Sunday, December 01, 2013

Christmas in the Rockies! Family Fun at the Banff WinterStart Festival

Christmas is coming early to the town of Banff with the return of the annual Santa Claus Parade of Lights next Saturday, December 7th.  We make the trip out every year and always have a lot of fun getting into the holiday spirit. 

Photo:  Paul Zizka, Banff Lake Louise Tourism

Festivities for the "Christmas in the Rockies" event start at 11am with Christmas in the Courtyard.  Stop by the Bison Courtyard to watch professional ice carving take place and watch as the kids get to try their own hand at chipping away a small block of ice.  The courtyard will have "Little Chippers" ice carving stations set up for the whole family.

Annual Santa Claus Parade in Banff

Continue with Elfercise, led by one of Santa's dancing elves, and then move on to the Cascade Plaza shops where games, crafts, and face painting will be set up for the kids.  Santa will also be available for family photos in the plaza.  Carolers, Christmas shopping, and even horse drawn wagon rides round out the day as you wait for the parade to start at 5:30 pm along Banff Avenue.

SANTA!   Enjoying the Banff Santa Claus Parade

For more information on Christmas in The Rockies, follow this link to the Banff Lake Louise Tourism Website. 

Looking for other fun family-friendly activities to do while in Banff? 

Go skating on the rink below the Banff Springs Hotel, try sledding on the adjacent hill, or go for a short ski around the Banff Springs Golf Course - all accessible from the same parking lot at Bow Falls.

There is also a skating rink in the field of the Banff High school right on the main Banff Avenue.  For more information on skating in Banff follow this link to the Parks Canada website

Sledding and Skating at Bow Falls below the Banff Springs Hotel

Take a short hike on the Fenland Trail or walk along the Bow River on the paved sidewalk that is usually cleared throughout the winter months.  For more information on hiking in Banff, follow this link to the Parks Canada website

Easy hiking on the Banff Fenland Trail

Drive out to Lake Minnewanka and go for a ski in the Cascade Valley.  And new this year, ski from the Lake Minnewanka parking lot to the Upper Bankhead Day Use Area on a groomed, track set trail that follows the summer road.

Take a short hike to Stewart Canyon while you're at the lake.  Or just take family photos in front of the scenic lake for your Christmas card photos.  Want to try some natural skating?  Bring a shovel and clear a small area of Johnson Lake to skate on. 

For more information on cross country skiing, snowshoeing or winter hiking in Banff, visit the Parks Canada website

Skiing in the Cascade Valley
Skating on Johnson Lake
Stewart Canyon Hike, Lake Minnewanka
Lake Minnewanka

We hope to see you out in Banff next weekend for Christmas in the Rockies!

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