There’s so much to explore in Banff National Park – from the highest peaks, the excitement in town, or the lower lakes and valleys. With the flexibility of rest days on our multi-day lift tickets, you can get in so many great activities on your ‘off days’ from skiing.
A local favourite? Skating any of the lakes that are just a short travel from the town of Banff and the village of Lake Louise. Skating on mountain lakes can happen any time during the winter, with best conditions typically happening in November or early December. Once the snow falls on the lakes, you may need to bring your shovel to clear yourself a rink. Ice-conditions are always variable – so make sure to check conditions with Parks Canada, look for signage, and be aware of conditions before heading out on any frozen ice.
1. Two Jack Lake
A little extra effort to get to Two Jack will pay off instantly. Enjoy a flipped-view of the classic Rundle shot for an insta-souvenir – if you’re lucky, you can see the view flipped again in the lake’s reflection itself. This is a go-to spot for picnics and paddleboards in the summer, and it’s just as inviting once the water freezes over.
2. Lake Minnewanka
Not for the faint of heart. Lake Minnewanka is up to 140m deep (there’s an entire town down there!) so be sure to check the ice thickness first. Being 21km long, you’ll have your own slice of (parad)ice to enjoy. Get in some good cardio to skate all the way to the ‘Devil’s Gap’ at the end, where the last of the mountains flatten out and eventually roll into the prairies.
3. Vermillion Lakes
A quick and easy spot just a short journey from Banff. Enjoy the scenic stroll from foot, or rent a fat bike to take you even further down Vermillion Lakes road. With three docks to choose from, there’s ample wiggle room to enjoy the experience.
4. Johnson Lake
This short detour off the Lake Minnewanka Road loop will take you to an ice skating paradise. A popular hangout spot for locals and visitors alike in the summer, this stretch of ice is just as nice when the cold weather hits. Enjoy mountain views from all angles, including Cascade Mountain and the North face of the Rundle Range as seen from the Trans-Canada highway.
5. Lake Louise
It wouldn’t be as skating round-up without mentioning Lake Louise herself. Gliding across the massive expanse of ice with Victoria Glacier keeping guard is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A nearby fire pit is the perfect pit stop to warm up the toes and take a hot chocolate break. Visiting in January? Skate and wander amongst beautiful ice sculptures during the Ice Magic Festival.
Where to rent
Banff Adventures can sort you out with all the rentals you need, from skates to snowshoes to ice cleats and hockey sticks. If staying in Lake Louise, Wilson Mountain Sports is a go-to for all the outdoor bells and whistles.
Want to experience Banff National Park whether clipped into skis or laced into skates? Purchase your SkiBig3 Lift Tickets or book your SkiBig3 vacation today! Our in-Banff Reservations Team is ready to assist in tailoring your ideal winter trip, call us at 1-844-754-2443 or plan your vacation online.