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 40-minute snowy ride through Banff’s mountain meadows while snuggled under warm wool blankets. For that special occasion, take a private sleigh ride just for two on a one-horse open sleigh complete with a delicious alcoholic beverage, chocolates and an authentic buffalo robe!

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.

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

3. See an ice hockey game

Is there a more Canadian experience that seeing a live ice hockey game? Catch a local game of the Canmore Eagles (an Alberta Junior Hockey League Team) or see the Calgary Flames live in action on a tour from Banff to the Calgary Saddledome.

Ice Hockey at the Calgary Saddledome 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
5 Hours
Great Divide Dogsled Tour in Lake Louise, Alberta
Limited Space

Lake Louise + Dogsledding

Combo Package; spend a day ice skating, snowshoeing and exploring Lake Louise's winter wonderland, with an iconic dogsledding experience. Included:
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.   This half-day Banff tour
4 Hours
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
7 Hours

Ice Hockey - Calgary Flames

Listen to the roar of the crowd, watch the hockey players glide swiftly across the ice and cheer loudly for
Varies, approx 3 hours before the game
8 Hours

Private Sleigh Ride

Experience the classical romance of Banff's winter wonderland on a magical sleigh ride package for two complete with chocolates and
Throughout the day
40 Mins
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
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

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
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
9:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm
2 Hours
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
9:30am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm
1.5 Hours

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. The ‘Castle in the Rockies’ also celebrates the festive season with the Christmas at the Castle – this majestic hotel will be decorated from top to bottom with loads of events and activities taking place daily. There’s also free Carols in the Park throughout December to get you in the holiday mood.

Celebrate Christmas at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Photo Credit: Hubert Kang

 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 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

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