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7 Things to See in the Bow Valley this Winter

By Keili Bartlett & Naomi Witherick

Winter sightseeing in the Bow Valley is incredible. Think frozen waterfalls and overall icy paradise. And with helicopter tours and a new mountaintop building to view it from, it’s easy to see something epic in Banff, Canmore, Kananaskis and Lake Louise. Cameras at the ready…

Banff sightseeing

Image: Kelly MacDonald, Lake Louise Ice Magic Festival

Ice Sculptures 

Mountains capped with snow and ice. Turquoise waters frozen over. Lake Louise epitomizes winter wonderland. Celebrate with Ice Magic Jan 19-29, where you can watch professional ice carvers compete. Try it yourself at demo sessions, and revisit the displays until they melt away.

Mountains from Above

Escaping earth in a helicopter with Rockies Heli Canada felt like I was making a getaway, Bond-style. Continue the adventure as you soar above snow-covered mountains then touch down for snowshoeing and hot chocolate with Baileys. Or, pair your flight with dogsledding.

Banff sights

Image: Jake Dyson, Johnston Canyon Icefalls

Frozen Waterfalls

Banff Photography’s Craig Douce recommends Bow Falls and the frozen stream at Johnson Lake for dramatic photos of frozen water. “Shoot Johnston Canyon icefalls when it’s overcast to avoid harsh contrasts,” Douce advises. TIP: rent ice cleats, or join a tour.

Banff sightseeing

Image: Destination Canada, Summit of Sulphur Mountain

Banff Gondola’s New Facility 

Banff Gondola‘s summit building – awarded Where’s 2016 Best New Attraction – offers more than breathtaking views. New features include contemporary Canadian dining at the Sky Bistro, interactive interpretive displays and a dramatic film with music scored at The Banff Centre. “The enhancements let visitors experience Banff and the Canadian Rockies like never before,” says Brewster Travel Canada president David McKenna.


Frozen Lakes

  • Spray Lakes: Twenty-five minutes from Canmore via Smith-Dorrien Spray Tr. Marvel at Ha Ling and East Rundle peaks en route. The lake is popular for ice fishing; at its south end stop for lunch at Mt Engadine Lodge.
  • Lake Minnewanka: Take the Minnewanka Loop past Two Jack Lake and a striking view of Mt Rundle. This is a great spot to view the night sky.
  • Lake Louise: Admire the most famous of all Banff Park lakes in style from the Fairmont Chateau’s Lakeview Lounge. Ice skate, sleigh ride or simply revel in the view of Victoria Glacier.

See more Banff, Canmore and Lake Louise sights.

>> For more Canadian Rockies activities, shops, restaurants and entertainment, read our digital magazine.

>> Connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram at whererockies and tag your Canadian Rockies posts and photos with #whererockies

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