5 reasons to visit Banff this winter.
Banff National Park in the province of Alberta, Canada, is well known for the great Canadian Rockies. This is arguably the best section of the Rocky Mountains which run all the way into the United States. The Banff National Park area offers the wilderness at its most wild, but why would you want to visit in winter?
I was fortunate enough to experience a very cold winter (-34 celsius) here in Banff and the nearby town of Lake Louise. While the other seasons will obviously offer stunning views and warmer weather, the winter is something you do not want to miss if you are nearby. There are many restrictions to the areas you can explore in the winter months and the freezing temperatures can test your metal, but for the brave the rewards will make it all worth it.
Here are just 5 reasons to see this winter wonderland.
1. The Banff Upper Hot Springs
These hot springs once occurred here naturally and nowadays have the assistance of some modern technology. Overlooking the town of Banff, surrounded by tall fir trees and views of spectacular mountains, steam rises off the warm waters of the hot springs pool. There is nothing quite like sitting in this warm pool while snowflakes far gently on your head.
2. Seeing elk in Banff and Lake Louise
With the bears still in hibernation there is no need to worry about having your picnic basket stolen. If you are lucky though, a bull elk may cross your path. These locals with their impressive horns are known to frequent the town streets. Keep an eye out but don’t get too close, they have been known to ram cars!
3. Josephine Falls
Everyone loves waterfalls, but how many times do you get the chance to see one totally frozen! Josephine Falls just outside Lake Louise provides just that. A series of frozen falls follow a narrow canyon to one very large waterfall at its end. If you can brave the cold temperatures (wear toe warmers!) along the boardwalk running alongside the stream, you will be rewarded with a sight you won’t believe. Ice climbers methodically ascend the bright blue wall of jagged ice at the largest of the impressive falls. Just beware of the dumps of snow falling from the tall firs on your walk!
4. Lake Louise
Nestled among some of the most famous peaks of the Rockies, Lake Louise is a nature lovers oasis. In all seasons this place shines and while spring is the most popular, you can’t go past the serenity of the frozen lake in winter. Covered in snow, the monochrome landscape is still and silent and allows you to relax and clear your mind.
5. Snowboarding and skiing at Lake Louise
While the ski runs here are not my favourite, there is no doubt skiing in Lake Louise is an experience you won’t forget. Time things right and make your way up the slopes on a clear day and you will be rewarded with the best view of the Rockies possible. From the higher vantage point, you can see further and get a better concept of how immense this mountain range is. When you look at the 25m tall firs standing like match sticks around these mountains you get a sense of the scale!
So there are just 5 reasons you should not overlook a visit to the Banff National Park if you happen to be nearby this winter season. The lack of crowds will also add to the desirability of this time of year. If you have a favourite winter wonderland let me know. It seems to be a season which often gets a bad wrap, but one which has so much to offer.
Until next time Carpe Diem!