If you are visiting Canada in the winter and Banff is one of your planned stops, then you have to set aside some time to go ice skating in Banff! There is truly nothing more picturesque than the mountains of Banff National Park, and one of the best ways to enjoy this amazing scenery is by hitting the ice and going skating. Read on for 12 of the best places to go ice skating in Banff!
*Please be careful when skating, ice thickness can vary over the course of the winter! Always skate with caution and check the ice for thickness before skating*
1. LAKE LOUISE
Now you can’t read a blog post about Banff and not have it mention Lake Louise. Lake Louise is one of the most famous places in Banff, and it is also the perfect place to ice skate! Because of its popularity though there are definitely busy times – visit in the early morning or late evening to avoid crowds, and if possible do not visit on the weekend.
2. GAP LAKE
Gap Lake is a popular choice among locals for wild skating. It is closer to the Town of Canmore than the Town of Banff, but close enough that you can still enjoy a good chunk of time skating and taking in the views the mountains have to offer.
3. ABRAHAM LAKE
Abraham Lake isn’t technically in Banff, but I wanted to mention it because it is such an incredible spot to skate in the mountains! Abraham Lake is famous for the methane bubbles that form below the surface, making the ice super cool and great for taking pictures.
Abraham Lake is a 2 hour drive from the town of Banff.
4. TWO JACK LAKE
Two Jack Lake is an awesome place to skate in Banff! The lake is pretty big which means it doesn’t get too crowded (usually). There’s a mountain view no matter which direction you look in, which is incredible!!
5. VERMILLION LAKES
The Vermillion Lakes are roughly a 6 minute drive from the Town of Banff, making it the perfect place to spend a sunrise or sunset if you are staying in town! There is nothing better than skating at golden hour in the mountains – it is so serene and SO beautiful.
6. LAKE MINNEWANKA
Lake Minnewanka, technically, is skateable. But skate here with caution! Parks Canada warns that strong winds can prevent skaters from getting back to the main shore, so they recommend taking boots with you while skating. It’s beautiful, but be careful at this lake!
Read more: How to go Wild Ice Skating in Banff
7. JOHNSON LAKE
Johnson Lake is a slightly lesser-known lake to skate on. When we got there around 1 pm on a Saturday it actually wasn’t even busy! By the time we were leaving though, things did start to pick up slightly – but definitely not as busy as Lake Louise!
8. SPRAY LAKES
Another Lake option that is popular among locals – the Spray Lakes are a little more “out of the way” than the other lakes listed, but are still so beautiful and a perfect place to enjoy a day outside in the mountains.
9. CASCADE PONDS
The Cascade Ponds are a lovely place to skate if the ice is good. I love this area in the summer, and skating at the Cascade Ponds in the winter is just as awesome. This spot is located on the same road you take to get to Johnson Lake, Two Jack Lake, and Lake Minnewanka. So if conditions are bad here, you can always check out the other lakes that are further down the road!
10. GOAT POND
Goat pond could be an awesome place to skate – although it is located in Kananaskis rather than Banff. When I visited Goat Pond with the intent to skate it was covered in snow. A lot of snow. I don’t think this is a very common place to skate, therefore, I wouldn’t recommend driving the whole way here with your heart set on skating – unless it hasn’t really snowed for the season yet, or you have a shovel and are okay with digging out a whole new section to skate on. But still thought it was worth the mention!
11. BOW RIVER
Because this rink is located basically in the Town of Banff, it is the perfect place to go ice skating in Banff if you’re short on time or transportation!
12. LAC DE ARCS
This lake is huge and a great option for skating on! It is located near a factory though, so if you’re trying to get awesome photos with the mountains, you will have to pay attention to angles – but if you’re just looking to skate, it’s a great choice!
Hopefully, this guide on where to ice skate in Banff was helpful! Please remember to always skate with caution, as ice thickness can change over the course of the winter!
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Hey! I’m Kat. Based in Alberta, Canada I love to travel to the Rockies and explore new places around the world. Follow along on my adventures and find inspiration and tips for your own travels.