Looking for the best things to see and do in Banff in December?
A white Christmas in the mountains is a dream for guests and a reality for locals in Banff. The quintessential Christmas destination comes alive with ice rinks, carolers, lights, and sleigh rides. Take a snowy sleigh ride from Banff’s Warner Stables, or jump on a full-day tour and spend the day enjoying Lake Louise’s winter wonderland. Sitting in a sleigh is romantic, warm, and cozy – and it’s even better behind trained sled dogs. Dogsledding and horse-drawn sleigh rides book up quick so reserve in advance to avoid disappointment!
1. Take a snowy sleigh ride
Is there anything more magical than a winter sleigh ride in the Canadian Rockies? Grab your family, friends and loved ones and take a 45-minute snowy ride through Banff’s mountain meadows. For that special occasion, take a private sleigh ride just for two on a one-horse open sleigh complete with sparkling wine and chocolates!
2. Skate on a frozen lake
As winter sets in the lakes freeze and some are even set up as outdoor ice skating rinks! Timing can vary but typically ice skating season starts in mid December, so grab your skates or rent them in Banff – we recommend Snowtips in town who will give you a 10% discount if you mention us. Our favourite spots are Lake Louise (take our full-day Discover Lake Louise Tour and get four hours of free time to skate and more), the Banff High School grounds and the Waldhaus Rink by the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.
4. Experience the thrill of dogsledding
Have you felt the thrill of mushing your own sled along a snowy trail with the wind in your hair and mountain peaks in every direction? This is the most popular winter activity – and dogsledding tours can book out months in advance so we highly recommend booking ahead!
5. Get into the Christmas spirit
Is it truly Christmas without seeing ‘A Christmas Carol‘? Through the use of puppets, music and not-to-be-missed moments of magic, this show is perfect for families of all ages. and it’s the perfect excuse to visit the elegant Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Another highlight this Christmas is the CP Holiday Train, which brings holiday cheer across Canada each year. Bring a donation of food or cash and enjoy the spectacle with performances from Sam Roberts Band, Kelly Prescott and Tracey Brown.
6. Stomp through fresh snow on snowshoes
Have you run through fresh, deep powdery snow? The Canadian Rockies is the perfect place for snowshoeing, and playing in the snow is an experience like no other. Take a morning or afternoon snowshoeing tour with a friendly local guide who will show you how to walk in our easy-to-use snowshoes, as you explore winding forest trails and open snowy areas of fresh powder.