What To Do in Banff in January
See snow sculptures during the SnowDays Festival in Banff

Looking for the best things to see and do in Banff in January?

Winter is in full-force with our welcomed snowfalls, cold temperatures, and the entire National Park is transformed into a quintessential Canadian winter wonderland. Nature vs sculpture – true winter adventure sparkles in January’s ice creations formations. Choose between the natural billowing frozen waterfalls on our Banff Icewalk or world-class ice sculptures at the Ice Magic Festival, viewable on our Discover Lake Louise Tour. No matter what adventure you choose, you’ll be happy you ventured outside.

1. See incredible ice and snow sculptures

Set over two weeks in late January, the annual Ice Magic Festival at Lake Louise is a world-class ice carving event where you can watch competitors from all over the world sculpt works of art from 300lb blocks of solid ice. Need transport during this popular event? The daily full-day Discover Lake Louise Tour from Banff gives you four hours of free time at Lake Louise to enjoy ice skating, snowshoeing, sleigh rides and more! Happening at the same time of year in Banff, don’t miss the massive snow sculptures in downtown Banff at the annual SnowDays festival.

See ice sculptures at Lake Louise during the Ice Magic Festival

2. See frozen falls on a winter hike

As temperatures cool, waterfalls turn into glittering pillars of ice. Our most popular winter hike takes visitors to Johnston Canyon, where you can take a guided icewalk all the way to the upper falls during the day, or by the light of your headlamp to the lower falls in the night. Looking for a truly authentic winter hike? Our favourite Banff Icewalk is the Grotto Canyon Icewalk, where you’ll walk through the canyon on a frozen creek bed (wearing ice cleats to keep you steady) and discover ancient pictographs and glittering frozen falls. Plus there’s delicious hot chocolate to keep you warm!

See magnificent frozen falls on the Grotto Canyon Icewalk Tour with Discover Banff Tours in the Canadian Rockies

3. Stargaze on a mountain summit

The Banff Gondola at Sulphur Mountain is Banff’s most popular attraction, but did you know that in winter you can stargaze at 7,500 feet? On Friday and Saturday evenings enjoy an exploration of the galaxies with ultra-modern telescopes, captivating exhibits and guidance from the interpreters as you learn, discover and be amazed by the night sky.

Banff Gondola View from the Lookout in Winter
Photo Credit: Banff Jasper Collection by Pursuit

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4. Take a day ski trip

Skiing is one of the biggest reasons that people visit Banff National Park in the winter, and there’s several world-class ski resorts just a short drive or shuttle bus from downtown Banff. And if you’re new to skiing or looking to improve, we can help you with lessons with the friendly instructors at Mt Norquay, Banff’s closest ski hill.

Looking to escape the crowds or simply ski somewhere new? Choose from two great day ski trips from Banff that include a full day of skiing in BC and return transport for the same price as a lift ticket alone. The daily Kicking Horse Powder Express takes you to one of the most thrilling ski resorts in North America, while the weekly shuttle to Panorama Mountain Resort is perfect for families or groups with a range of experience levels. Or for those seeking an exhilarating backcountry ski experience, the closest heli-skiing to Banff is in the majestic Purcell mountain range.

Skiing at Panorama Mountain Resort in Panorama, British Columbia

5. Snowmobiling Tours

Is there a greater thrill than zooming through fresh snow on a powerful 600cc snowmobile? Follow your friendly guide along scenic trails with panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies, stopping for a delicious alpine bbq lunch.

Choose from two full-day snowmobiling tours both with transport from Banff – no experience needed!

Take the whole family on a full day snowmobiling tour in the Canadian Rockies
Photo Credit: Toby Creek Adventures

6. Spend a Day at Mt Norquay

Mt Norquay is Banff’s closest ski hill and with tubing, sightseeing, snowshoeing, skiing and more there’s something for everyone! Spend your morning exploring your choice of their 60 runs, before taking the sightseeing chairlift up to the viewing deck at 7,000′ overlooking the town of Banff. Then, grab an inflatable tube and experience Alberta’s largest tubing park for yourself as you fly down a snow covered hill. Did we mention that there’s the option to enjoy a local craft beer or a glass of wine at 6,900′ at the charming Cliffhouse Bistro once visited by Marilyn Munroe?

Winter dining at the Cliffhouse Bistro at Mt Norquay
Photo Credit: Travel Alberta / Mike Seehagel

The best Banff activities in January

Photo Credit: Travel Alberta / Mike Seehagel

Banff Sightseeing Winter Chairlift

Visit Mt Norquay for a day of sightseeing and dining as you take an open-air chairlift ride up to 7,000
Dec-Apr
10am – 3:30pm

Private Icewalk Tours

Looking for a new way to tour with your friends or family? Book a private icewalk tour of majestic Johnston
Nov-Apr
5 Hours
Skiing at Panorama Mountain Resort in Panorama, British Columbia
Family Fun

Panorama Ski Shuttle

Take the weekly ski shuttle to Panorama Mountain Resort in BC, with nearly 3,000 acres of terrain across 4,000 vertical
Jan-Mar
6:40am
Banff Tubing at Mt Norquay

Banff Mt Norquay - Tubing

It’s time for a downhill thrill of a different kind! Jump on an inflatable snow tube and hold on tight
Dec-Apr
10:00am – 4:00pm
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
Banff Sightseeing Gondola
Most Popular

Banff Sightseeing Gondola

Soar to the summit of Sulphur Mountain in a modern gondola cabin for breathtaking 360 degree views, 5 minutes from
Year Round
Throughout the day

Paradise Basin Snowmobiling

A full-day guided snowmobiling tour in Panorama, BC, up to Paradise Basin at 8,000 feet through the forest with spectacular
Dec-Apr
10:00am

Golden Snowmobiling

Experience the excitement of driving a snowmobile up to 7,000 feet through the majestic Rocky Mountains in Golden, BC on
Nov-Mar
10:00am
Explore the icy beauty of Grotto Canyon on a guided icewalk tour

Grotto Canyon Icewalk

Explore the icy beauty of Grotto Canyon and see ancient native pictographs using special hiking crampons to grip the smooth
Dec-Apr
8:30am
Banff Evening Icewalks at Night with Discover Banff Tours

Johnston Canyon Evening Icewalk®

Your headlamp makes the frozen waterfalls of Johnston Canyon shimmer as you hike along the suspended catwalks in quiet darkness
Dec-Apr
6:30pm, 7:30pm
Johnston Canyon Icewalk with Discover Banff Tours
Most Popular

Johnston Canyon Icewalk®

Water cascades into this narrow canyon in the heat of summer, but in the winter the thundering falls freeze solid
Nov-Apr
8:30am, 1:30pm

Heli Skiing

Spend a day on an exhilarating backcountry ski experience in the majestic Purcell Mountain Ranges, located just outside Banff National
Dec 21-Jan 16, Jan 17-Mar 31, Apr 1-Apr 10
8:30am
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort Powder Express Shuttle from Banff
Most Popular

Kicking Horse Powder Express

The Powder Express takes you straight from your hotel in Banff to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, one of the most
Dec-Apr
6:40am