Banff Ice Walks

In the winters of Banff National Park, sub-zero temperatures turn mighty waterfalls into glittering pillars of ice. Suspended in time, these frozen falls look almost otherworldly.

It’s an experience that’s truly unique to Banff. That’s why we’re proud to operate all three ice walk tours in and around Banff National Park.

The most popular is the narrow gorge of Johnston Canyon. A network of steel catwalks built into the canyon walls means you can walk right along this cathedral of ice. As you do, you’ll get to wander through a natural cave to gaze down at the flowering waters of the lower falls.  Continue onto the awe-inducing upper falls — a glittering tower of ice that rise 30 metres above your head.

Want to add a touch of extra drama to your experience? Head back after dark on our nighttime tour of the Johnston Canyon. Headlamps illuminate the way on the first leg of the trip.

Grotto Canyon gives you a second icewalk option. Our guides will lead you along a frozen creekbed to spots where you can see ancient native pictographs.

Highlights

  • Choose between three unique ice walk tours in and around Banff
  • Walk along steel catwalks through the Johnson Canyon and discover a glittering gorge of spectacular frozen waterfalls
  • Watch for wolves, moose, elk and coyotes while traveling through the Bow Valley Parkway wildlife corridor
  • Discover 500-year old native pictographs and walk across a frozen creek bed on the Grotto Canyon Ice Walk
Johnston Canyon Icewalk

Johnston Canyon Icewalk ®

Water cascades into this narrow canyon in the heat of summer, but in the winter, the thundering falls freeze solid to create natural ice sculptures. Admire these glittering curtains of ice up close as you hike along a steel catwalk built into the rock wall. 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.
per person
Dec-Apr
8:30am, 1:30pm
4 Hours
Banff Icewalk

Johnston Canyon Icewalk ® Evening

Your headlamp makes the frozen waterfalls of Johnston Canyon shimmer as you hike along the catwalk in quiet darkness. At one point, the group turns out their lights and you’re immersed in the peaceful stillness of a winter night. The Johnston Canyon Evening Icewalk is all about heightening your senses, appreciating the darkness, the scents of the fresh pine forest and enjoying the silence of a night spent beneath the stars. Light your way through this narrow, water-formed, canyon as your small group follows our guide to the Canyon's lower falls. The suspended catwalks, built into the limestone walls, make this an easy trip for everyone. Along the way, your guide will highlight unique features by powerful flashlight and pause for moments of darkness and quiet to foster an appreciation for spending time in the canyon at night. At our
per person
Dec-Apr
6:30pm, 7:30pm
2.5 Hours
Grotto Canyon Icewalk

Grotto Canyon Icewalk

Explore the icy beauty of Grotto Canyon using special hiking crampons to grip the smooth frozen creek bed. Your guide will point out the stunted pine forest and hidden ancient native pictographs, which were likely created by Hopi visitors from the Arizona region. Here at Grotto Canyon, our Icewalk hikes the frozen creek bed, through a narrow canyon, past unusual rock formations and spectacular icefalls. You might see ice climbers scaling the frozen waterfalls, but for many the highlight of the Grotto Canyon Icewalk is the ancient native pictographs, that are easily missed by the general public. The symbols have many possible meanings and origins and you will learn more about First Nation history in the Bow Valley.
per person
Dec-Apr
8:30am
4 Hours