Skating on a frozen lake or river is a classic Canadian experience and the dramatic mountain backdrops of Banff National Park only add to the magic. The perfect ‘wild ice’ season here in Banff is relatively short – just a few weeks between the water freezing over and the first snowfall covering the surface. These dates vary each year but are usually from late October until mid-November. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a sunny day to enjoy the sparkling ice, or even witness the frozen bubbles caused by escaping methane.
Whether you’re an experienced skater or venturing out on the ice for the first time, we should all remember that safety comes first! Natural ice surfaces may not be as stable as they appear and everyone skates at their own risk. Like any outdoor activity, you should check the conditions before you go, enjoy with a buddy whenever possible, let someone know where you’re going and be prepared to self-rescue or contact emergency services.
Banff offers several options for ice skating on local lakes and even the Bow River. Explore the closest options on the map below, or find more information from Parks Canada.
If you don’t feel confident venturing out on natural ice surfaces, you can also find outdoor rinks in Banff during the winter season. Learn more here.