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Banff, Alberta: Winter Delights

Surrounded by stunning natural beauty, Banff and the surrounding area offers indoor diversions and outdoor adventures.

Banff Alberta looking toward Cascade Mountain, picture
Photo credit
Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism/Paul Zizka Photography
Photo caption
Cascade Mountain presents a striking winter backdrop for downtown Banff.

Snowbanks and icicles, frosted pines and buttoned-up jackets—Banff, Alberta, affords a quintessential setting for a winter getaway. Surrounded by the Canadian national park of the same name, the town of Banff proffers upscale comforts and mountain fun.

That woman ahead of you in the latte line may have plans for a snowshoe hike to a frozen waterfall or a powder run at one of three nearby ski resorts. Or she may simply be taking in the town: Inviting shops sell wares such as fossil pendants and landscape watercolors, and enticing restaurants serve blackened sirloins and maple-poached wild salmon. Such cosmopolitanism plays out against the backdrop of Cascade Mountain, a snow-covered pyramid of Canadian limestone and shale. Downtown sidewalks bustle with visitors on a sparkling weekend, but it won't take long to get anywhere you want to go.

A horse-drawn sleigh ride will whisk you out into the cold, and a steamy outdoor soak at Banff Upper Hot Springs Pools delivers a muscle-melting sequel. Indoors or out, Banff 's winter scene is worth savoring.


This article was first published in Winter 2016. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.