one stop winter vacation destination. See our full list at the 10 Most Unforgettable Things to do in Banff
Where to Stay in Banff
Need a place to Stay in Banff and Lake Louise? Check out our round-up of the best Hotels in Banff.
2. Banff Hot Springs
Rent yourself an old fashioned turn of the century swimsuit and hop into the uber-hot Banff Hot Springs.
When you are finished head over to Cave and Basin just a little lower.
3. Cave and Basin
Home to the original hot springs in Banff, it’s Canada’s Oldest National Park and the third oldest National park in the entire world!
There is a very cool cave to walk through to look at the original entrance that was discovered in 1885.
4. Johnston Canyon Ice Walk
For beautiful winter scenery and an enjoyable day outdoors, visit the Johnston Canyon Ice Walk. The Johnston Canyon Ice Walk takes you on a journey through a deep limestone canyon on a steel catwalk anchored to the walls.
This two and a half-mile walk takes you through six different frozen waterfalls and a deep pool of swirling water that is reached by walking through a stone arch.
The upper canyon waterfall is a must so make sure you go to the end of the line to see it all.
5. Visit the Wolf Dogs
Imagine sitting outside with a pack of Wolfdogs.
The Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary is a rescue centre for abandoned or neglected Wolfdogs near Canmore, Alberta, and it is working hard to promote responsible wolfdog ownership and preserving wild wolves in their natural environment.
It’s an incredible experience and was probably one of the most magical moments we had during all our time in Alberta. This is an activity not to be missed.
Skijoring is a fun winter sport invented in Norway where cross country skiers are pulled along by a horse, tractor or even snowmobile.
Over time it’s been modified to where skiers can be pulled along by just about anything and during our time in Alberta, we were pulled by sled dogs.
About a half-hour outside of Canmore, we met with Mad Dog and Englishmen at a very frozen Spray Lake for a rip-roaring time being pulled through the snow by very energetic dogs.
Read more at Ski Joring
7. Snowshoeing in Canmore
Canmore is an active outdoorsy town where locals spend 365 days a year having an adventure.
Snowshoeing in Canmore in the winter keeps you away from the crowds and offers outstanding views of the Rocky Mountains.
8. Ice Climbing
Don’t miss trying out ice climbing in Alberta if you visit in the winter. Who wouldn’t want to scale a frozen waterfall?
It’s the coolest winter activity you can ever do.
Ice Climbing is one of those things that gives you bragging rights the minute you try it. It doesn’t matter how good you are, just having the guts to get out there and give it a go is all you need! Read more at Ice Climbing
9. Deer Lodge
Just fifteen minutes from Lake Louise Ski Hill and just a short walk to Lake Louise and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, this is an excellent spot to base yourself during your Alberta Adventure.
There’s fine dining, a rooftop hot tub, an outdoor ice bar and plenty of space in this rustic yet elegant location.
Staying at Deer Lodge is an adventure unto itself.
10. Ski Lake Louise
With 4200 skiable areas in one of the largest ski destinations in North America, this is not to be missed. There are trails for all levels of Skiing and Snowboarding.
Experts can explore everything from endless chutes and remote bowls to chutes and gulleys in some of the Rockies’ most challenging terrain but beginners can feel confident that there is a green run down from every chair lift.
Lake Louise is on the World Cup Circuit with a Terrain Park and a Snowcross Course.
It’s Epic. Check out more on Snow Boarding Lake Louise
11. Skate on Lake Louise
There is nothing more Canadian than strapping on a pair of skates and hitting the ice. The Fairmont rents skates for everyone, and anyone can skate on the frozen lake.
They even clean it off every day with a zamboni and there’s an ice castle too!
12. Take a Sleigh Ride
The Fairmont offers daily sleigh rides leaving from the front of the chateau and it takes you up the trail to the mouth of the glacier.
As you ride along the trail with a blanket on your legs cozied up to the one you love, you feel as if you are in a movie as you take in the extraordinary view.
13. Ski Sunshine
We loved our time at Sunshine. It’s the only place in Alberta with a proper ski in ski out resort.
Staying on the hill, made for a wonderful romantic getaway where we could enjoy the huge outdoor hot tub, the fireplace, and world-class skiing.
14. Dogsled Over the Continental Divide
Taking a dogsled tour to the great divide is one of the coolest experiences ever.
This track goes through the Rocky Mountains and we cross into Alberta!
Book your tour with KingMik Dogsledding and let your guide take you to the pinnacle of the Rocky Mountain Range where the East meets West.
15. Pond Hockey on Lake Louise
Lake Louise is world famous for its beautiful emerald waters in the summer. But when the temperatures dip, the lake freezes and you can skate on Lake Louise beneath Victoria Glacier.
You can rent skates from Wilson Mountain Sports located in Sampson Mall on Village Road in Lake Louise and join a game of pick up.
The Banff Lake Louise Fairmont rents skates as well.
16. Heli Hike and Snowshoe
One of the most beautiful helicopter tours we ever took in our lives was over the Rocky Mountains in Winter.
This helicopter tour takes you into Banff National Park to see all of its iconic peaks before landing high on a mountain where you go snowshoeing to overlook the Rockies. The scenery is breathtaking.
Book your tours with Rockies Heli Canada for one of their Banff Helicopter Tours on a crisp and clear winter’s morning.
Nothing says winter more than cozying up by a fire and eating melted cheese and chocolate as you sip rich red wine.
When you are in Banff in Winter, be sure to order a fondue for two!
18. Winter Photography Tour
Banff is one of the most photogenic places on earth, and the best way to really capture pictures to take home with you is on a winter photo safari.
Rocky Mountain Adventures picked us up at sunrise where we joined other photographers at Banff’s most scenic lake for photography.
We then went on to other iconic photo stops in Banff to capture print worthy frames that are now hanging on the walls of our house!
If you aren’t up for snowboarding or skiing, head out to Norquay Ski Resort for some snowtubing.
It’s the ulitmate couch potato thrill ride!
20. Backcountry Lodge
Cross country skiing is one of the top things to do in Winter in Alberta but why not take it a step further and book a tour to a backcountry ski lodge.
The only way to get into a lot of them in the Rocky Mountains is to snowshoe or ski in.
Now that is the ultimate off the grid getaway.
Alberta Contacts and Information
- For Romantic Accommodation in Lake Louise visit Deer Lodge
- For Sleigh Ride and skating on Lake Louise, visit the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Website
- Book your visit to see the Wolfdogs The Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary
- Find out more info on skiing at Ski Louise
- For Skijoring check out Mad Dog and Englishmen Sleddogging
- For Ice Climbing check out Yamnuska Mountain Adventures