What To Do In Banff In December
Banff sleigh rides in winter

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, skate on a frozen lake or fly down Alberta’s largest tube park. 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 40-minute snowy ride through Banff’s mountain meadows. Groups can enjoy a private family sleigh ride for up to four people or a group sleigh ride for up to nine people and snuggle up under warm blankets. For that special occasion, take a private sleigh ride just for two on a one-horse open sleigh.

Banff winter sleigh rides

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 discount if you mention us. Our favourite spots are Lake Louise and the Fenlands in Banff.

Try ice skating on a frozen lake on the Discover Lake Louise winter tour with Discover Banff Tours in the Canadian Rockies

3. 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! In December guests can choose from an instructor-driven sled on the 1.5 hour Great Divide Dogsledding Tour in Lake Louise, and an instructor-driven or self-driven sled on the 2 hour Powder Hound Express Dogsledding Tour in Spray Lakes, near Canmore.

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

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
5 Hours
Snowshoeing to Marble Canyon
Limited Space

Snowshoeing Tour to Marble Canyon

Your snowshoes crunch on fresh powder as you hike past Marble Canyon's 40-metre deep gorge.   This half-day Banff tour
4 Hours

Private Sleigh Package For Two

Experience the classical romance of Banff's winter wonderland on a magical sleigh ride package for two. Relax and take in
Throughout the day
40 Mins
Banff snowy sleigh ride
Family Fun

Sleigh Rides

Join us on our sleigh ride through the Banff mountain meadows with your family, friends or loved ones for a
Throughout the day
40 Mins
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
4 Hours
Drive your own sled of dogs on a dogsledding adventure at Spray Lakes
Limited Space

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
4 Hours
Canmore dogsledding tour from Banff with transport
Most Popular

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
9:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm
2 Hours
Banff Dogsledding
Most Popular

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
9:30am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm
1.5 Hours

4. Slide down Alberta’s largest tube park

Opening in mid December, Mt Norquay is located 10 minutes from Banff (with a free shuttle bus from downtown Banff) and is home to Alberta’s largest tube park! With eight lanes of high speed fun, jump on the magic carpet with your inflatable snow tube and hold on tight as you slide, spin and speed across the snow.

Mt Norquay Snowtubing
Photo Credit: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism and Paul Zizka Photography

5. Get into the Christmas spirit

Bundle up and get into the holiday mood at the In Search of Christmas Spirit production, a live Christmas story delivered by a sensory extravaganza of light and sound at Cascade Gardens. This free event runs on various evenings throughout the month of December, and requires tickets to be booked in advance. You can also enjoy at live performance of A Christmas Carol at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, as part of the Christmas At The Castle festive activities, and a special Mountaintop Christmas at the Banff Gondola.

Christmas Lights at Cascade Gardens
Photo Credit: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

 6. Stomp through fresh snow

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 half day 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

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What is there to do in Banff in December?

As winter sets in, Banff becomes a winter wonderland in December with Christmas celebrations, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, dogsledding, tubing and more snowy fun.

Is December a good time to visit Banff?

December to March is the most popular time to visit Banff in winter. Ski season is in full force, with plenty of other snowy activities including dogsledding, snowshoeing, tubing and more.

Is Banff worth visiting in winter?

Banff is transformed into a winter wonderland with spectacular snowy scenery and plenty of fun-filled activities including sightseeing flights, dogsledding, snowmobiling, sleigh rides and more.

Where can you ice skate in Banff?

As winter sets in the lakes freeze and some are set up as outdoor ice skating rinks from mid December. Our favourites are Lake Louise and the Fenlands Center in Banff.

Where can I snowshoe in Banff?

There’s lots of snowshoeing trails in Banff National Park, please check trail conditions with Parks Canada or join a small-group snowshoeing tour from Banff.

What is there to do in Banff at Christmas?

Get into the festive spirit in Banff with Christmas celebrations including theatre performances, carol singers, horse-drawn sleigh rides and decorations throughout the town.