Winter in Alberta can be a little tough with bitter cold snaps and heavy snowfalls, but we have rounded up some road-trip-worthy things to do and see this winter across the province.
From frozen waterfalls to ice walks and a picturesque main street in a town in central Alberta, hit the road and explore your province this winter.
A town in central Alberta is leaning into the spirit of winter with a massive skating rink that lights up at night and 300,000 Christmas lights to marvel at. The Winter Village in Sylvan Lake is lit up nightly when it’s up and running, with activities that include skating, ice fishing, tobogganing, and more.
Where: Sylvan Lake, Alberta
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Winter in Alberta offers true beauty, and we strongly suggest checking out these frozen waterfalls nestled in the Rockies. The roaring Crescent Falls plummets 30 metres over two ledges and offer breathtaking views of the Bighorn River Valley. It’s one of the most breathtaking frozen waterfalls in the Rockies.
Where: Crescent Falls, Alberta T0M 2H0
A staple tourist destination in the summertime, there’s something unique and special about seeing the hoodoos and landscape of Drumheller draped in some snow. Have a snowball fight and then go see some Guinness World Record-holding dinosaur bones at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
A tucked-away street in a town in central Alberta will provide you with that perfect vintage Instagram post, boasting a look that almost mirrors classic New York City vibes. The Flatiron Building is the crown jewel of Lacombe’s main street. Once you are done admiring the gorgeous architecture, wander along the streets and pose in front of a flurry of murals. The town touts itself as “Alberta’s Mural Capital,” with murals detailing its lengthy history.
Where: 5104 50th Avenue, Lacombe
Ice bubbles that form in a lake in Alberta are a must-visit this winter. The ice bubbles bloom under Abraham Lake like flowers, making for a stunning sight. You can pack your skates and hit the lake, gliding over the bubbles while surrounded by the Rockies. It’s a wonderful experience, but it can be pretty windy some days, so check the forecast before you head out. It’s one of the most beautiful things you can see this winter in Alberta.
Where: 18032 David Thompson Highway #17562
It can be hard to find that perfect donut, but a shop in Red Deer has perfected the craft, making it a must-hit destination. The Mills menu has dozens of donut flavours, with fan favourites like Oreo, Rolo, Apple Pie, and Rainbow Dip, just to name a few.
Where: 123 Leva Avenue, Red Deer County
SnowDays, Banff and Lake Louise’s annual winter celebration, returns this January, bringing the national park to life with a wide array of activities, sights, and events. Check out giant snow sculptures throughout the streets of downtown Banff and then head to Lake Louise to lace up your skates and take a whirl around the lake for an iconic Canadian experience. Once you’ve worked up a thirst, visit a number of select bars and restaurants in Banff, where you’ll find special cocktail menus from January 18 to 29.
SnowDays runs from January 18 to 29, with plenty of frosty sights, free activities, and unique events to warm up the year’s chilliest season.
Where: Various locations in Banff and Lake Louise
This is one part of Alberta that is only accessible after a deep freeze. Thankfully, Alberta is no stranger to below-freezing temperatures, which means that the ice walk at Grotto Canyon is accessible for a good chunk of the year. Strolling over the frozen river will make you wish you’d brought your ice skates, but it makes for a surreal experience nonetheless.
Where: East of Canmore along Bow Valley Trail. It is located beside the aptly named Grotto Canyon pond.
There aren’t enough adjectives to describe Jasper National Park’s deepest canyon, Maligne Canyon. While “majestic, marvelous, and memorable” first come to mind, this geological wonder is also known as one of Jasper’s most famous natural landmarks.
As temperatures drop, the rushing waters of the Maligne River transform into awe-inspiring icy formations and ice walks to keep ice climbers and tourists enraptured.
Where: Jasper National Park
Check out this glacial erratic, aptly named the “Big Rock,” which seems to rise out of nowhere in the middle of the Alberta prairies. While you’re in the area, pay a visit to the towns of Okotoks and High River for boutique shopping and awesome local eateries, filming locations for the TV show Heartland, and tons of parks and trails to explore.
Where: Alberta Highway 7, Black Diamond
Located 20 minutes outside the town of Pincher Creek, Lundbreck Falls offers picture-perfect views, a spectacular bridge, and a great winter photo spot.
Where: Range Road 24B, Lundbreck