Winter Walks & Drives
ICEWALK IN JOHNSTON CANYON
Johnston Canyon traverses a series of steel catwalks that give spectacular views of the Johnston Canyon below. This popular ice walk will lead you past the lower falls and to the breathtaking upper icefalls. Travel through prime wildlife habitat and learn the clues to how Johnston Canyon was formed.
The scenery changes dramatically in the winter as the waterfalls freeze over and large ice formations both rise and fall form the cliffs. Be sure to bring some cleats as this ice walk can be very slippery!
WINTER WALKING TRAILS IN BANFF
There are many relatively flat pathways and trails that are suitable for winter walking in Banff. The Cascade Ponds is an easily accessible area located on Lake Minnewanka Drive just across the highway from the Banff town site. Other options include the Fenland Loop Trail, the Bow River Trail, the Marsh Loop and Sundance Trail. For more details on these trails see our post Easy Walks Around The Town Of Banff.
WINTER DRIVES IN BANFF NATIONAL PARK
Bow Valley Parkway
Also known as Highway 1A, this is an alternate route that runs between Banff and Lake Louise. Unlike the main Trans Canada Hwy it is not fenced which means there is an opportunity to see wildlife along the roadside. Obey the lower speed limit of 60 km/hr.
Vermilion Lakes Road
This road follows along a wetland area of lakes and offers one of the most scenic views of Mount Rundle in the background. Sunrise and sunset are particularly nice times to visit. In the winter, you might spot elk or coyotes. The road starts near the exit off the Trans Canada Highway.
Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive
This scenic drive is usually done as a loop but a portion of it is closed from mid-November to mid-April. You can still drive part of it by heading right (east) after passing the Cascade Ponds. Head to Lake Minnewanka and then return the same way. Keep a look out for Bighorn sheep and elk.
Tunnel Mountain Drive
This drive starts right at the edge of the town of Banff. It offers views of the spray valley and the Bow Falls and an iconic view of the Banff Springs Hotel from Surprise Corner.
Known as one of the world’s most scenic drives, the Icefields Parkway boasts exquisite and otherworldly scenery as you travel along the 230-km stretch between Jasper and Lake Louise. Witness incredible snow peaked mountains, ancient glaciers, ice covered lakes and winter wildlife. Before you venture out on the Parkway this winter, please be prepared and check the road conditions reports. Drive with caution and enjoy the breathtaking beauty that awaits you on your journey through ice and time.