What To Do In Banff In December
Ice Skating on Lake Louise

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!

Banff Trail Riders Public Sleigh Ride
Photo Credit: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography

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.

Ice skate at Lake Louise on a full-day tour with Discover Banff Tours
Photo Credit: Travel Alberta

3. See a Show at Banff Centre

After a day of exploring, enjoy a concert or event at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. This world-class venue is a hidden gem in Banff and offers programming throughout the year for the whole family. Discover Banff Tours is offering $5 off select shows using promo code DBT, such as a special holiday family music performance from Sharon and Bram.

The Banff Centre

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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!

Drive your own sled of dogs on a dogsledding adventure at Spray Lakes
Photo Credit: Travel Alberta / Mike Seehagel

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.

Did you know that The Spirit of Christmas store is open year round? On select days this month, you can drop by and get your photo taken with Santa!

See the CP Holiday Train at Christmas in December in Banff
Photo Credit: Canadian Pacific

 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.

Banff Snowshoeing Race with Discover Banff Tours

The best Banff activities in December

Private Snowshoeing Tours

Looking for a new way to snowshoe with just your friends or family? Book a private snowshoeing tour of Marble
Nov-Apr
5 Hours
Year Round
Throughout the day
Great Divide Dogsled Tour in Lake Louise, Alberta
Limited Space

Lake Louise Tour + Dogsledding

Discover Lake Louise Tour + 1.5hr Great Divide Dogsledding Tour Prices are based on two adults per sled. High season
Dec-Apr
All Ages
Snowshoeing to Marble Canyon
Most Popular

Snowshoeing Tour to Marble Canyon

Your snowshoes crunch on fresh powder as you hike past Marble Canyon's 40-metre deep gorge. Additional tours are running daily
Dec-Apr
8:30am
Ice skate on Lake Louise on the winter Discover Lake Louise Tour with Discover Banff Tours
Most Popular

Discover Lake Louise

A vast frozen lake surrounded by sparkling snow and an amphitheatre of snow-dusted mountain peaks - Lake Louise is postcard-perfect
Dec-Apr
10:15am

Private Sleigh Ride

Experience the classical romance of Banff's winter wonderland on a magical sleigh ride package for two complete with chocolates and
Dec-Mar
Throughout the day
Banff Trail Riders Public Sleigh Ride
Family Fun

Sleigh Rides

Join us on a sleigh ride through the Banff mountain meadows with your family, friends or loved ones for a
Dec-Mar
Throughout the day
Banff Snowshoeing Race with Discover Banff Tours
Family Fun

Snowshoeing Tour to Paint Pots

First time snowshoeing? This easy 3-kilometre trail through Kootenay National Park to see the historical Paint Pots is the perfect
Nov-Apr
1:30pm

Dogsledding - Flight of the Great Snowy Owl 2.5 Hrs

A helicopter sightseeing flight and dogsledding tour all in one awesome package in Canmore! This tour is not available to
Dec-Apr
9:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm

Dogsledding - Sunfeather Winterlude 4 Hrs

A longer tour with the option to drive your own dog sled in picturesque Spray Lakes, Canmore. Glide through entwined
Dec-Apr
11:00am
Snowy Owl Tours Dogsled Tour
Limited Space

Dogsledding - Powder Hound 2 Hrs

This is the best value for money dogsledding tour that guarantees you a hands-on experience to drive your own sled
Nov-Apr
9:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm
Banff Dogsledding
Limited Space

Dogsledding - Great Divide 1.5 Hrs

The most popular dogsledding tour at Lake Louise takes you along the base of giant peaks in Banff National Park
Dec-Apr
9:30am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm