Banff’s Best Winter Activities for Families
Ice Skating on Lake Louise

Let’s take a deep snowy dive into which are Banff’s best family activities in winter, and why.

There is no better way to peel kids away from technology than to place them in adventure at a young age. Banff National Park is perhaps the best place to introduce young explorers to what awaits past a screen.

The best family activities in Banff are often the most immersive and rewarding, and you’ll find them with us. They go at a slower pace and allow time for questions and curiosity.

1. Horse around on a snowy sleigh ride (All Ages)

Banff Trail Riders Public Sleigh RideWarm, cozy, and snuggly under thick blankets. Sleigh rides are the perfect way to see Banff’s mountainous landscape while getting a local cowboy’s take on living and riding in the area year-round.

Gliding through the grasslands near the Bow River, our guests enjoy panoramic views of Banff’s most famous mountains before stopping off for hot chocolate and marshmallow roasting over the open fire. These 40-minute tours are a great first activity to try in Banff to familiarize yourself with the mountains and our climate. Perfect for all ages, and kids 3 and under are free!

2. Discover Banff’s beauty and wildlife on a sightseeing tour (All Ages)

Winter family sightseeing in Banff
Photo Credit: Devaan Ingraham / Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

Banff National Park is a wild place – it’s a protected natural environment that has a unique history with humans and wildlife living cohesively together. Our guides will not only tell you the history of how we have gotten to such a sustainable place, but they’ll show you landmarks, historical points of reference, and if you’re lucky – wildlife.

This Banff winter sightseeing tour is a great introduction for the kids to what they have to explore in the area (and free for children 5 and under!).  Often times guests are surprised about what is still left out there and how untouched it is – we pride ourselves on this in Banff and hope to inspire the youngsters and even adults on how we can look after it so visitors and animals can enjoy it for years to come.

3. Visit Lake Louise’s winter wonderland (Ages 8+)

Lake Louise Ice Magic Festival
Photo Credit: Devaan Ingraham / Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

If you were to place yourself inside a snow globe, what would it look and feel like? Well, probably Lake Louise in winter. This magical destination is an experience that leaves many speechless as they’re overwhelmed by sparkling snow, glacier-capped peaks, and an ice castle built on the lake itself. From late January until early March, ice sculptures carved from the Ice Magic Festival greet visitors along the pathway.

The afternoon Lake Louise Tour begins with a scenic drive along Bow Valley Parkway to Lake Louise, where we’re often lucky enough to spot wildlife. Your guide will assist you in putting on your snowshoes, and we’ll hit the Lake Louise snowshoeing trails through the woods for some forest serenity. We’ll finish on the famous lake itself with views of the mountains surrounding Chateau Lake Louise and enjoy a Canadian maple treat together.

Banff's Best Family Deals

Banff sleigh rides in winter
Family Fun

Public Sleigh Ride + Banff Gondola + Hot Springs

Combo Package; cuddle up on a sleigh ride, soar to the top of Sulphur Mountain, and warm up by taking
All Ages
Hoodoods viewpoint on the winter Discover Banff Tour
Most Popular

Banff + Lake Louise Tours

Combo Package; experience the picture perfect viewpoints of Banff and Lake Louise as they transform into a winter wonderland.  Included:
Try tubing at Alberta's largest tube park at Mt Norquay in the Canadian Rockies
Family Fun

Tubing + Public Sleigh Ride + Hot Springs

Combo Package; slide down snowy slopes at Alberta's largest tube park, cuddle up on a sleigh ride and end the
Hoodoos viewpoint winter photos with Discover Banff Tours
Family Fun

Banff Tour + Nightrise Banff Gondola

Combo Package; tour the must see highlights of Banff, then experience the new 'Nightrise' event after dark at the Banff
All Ages

4. Fly down a snowy hill on an inflatable tube (Ages 4 and Up)

Banff TubingFamilies with kids age 4 and up can enjoy tubing at Mount Norquay by racing each other or going down in groups! The magic carpet takes you back up the hill and the work out of being on a mountain.

5. Stomp around in deep snow on a snowshoeing tour (Ages 8 and Up)

Take a crazy carpet slide on the Snowshoeing Tour to the Paint Pots with Discover Banff Tours to the Canadian Rockies

Kids age 8 and up can stomp around deep powder of this winter wonderland in the Canadian Rockies. With no experience necessary, this winter activity is a great way to explore trails in Kootenay National Park. The kids will especially love how easy and care-free they can be in the deep snow, jumping and rolling in it.

A highlight of this trip is the maple taffy we make in the snow – a Canadian treat! Our Banff Snowshoeing Tours run daily and kids love the Paint Pots tour with its crazy carpet slide – our version of tobogganing!

6. Explore icy canyons and frozen waterfalls on a guided icewalk (Ages 8 and Up)

Winter Family Icewalk at Johnston Canyon with Discover Banff Tours
Photo Credit: Devaan Ingraham / Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

For kids 8 and older, our half-day Banff icewalks are a unique experience to the Rocky Mountains with both human and geological history. We also offer private icewalk tours for families with younger kids so everyone can go at their own pace. Each tour comes with the interpretation and knowledge of your Discover Banff Tours’ guide – and our legendary maple cookies and hot chocolate to keep you warm!

The Johnston Canyon Icewalk tours offer an experience that will captivate all senses as you explore frozen waterfalls via a suspended walkway, bridges, and a cave. Ice crystals sparkle from the sun’s rays with ice buildup along the entire canyon. With this experience, it’s easy to see the spring-blue water between ice gaps and behind the falls.

Our Banff Evening Icewalk has the added element of exploring the canyon’s lower falls via starlight, moonlight, and your headlamp. This truly unique experience offers a different perspective of exploring the mountains with no one else on the trail. You’ll be amazed at how much more focused you’ll be and how much more you’ll notice with only the beam of light from your headlamp.

The Grotto Canyon Icewalk is the only icewalk that allows our guests to walk on the frozen creek itself – this tour ventures keep into the canyon on the creek bringing our guests face-to-face with frozen waterfalls and 500 to 1,300 year old pictographs from the First Nations.

Which Banff activities will your family join us on this winter?

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