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Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Epic 1-Week Banff Itinerary In Winter (And Surroundings)


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Glenn Pinto



Welcome to the breathtaking winter wonderland of Banff, Canada! Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is a picturesque town surrounded by stunning natural beauty. With its towering mountains, frozen lakes, and pristine wilderness, Banff offers a plethora of outdoor activities and adventures to satisfy any winter enthusiast.


This one-week itinerary will guide you through the highlights of Banff and its surrounding areas, ensuring that you make the most of your winter getaway. From exploring Banff National Park to skiing on world-class slopes, from embarking on breathtaking ice walks to experiencing the thrill of dogsledding, this itinerary has it all.


As you navigate through this unforgettable journey, be prepared to witness magnificent snow-covered landscapes, encounter diverse wildlife, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature. Bundle up in warm attire and prepare to embrace the magic of winter in Banff!


Before we dive into the daily activities, it’s important to mention that Banff is a popular destination, especially during the winter months. We recommend booking accommodations and activities well in advance to secure your preferred options. Now, let’s embark on this epic one-week adventure!


Day 1: Arrival in Banff

Welcome to Banff! After arriving at Calgary International Airport, hop on a shuttle or rent a car to make your way to Banff. The drive takes approximately 1.5 hours, offering beautiful scenic views along the way.


Once you arrive in Banff, check into your accommodation and take some time to settle in. Banff offers a range of lodging options, from cozy cabins to luxurious resorts, ensuring there’s something for every traveler.


After getting settled, take a stroll through Banff Avenue, the town’s main street. Lined with souvenir shops, boutiques, and restaurants, Banff Avenue offers a charming ambiance with its mountain backdrop. Grab a hot drink from a local café and indulge in some retail therapy as you explore the shops.


In the evening, treat yourself to a delicious dinner at one of Banff’s renowned restaurants. From classic Canadian cuisine to international flavors, the town boasts a diverse culinary scene that caters to every palate.


After dinner, take some time to relax and unwind. Consider visiting the Upper Hot Springs, where you can soak in the naturally heated mineral-rich waters while gazing at the surrounding snow-capped mountains. It’s the perfect way to end your first day in Banff and prepare for the adventures that lie ahead.


Remember to dress warmly throughout the day, as the temperatures can drop significantly in the winter months. Layer up and don’t forget to pack your winter gear, including a good pair of boots, gloves, hat, and a warm winter jacket.


Tomorrow, get ready to explore the breathtaking beauty of Banff National Park!


Day 2: Exploring Banff National Park

Today, get ready to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Banff National Park. Start your day with a hearty breakfast and head out to explore the pristine wilderness that awaits.


Begin your adventure by driving to Lake Minnewanka, the largest lake in Banff National Park. Take a leisurely walk along the lakeshore trail and marvel at the stunning views of the surrounding mountains reflected in the crystal-clear waters. If weather conditions permit, you can even rent a canoe or kayak to further explore the lake.


Next, make your way to the charming town of Canmore, located just outside of Banff National Park. Enjoy a scenic drive through the mountains, taking in the breathtaking landscapes along the way. Once in Canmore, take a stroll through the downtown area, browse the local shops, and sample some delicious cuisine at one of the many restaurants.


After lunch, head back into the park and visit the iconic Moraine Lake. Known for its vibrant turquoise waters and towering mountains, Moraine Lake is a sight to behold. Take a leisurely walk along the lakeshore trail or hike up to the famous viewpoint for a panoramic view that will leave you in awe.


As the day draws to a close, make your way back to Banff and treat yourself to a well-deserved dinner at one of the town’s cozy restaurants. Reflect on the beauty you’ve experienced throughout the day and get ready for another day of adventure tomorrow.


Remember to be mindful of wildlife while exploring Banff National Park. Bears, elk, and other animals call this park home, so it’s important to keep a safe distance and follow park regulations. Additionally, always carry bear spray and know how to use it in case of an encounter.


Stay tuned for Day 3, where you’ll hit the slopes for some exhilarating skiing and snowboarding at Sunshine Village!


Day 3: Skiing and Snowboarding at Sunshine Village

Get ready for an action-packed day of skiing and snowboarding at Sunshine Village, one of the premier ski resorts in Banff National Park. Start your morning with a delicious breakfast to fuel up for a full day on the slopes.


Catch a shuttle or drive to Sunshine Village, located just a short distance from Banff. As you make your way up the mountain, take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and pristine winter landscapes.


Once you arrive at Sunshine Village, you’ll have access to a variety of ski runs and terrain suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced skiers. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or hitting the slopes for the first time, there are plenty of options to suit your skill level and preferences.


Take advantage of the ski and snowboard rental facilities at the resort if you don’t have your own equipment. The friendly staff will ensure you have everything you need to make the most of your day on the mountain.


Enjoy the thrill of gliding down the freshly groomed slopes, surrounded by stunning mountain scenery. Take breaks to soak in the panoramic views and snap some memorable photos. You can also stop for hot cocoa or a quick bite at one of the mountain lodges, where you can recharge and warm up.


As the day comes to an end, make your way back to Banff and relax your muscles with a soak in one of the local hot springs. The warm waters will help soothe any soreness and provide a perfect ending to an exhilarating day on the slopes.


Remember to follow all safety guidelines and wear proper gear while skiing or snowboarding. It’s important to stay hydrated and take breaks when needed to avoid fatigue. Check the resort’s website for trail conditions and weather updates before heading out.


Get ready for Day 4, where you’ll embark on a magical ice walk in Johnston Canyon!


Day 4: Ice Walk in Johnston Canyon

Prepare for a truly enchanting experience as you embark on an ice walk through the frozen wonderland of Johnston Canyon. After breakfast, layer up in warm clothing, including waterproof boots, and get ready to explore.


Start your day by driving to Johnston Canyon, located just a short drive from Banff. The canyon is transformed into a winter paradise during the colder months, with frozen waterfalls and ice formations that are truly awe-inspiring.


Upon arrival, strap on your ice cleats, which can be rented from various outfitters in Banff, to ensure a secure grip on the icy pathways. Follow the well-marked trail that takes you through the canyon and alongside the frozen creek.


As you make your way deeper into the canyon, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of frozen waterfalls, sparkling ice formations, and towering cliffs adorned with icicles. The sound of the rushing creek beneath your feet adds to the magical ambiance.


Take your time as you explore the canyon, pausing to appreciate the intricate beauty of the ice formations. In some areas, you may even have the opportunity to walk through narrow canyons with shimmering walls of ice on both sides.


If you’re feeling adventurous, consider taking the optional trail to the upper falls. This trail offers a more challenging terrain and rewards you with an up-close view of a magnificent frozen waterfall.


After completing the ice walk, make your way back to Banff and warm up with a hot drink at a cozy café or indulge in a hearty meal at one of the town’s many restaurants.


Reflect on the incredible natural beauty you’ve witnessed throughout the day and take time to relax in preparation for tomorrow’s adventure: discovering the iconic Lake Louise!


Stay tuned for Day 5, where you’ll be captivated by the beauty of Lake Louise and its surrounding winter wonderland.


Day 5: Discovering Lake Louise

Prepare to be mesmerized by the stunning beauty of Lake Louise and its surrounding winter wonderland. After breakfast, make your way to this iconic destination, located just a short drive from Banff.


Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by the magnificent frozen lake, nestled between towering mountains. The sparkling turquoise waters of Lake Louise against the backdrop of snowy peaks create a picture-perfect scene that will take your breath away.


Take a leisurely stroll along the lakeshore, following the well-marked trail. As you walk, marvel at the tranquility of the surroundings and soak in the beauty of the snow-covered landscape. If conditions allow, grab a pair of ice skates and glide across the frozen lake, adding an extra touch of magic to your experience.


For a more adventurous alternative, consider renting snowshoes and exploring the trails that weave through the surrounding forests and hills. This will allow you to get off the beaten path and immerse yourself in the pristine wilderness.


After working up an appetite, head to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, a luxurious hotel overlooking the lake. Indulge in a delicious lunch at one of the hotel’s restaurants while enjoying breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains.


In the afternoon, you can choose to explore the nearby Moraine Lake, known for its vibrant blue waters and stunning mountain landscapes. While access to the lake may be limited in winter, the area offers plenty of opportunities for winter hiking and snowshoeing.


As the day comes to a close, savor the last moments at Lake Louise and capture some photographs to cherish the memories. Return to Banff and treat yourself to a cozy dinner at one of the town’s delightful restaurants.


Get ready for Day 6, where you’ll embark on an exciting dogsledding adventure in Canmore!


Day 6: Dogsledding Adventure in Canmore

Today, get ready for an exhilarating dogsledding adventure in the charming town of Canmore. After breakfast, make your way to the dogsledding outfitter’s location, where you will be greeted by a team of energetic and well-trained sled dogs.


Under the guidance of experienced mushers, learn about the art of dogsledding and the bond between musher and dogs. Take a moment to interact with the friendly sled dogs, getting to know them before the adventure begins.


Once you’re ready, hop onto the sled and let the dogs lead the way through the wintry landscapes. Feel the rush of excitement as the dogs pull you through the snow, while you admire the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests.


As you glide across the pristine trails, embrace the exhilarating sense of freedom and adventure that dogsledding offers. Listen to the sound of the dogs’ paws hitting the snow and the jingle of the harnesses, creating a symphony of movement.


During the dogsledding tour, your musher will share fascinating stories and information about the history of dogsledding and the role of these incredible animals in Canadian culture. You’ll also have opportunities to take breaks and switch positions, allowing each member of your group to experience being both musher and passenger.


After the dogsledding excursion, warm up with a hot beverage and listen to the mushers share their personal experiences and insights into this unique sport. Take some time to say goodbye to the sled dogs and thank them for an unforgettable adventure.


Once back in Banff, treat yourself to a delicious meal at another one of the town’s fabulous restaurants. Reflect on the incredible experience of dogsledding and cherish the memories you’ve created throughout the day.


Get some rest tonight as tomorrow will be a day of relaxation and preparation for your departure from Banff.


Day 7: Relaxation and Departure

On your final day in Banff, take the opportunity to unwind and reflect on the incredible adventures you’ve had during your week-long stay. After breakfast, indulge in some relaxation and self-care to ensure you leave Banff feeling rejuvenated.


Start the day with a visit to one of Banff’s renowned spas, where you can pamper yourself with a massage, facial, or other soothing treatments. Immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance and let the stress melt away.


After your spa session, head to one of the local coffee shops and enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee or tea. Reflect on the memories you’ve made and flip through the photos you’ve taken throughout the week.


If you have some time left before departing, take a leisurely stroll through Banff and explore any missed corners of this charming mountain town. Visit the Banff Park Museum, which offers an interesting glimpse into the history and wildlife of the area, or browse through the various art galleries and boutiques.


Before you leave Banff, stop by one of the local souvenir shops to pick up some mementos of your visit. From handmade crafts to local delicacies, there’s something for everyone to bring back a piece of Banff’s charm.


Finally, bid farewell to Banff and begin your journey back home. As you leave this beautiful destination behind, carry with you the unforgettable memories and the longing to return one day.


Remember to check out of your accommodation on time and arrange for transportation to the airport. Give yourself some extra time to take in the scenic drive one last time as you head back to Calgary International Airport.


As you board your flight, reflect on the incredible experiences you’ve had during your week in Banff. From exploring Banff National Park to skiing on breathtaking slopes, from embarking on ice walks to enjoying the thrill of dogsledding, your journey has been nothing short of amazing. Farewell, Banff, until we meet again!



As your epic one-week adventure in Banff comes to an end, you can’t help but feel a deep sense of gratitude for the unforgettable experiences and breathtaking beauty you’ve encountered. From the towering mountains to the frozen lakes, and from the adrenaline-pumping activities to the moments of tranquil reflection, Banff has left an indelible mark on your heart.


Throughout your journey, you’ve explored the natural wonders of Banff National Park, skiing down pristine slopes, and embarking on enchanting ice walks. You’ve been captivated by the beauty of Lake Louise, and experienced the thrill of dogsledding through snow-covered forests. You’ve soaked in the relaxing hot springs and savored the delights of Banff’s culinary scene.


But Banff is more than just a destination; it’s a place that allows you to connect with nature, to find solace in the outdoors, and to appreciate the wonders of the world. It’s a place where you can challenge yourself with exciting activities, yet also find moments of tranquility and reflection.


As you say goodbye to Banff, you depart with a renewed sense of wonder and a deep appreciation for the power of nature. The memories you’ve made will be cherished for a lifetime, and the longing to return one day will linger in your heart.


Remember the friendly locals, the cozy restaurants, and the warm hospitality that accompanied you throughout your journey. Carry the spirit of adventure and the love for the great outdoors with you, wherever your future travels may take you.


Thank you for joining us on this epic one-week journey through Banff and its surroundings in winter. We hope this itinerary has inspired you to immerse yourself in the beauty of this remarkable destination and create memories that will last a lifetime. Until next time, farewell and happy travels!