There are so many things to do in Banff that don’t involve gliding down a mountain! Maybe you’re craving an epic Banff experience minus the skiing and snowboarding? We have you covered! Luckily for you, there is so much more to do in Banff than hitting the slopes. Here’s a bit of inspiration to plan your next adventure.
1. Skate on Lake Louise
You’re bundled up head to toe and ready for what will probably be your most epic skating experience! Lake Louise is known for it’s gorgeous crystal blue alpine waters in the summer, but in the winter it becomes a magical wonderland. Skate along the frozen lake and take in those crisp mountain views surrounding you at every angle.
2. Soak it up at the Banff Upper Hot Springs
Watch the snow tumble down while sitting in Banff’s mineral-rich hot springs. Let the healing powers of these waters do their work! That’s not the only thing that will be washing all over you. Gaze up at the snow-capped mountains by day or do some stargazing by night. One thing’s for sure: you will be completely rejuvenated for the next day’s adventures.
3. Walk the ancient icefields
Spend the day walking over ancient glaciers! Formed about 240,000 years ago, the Columbia Icefield is the largest in the Canadian Rockies. About a 2.5-hour journey from Banff, the trip is well worth it. Besides stepping back in time, you can experience other attractions on-site including an epic glass-bottomed Skywalk! Make sure to dress warm (you’re walking on glaciers after all) and pack that camera!
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4. Snowshoe at Johnson Lake
Immerse yourself in the beauty of Banff National Park in the wintertime. Strap on those snowshoes and explore Johnson Lake – a fairly easy 2.8 km loop perfect for a quick afternoon adventure. Access this beauty from the Lake Minnewanka exit on the TransCanada Highway.
5. Take in the views at Sulphur Mountain
Overlooking the charming town of Banff, Sulphur Mountain is best experienced from above. Enjoy the journey up by riding the iconic Banff Gondola. The views will leave you speechless! Once you’ve reached the summit, explore the gorgeous snow-covered trails and breathe in the fresh alpine air. If you have time to explore more of Sulphur Mountain, consider visiting Cave and Basin National Historic Site – a natural thermal spring cave.
6. Explore downtown Banff
Sometimes the best adventures are those where you’re aimlessly exploring a new town on foot. Downtown Banff is an iconic spot perfect for just that. Window shop, have some great food and find cozy spots for a drink. If you’re looking for something a little more nature-based, check our Bow Falls – a scenic waterfall close to the heart of downtown Banff.
7. Take an ice walk at Johnston Canyon
Johnston Canyon’s Upper Falls freeze from December to April, making it the perfect adventure for ice climbing in Banff. If you prefer an ice walk you can do that too. Just make sure you have the proper equipment for a safe and enjoyable winter experience. There are operators in the area for guided tours, or you can join Contiki’s Banff trip and we’ll sort out the details for you! Whichever way you decide to do it, you won’t be disappointed. Johnston Canyon in the wintertime is a prime example of how dramatically beautiful Banff is.
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8. Have a meal at the historic Banff Springs Hotel
Castles are cool. And the historic Banff Springs Hotel (now owned by Fairmont) is an iconic castle-like experience like no other! This charming property is over 100 years old and is nestled at the base of Rundle Mountain. Just a few minutes away from downtown Banff makes it the perfect base for all your activities. If you can’t stay here, lunch might be a good alternative. Dine on Banff’s best patio, the Lookout Patio, for the very best views and scenery.
There you have it! Just a teaser of the things you can do in Banff even if you don’t ski. Ready to book? Contiki’s Ski Banff doesn’t include ski passes – so you can customize your next Banff adventure your way.