Downtown Banff

Winter Wonderland: Banff Travel Guide

Thanks to Banff and Lake Louise Tourism, we were fortunate to visit Banff during the winter time and experienced a true winter wonderland that included dog sledding, sleigh rides, ice skating, and stargazing with the most beautiful scenery.

Banff and Lake Louise is world-famous for its stunning turquoise lakes, dramatic mountains, and its community. I can never forget the breathtaking views of the Rockies, the delicious dinners in front of a roaring fire, or the spotting deer feasting on berries — these travel memories will remain with me for a long time.


For most travelers, the easiest way to get to Banff is to fly into the nearest airport, Calgary. Many airlines service this airport and I particularly enjoyed Air Canada (direct flight) from LAX, especially their First Class service.

From the airport, it’s a scenic 90 minute (87 mile or 140 km) drive to Banff and Lake Louise. There are regular shuttle bus connections from the airport directly to your hotel in Banff and Lake Louise, or you could rent a car or hire a private car service. 


Emerald Lake Lodge. One of my favorite cabin lodging. Cozy, comfortable, with friendly customer service. Each of their 24 cabins is designed to reflect the traditional architecture of the lodge. Rooms feature private baths, balconies and wood burning fieldstone fireplaces – stocked daily with complimentary firewood. Room amenities include cozy feather duvets and pillows, telephones, in-room coffee makers, hair dryers, and alarm clocks.

Fairmont Lake Louise. Features breathtaking views of Lake Louise and the surrounding Canadian Rocky Mountains. Elegant and polished, yet relaxed and inviting, this luxury resort in Banff National Park lives up to the natural wonder. I had a very memorable stay here and highly recommend it.

Moose Hotel and Suites. If you’re about location and hot tubs, then the Moose is perfect. It’s a 1-minute walk from downtown Banff, and they feature 2 spectacular rooftop hot pools with views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.


Emerald Lake Lodge. Lovely breakfasts and memorable dinners here. Their roots go back to the hearty meals prepared by European mountain guides and the lavish Victorian cooking from early CPR rail cars. Their wine list received the coveted Wine Spectator “Best of” Award of Excellence in 2004 and boasts over 400 outstanding local and international selections. Also, they really take care of their gluten-free guests (such as myself).

Fairview Bar & Restaurant. Located inside Fairmont Lake Louise, we had delicious cocktails and I loved their hearty meat entrées. We opted for their three-course menu for 90 CAD. If you like afternoon tea and gluten-free, try Fairview as well because they spoil you with fantastic options!

BLOCK. Located in downtown Banff, they serve probably the best cocktails in the area (I’m not kidding, try the entire menu). Due to the small size of their restaurant, they do not accept reservations, so good luck grabbing a seat! I tried their curry and mussels, very good.


Sleigh rides. Our first day, we went sleigh riding. We wrapped ourselves with cozy wool blankets, sipped hot cocoa, and shared fun stories. It was an enjoyable 45-minute scenic joy ride and I would recommend this for families, couples, and groups.

Dog sledding. This a must-do in Banff. You get to interact with the dogs beforehand and watch how excited they get. They love to run! Since I am a dog person, dog sledding is one of my favorite winter activities.

Stargazing. After the sun has set and dinner is complete, many of us want to make the most of our time and don’t want to head back to our hotel rooms just yet! For those looking to level up their evening, I recommend stargazing! Due to its light pollution, Banff is ideal. We had someone from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada show us where to look in the vast sky and pointed out the different stars. It was the post-dinner highlight.

Skiing or Snowboarding. Head over to Lake Louise to the Lake Louise Ski Resort, voted #1 Ski Resort in Canada at the 2019 World Ski Awards and named one of the top three freestyle resorts in the world. Nice gondola views with powdery runs. The spectacular views of mountains, glaciers, lakes and forests are truly unique and befitting of Canada’s first National Park.

Hiking or Snow Shoeing. We did a very short hike to the first waterfalls in Johnston Canyon, designated as a Canadian Signature Experience by Destination Canada. We then went snow shoeing near Emerald Lake and enjoyed the mountain backdrop and scenery. Also had hot coca with handmade Canadian maple taffy — not a bad way to end the afternoon.

Observation Deck. Such beautiful views! Get on the gondola for epic mountain views from the rooftop deck or with a stroll along the mountain boardwalk.

Contact Nomoon if you’d like for us to plan and design your trip to Banff! We partner with the best tour operators and hotel accommodations for the most memorable experiences.

This is a sponsored trip by Banff and Lake Louise Tourism. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

You’ll Also Love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *