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For pizza, bowling, and 48 craft beers on tap check out High Rollers. The Block. Organic wine and vegan-friendly poutine — try Nourish. The Grizzly House. Every table is equipped with a telephone…you know, for picking up anyone in the room.

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Today you get a map of the restaurant with a number for each table, which makes for some very entertaining — and awkward — opportunities. Use them though. Once a bachelorette party bought us all tequila shots. Nightclubs: Hoodoo and the Dancing Sasquatch. For late-night eats: Aardvark Pizza and Sub. The Banff Centre and all its creativity makes for a very different, and very welcome, atmosphere in town. To see the Northern Lights you need really dark skies and clear, cloudless nights — Banff checks those boxes all winter.

Check out the aurora forecasting sites here and here. Look up. Have patience. You might just get to see those green flashes that pulse and shimmer among the stars, the most amazing natural phenomenon on Earth.

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Photo: Reuben Krabbe. Photo: Noel Hendrickson. Photo: Ben Girardi. Photo: Devaan Ingraham. Photo: Dan Evans. Photo: Shannon Martin. This post is proudly produced in partnership with SkiBig3 and Destination Canada. Posted In. Winter Sports Trip Planning.

Banff, Canada. Hunter Feb 9, We climbed a little, zigzagging along a series of switchbacks, then kept on moving through the forest. The idyllic scenery was accompanied by the occasional grumbling of our kids. When we finally arrived to our next and final goal, all of us were awestruck by the incredible sight of frozen Upper Falls. We were standing under massive vertical rocks that were decorated with giant icicles and large streaks of solid ice. On the face of this icy wall, a handful of ice climbers were slowly making their way up the frozen waterfall, chipping away with their ice picks and impressive spiky crampons.

The incredible frozen Upper Falls of Johnston Canyon. Amazed, we stood there for a while and ogled the ice climbers and the incredible winter scenery. At some point, we remembered to look at the clock, and realized it was about time to head back. Even though we were getting a bit hungry and tired, I knew we had to check this out. So, I led the way towards this overlook. This time we were standing above the waterfall, staring at another breathtaking panorama filled with snow, ice and winter splendor.

After we loaded our phones and flash cards with at least a hundred more photos, we started walking back, this time for real. TIP: Upper Falls is not the end of the trail. It continues onto Ink Pots, seven beautiful cold springs.


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  • They are located approximately 2 miles from Upper Falls, but to get to them during the winter, you may need a pair of snowshoes. The view from above…well, just a small part of it. Making our way back through snowy Johnston Canyon. One final peek back at the stunning winter scenery in Johnston Canyon. It starts out in the forest, but then turns into an especially fun adventure as you start walking on top of frozen Grotto Creek. This trail leads to stunning canyon views, historic Hopi pictographs, frozen waterfalls, and eventually takes you to a few hoodoos and a small cave.

    Hiking on Grotto Canyon Trail on a warm winter day. View from Grotto Canyon Trail just before reaching the creek.

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    When we attempted to go on this hike, it was a particularly warm day in March. In fact, the temperatures had been unseasonably high for several days. The thought of wet, frozen legs made us turn around before it was too late. Starting our hike on somewhat slushy Grotto Creek. Another view from our short walk on the slushy Grotto Creek. One truly amazing way to experience the Winter Wonderland in Banff and Lake Louise is by taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride. You can wrap yourself in warm blankets, sit back, and take in the magic all around. This was something we really wanted to do, so we ended up going not on one but two sleigh rides, one in Banff and one in Lake Louise.

    After doing some research, I discovered that there were several booking companies that offered sleigh rides in Banff.

    Irshad Family Snow Tubing Lake Louise, Canada 2016

    However, all of them worked with Warner Stables, which is where you show up for the actual ride. I chose to book our ride through Banff Tours mainly because they seemed really friendly and accommodating.

    2. You don’t need a car to access legendary hills.

    On the day of our sleigh ride, we showed up at Warner Stables in Banff and checked in. After that, we walked over to a nearby table set up with hot water and packs of hot chocolate. The kids lined up excitedly, and by the time I prepared my drink, they were already asking me for seconds. Angie and Dani enjoying hot chocolate at Warner Stables. Our next stop before the start of the ride was just as delicious and sugary.

    The staff at Warner Stables had set up a fire outside and left a whole bunch of marshmallows and wooden skewers. Naturally, we had to try our marshmallow-roasting ability, and in the process ended up devouring more of the squishy things than we intended!