Browser Cookies. We often get a brief window mid to late November where some mountain lakes have frozen (with ice thick enough to skate on) without being snow covered yet. Generally, we’d advise airing on the side of caution so it’s great to not take off exploring for any lake you can find if it’s your first time. Lake Vermilion is one of Minnesota's most beautiful lakes, with over 1,200 miles of shoreline. Edit for 2020, we have had another amazing window on Spray Lake and we were able to skate a loop of roughly 4.5 km from the Driftwood Day Use Area. We actually got out twice on this lake in 2020 and had it completely to ourselves the first time. This area is extremely windy, meaning doesn’t cover the ice like all the other bodies of water on this list. This is a place where you can find true Northern Minnesota lakefront real estate - from rustic cabins to extravagant log homes - set among the towering pines. Witness the giant Rundle Mountain reflecting in the waters, while letting the fantastic views of Sulphur Mountain take your breath away. Once you're done, checkout our #mybanff social page. The lake freezing like this has also only happened five times in the last 30 years. This site uses cookies necessary to properly function. Recommendations for ice thickness are based on clear, blue or green ice: 4" (10cm) ice fishing, ice skating, walking, cross country skiing, 8"-12" (20-30cm) one car or small pickup truck, 12"-15" (30-38cm) one medium truck (pickup or van). Mid-November is here and that means it's game on for wild mountain skating in the Canadian Rockies. Visit Vermilion Lakes! It’s one of the most famous spots in all of Canada to see the famous methane ice bubbles so it definitely deserves a special place on this list. Stargazing at … Situated at the foot of Mount Norquay, just outside of Banff, this is a favourite place for locals to relax. The lake is one of our favorite places to head in the summer for a stand-up paddleboard. This year-round 4.3 kilometre scenic road, offers wildlife viewing opportunities and breathtaking scenery. There is a small road off the highway which takes you down closer to the lakes. Contacting a Parks Canada visitor centre for more information on ice skating. If you’re hoping to get that gorgeous mountain lake with a glass surface Minnewanka in December is probably your best bet. November (and sometimes December if snow is late to arrive) however gives us a different experience where we can often experience "natural skating" on lakes that are not maintained or cleared of snow. There are plenty of local resources and maintained rinks that ensure everyone is safe skating on the natural bodies of water in Banff. Similar to Lake Minnewanka this massive man-made lake can freeze over with perfect ice that reflects the breathtaking views of the Spray Valley. It’s an impeccable place to go for an ice skate in the Canadian Rockies. The views on Vermilion Lakes Road are spectacular, and get better the farther along you ride. The area is well known for the high winds and chinooks that rip through the narrow section of valley out to the foothills. Third Vermillion Lake gets inflow from a hot spring, so ice thickness is especially variable here. Ice skating on the lakes can happen during any time of the winter, but the best conditions are early in the winter around November or December. If you don’t fancy heading into the frozen wilderness, this is a great place to skate, just a stone’s throw from most of the hotels. By closing this popup, clicking a link or continuing to browse otherwise, you agree to the use of cookies. Vermilion Lakes, Banff Resim: Vermillion Lakes - Tripadvisor üyelerinin 26.091 gerçek Vermilion Lakes fotoğrafına ve videosuna bakın. The experience on ice like this is extraordinary as it’s gorgeous and a better surface to skate on than most ice rinks. This spot is one in Vermilion! However, be very mindful as the reservoir remains deeper than many other lakes and a fall in the ice could have real consequences. Ice skating on the lakes can happen during any time of the winter, but the best conditions are early in the winter around November or December. Sit back, relax on the docks and benches, and soak up the sun as you gaze at the impressive Mount Rundle - one of Banff's most recognizable mountains. Truth be told, I almost prefer creeks and rivers over lakes because I think it's fun to skate along a winding channel with bends and interesting features. Vermillion Lakes. ), Jura Creek - The Best Winter Hike in Kananaskis, Chasing Frozen Waterfalls in Kananaskis! You aren’t limited to lakes and ponds you can also skate on the famous Bow River. Now we live in Canmore and spend as much time as possible exploring the mountains that surround us. Vermilion Lakes: Perfect afternoon walk. It’s also best not to skate alone unless you’re on a maintained rink, of course, there are plenty of ice skating enthusiasts who fully capable on their own. You don’t need to come with your own set of skates to Banff as there are a plethora of places to rent a pair. Vermilion Lakes are a great option and closest to Banff. Follow the creek until you find good skating ice. If you’re going skating in the mountain Parks, be sure to have a Parks pass and park in designated areas. This site uses cookies necessary to properly function. You will come to a junction where Policeman's Creek and Spring Creek come in to join you from the northwest. Hey, we’re Cameron and Natasha and have been writing about travel for the last decade. Campers are made to feel very welcome in this great little campground. It’s not the most beautiful lake for a skate, but it does have some awesome ice when it’s frozen. Ice skating in Banff is a highlight for many visitors visit to Banff in the winter and a favorite way to pass time for many locals. 10 Things to Know Before Visiting Peyto Lake, 50+ Best Things To Do in Banff National Park, Ultimate Hike Guide to Bugaboo Provincial Park, Juniper Hotel & Bistro in Banff: Nine Reasons to Book Now, Moving water such as river, springs, and streams, Objects that can absorb solar heat such as docks, rocks, or logs. Once it snows, the ice will be covered and that will be it for another year. The natural valley creates a bottleneck for winds which like Abraham Lake creates hard ice that is often snow-free. The only downside is there are no views as the pond is surrounded by trees and in a neighborhood. The wind keeps the ice in good condition and snow free. Some years, it never happens. Skating at Lake Louise, Banff National … The ice got thinner as we went south. Every year just outside of the town of Banff an oval is cleared by the town when conditions permit. The NEW Hiking Trail to Troll Falls and The Upper ... Wild Mountain Skating in Banff on Johnson Lake, Skating across Johnson Lake in Banff on November 11th, 2018, Playing hockey on Johnson Lake, November 9, 2013, Skating on the First Vermilion Lake, November 19th, 2016, Ice that was smooth as glass on the Third Vermilion Lake, November 1, 2019, Skating on Two Jack Lake, December 15, 2017, Skating down the canal on Two Jack Lake, November 21, 2018, It doesn't get prettier than this on Two Jack Lake,  November 21, 2018, Skating on Lake Minnewanka, December 29, 2019, Bubbles on Lake Minnewanka, January 22, 2018, Halloween skating on Gap Lake, October 31st, 2019, Skating on Loon Lake in the Yamnuska Nature Area, December 1, 2020, Skating on the Back Swamp in Banff, November 16, 2019, Parked on the side of the road and you can see the Sunshine exit in the background, The gate you'll want to park beside so that you can get through the wildlife fence, Hiking through open meadows to the Back Swamp in Banff, Skating on Spray Lake, December 16th, 2017, Spray Lake from the Driftwood Day Use Area, December 3, 2020, Skating on Upper Kananaskis Lake on December 16th, 2017, Skating on Lower Kananaskis Lake, December 5, 2020, First tracks on the Lower Kananaskis Lake, December 5, 2020, Skating across Barrier Lake on ice as smooth as glass, December 16, 2018, Skating on very smooth ice on Wedge Pond, December 15, 2018, Magical skating on Goat Pond, November 2, 2019, Skating down Cougar Creek in Canmore, January 8th, 2018, Where Cougar Creek meets the Bow River in Canmore, Skating on the Bow River Oval downtown Banff, January 8th, 2018, Skating down the creek in Bowness Park, Calgary, Skating down Cougar Creek, Canmore on January 8th, 2018, Walk under the bridge (crossing under the 1A). Looking to visit some lakes in Minnesota but don’t have an idea which ones? The Vermilion Skating Club is a non for profit organization that provides learn to skate and figure skating programs to both kids and adults of all ages. Here are all the things you need to know before renting a car in Banff. There's always open water if you try to start from the boat dock. It’s one best reasons to come to Banff in winter and it’s always a treat. There is likely no better place in the world to lace up a pair of ice skates and take to the ice than in the Canadian Rockies. Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies, Gillean Daffern's 3rd Kananaskis Hiking Book, Park on the side of the TransCanada Highway just after the Sunshine Village turnoff, 8 Memorable Places to Skate in Banff National Park. Vermilion Lakes. November is my favourite month to visit Banff, 2021 Campsite Reservation Guide for Alberta and BC, Wild Mountain Skating Guide for Banff and Kananaskis, The Best Beginner Cross-Country Ski Trails near Calgary, 10 Winter Walks and Hikes to Enjoy with your Family in Kananaskis, Grotto Canyon Ice Walk (5 reasons we LOVE this hike! The lake is massive and when it freezes you can skate in one direction for kilometers and watch the mountain scenery pass. The road curves around and roughly parallels the Trans-Canada trail on your right. Vermilion Lakes are some fantastic natural lakes that are very just outside of the town of Banff and offers some incredible views. Vermilion Lakes Road is a famous sightseeing road, and is known for regular wildlife sightings. https://www.facebook.com/groups/952981801382189, hi the link doesn't work. The Low Down: Located just outside the Town of Banff, these lakes are both easily accessible and relatively low-trafficked. It’s also tremendous as the frozen lake is maintained by the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. A hot spring is found at the third lake. Not much of a surprise, but it’s regularly been considered one of the world’s best ice skating rinks. I always find your blog very interesting. This can blow the snowfall off the ice and leave a perfect surface. Vermilion Lakes. When Two Jack Lake freezes over you can some amazing views of Mount Rundle and enjoy a gorgeous skate. This is a short video of some of the things you can see at the water skips on lake vermilion. Be mindful of where you choose to skate! There are three docks that make it easy to access the lakes. White or opaque snow ice can be half as strong as blue ice the white surface comes from wet snow melting and freezing on the ice. Starting point is the Birch Cove Beach parking lot. It’s an amazing experience and one of our favorite places to ice skate in Banff. When the water freezes, the methane bubbles get trapped in the ice and create these amazing phenomena. But if you want to receive updates I often post them in my personal FB group if you live in the Calgary area with kids. However, as it’s a river it can be very subjective to seasonal changes and varying ice thickness. There are plenty of trees providing ample shade throughout the park. Vermilion Lakes: Watch people skating and practicing hockey - See 905 traveler reviews, 416 candid photos, and great deals for Banff, Canada, at Tripadvisor. It was absolutely magical!! Even when large numbers of visitors descend on the Jura Mountains in the peak months of February and March, the sheer vastness of the lake means speed skating in the wide open of Lac de Joux is nothing short of thrilling. Have child and have not slowed down! Located on the Smith Dorrien Road is Goat Pond. Other years, we get a magical window where the ice on certain mountain lakes is smooth like glass and 100% snow free. The lake is prone to wind which keeps it snow free for an extended period of time. As one funny Minnesota slogan implies, “Minnesota is a state of 10,000 lakes and 10,000,000,000 Mosquitoes.” The color of the ice is a great way to indicate its strength. Sunrise skate at Vermillion Lakes, Banff National Park. Including hike info and off-season travel information. If you’d like to stretch your legs, the Fenland Trail is a leisurely walk that takes hikers on a 2-kilometre (1.2-mile) loop through the marshlands near the Vermilion Lakes. Vermilion Lakes – These lakes are shallow and are often the first natural skating rinks to form. Our aim is to help you get the most out of your trip to Banff National Park and the surrounding areas. Other options around the Town of Banff for natural skating are the. It’s located next to the Banff Canoe Club and it’s a short walk outside of the center of town. It’s a guaranteed smooth surface and great as when it gets too cold temperatures are far milder on the indoor ice rink. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1880664988893275. Some years we luck out and get ice that's as smooth as glass and 100% snow free. Here we headed towards the river and found great smooth ice. 3. You should take note of the ice thickness near the dock of the third lake as warm spring water makes the ice thin. Clear ice is the strongest and best for ice skating in Banff. There were occasional cracks and snow patches so not ideal for a hockey game but good enough for casual skating. I say this only to manage expectations as the surface will likely be a frosted white, but the views are stunning the none the less! There are many outdoor ponds, lakes, and rinks in the Rockies that get cleared of snow and maintained by park or resort staff through the winter, usually starting mid to late December. In 2020 we finally got a window to skate on the. It’s hard to say this is the most scenic spot in the Canadian Rockies for ice skating. This blog seeks to chronicle the joys and challenges of taking kids hiking, camping, backpacking, skiing, biking, paddling and all-out exploring in the Canadian Rockies. Like many of the natural lakes around Banff for ice skating it has a small window of time when ice skating is possible here. Too many people wanting to get outside. Access is found from the Vermilion Lakes Road, near the Mt. Nearby Attractions Besides the lakes, Fortune Bay Casino can is known as the area’s most favored attraction. Johnson Lake. Other natural outdoor ice surfaces include 40 Mile Creek to Vermilion Lakes, Two Jack Lake and Lake Minnewanka. We have compiled a list of 16 most amazing lakes just for you. The second time we only had to share the gigantic lake with one other small group. The Vermilion Lakes are a series of lakes located immediately west of Banff, Alberta, in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.. Vermilion Lakes: Skated on the frozen lake - See 903 traveler reviews, 412 candid photos, and great deals for Banff, Canada, at Tripadvisor. There is no place to ice skate in Banff more iconic or scenic than the famous Lake Louise. 5 minutes west of the Banff townsite on the Vermilion Lakes Drive. It’s serviced daily and resurfaces three-five times a week so you have a reliable surface and it’s great for vacations who choose Canmore as their base. And I'll confess that we do skate ice that is 3 inches thick (most dedicated wild mountain skaters in the Rockies will because it's the only way to get the good glass) but we take safety precautions when doing so, never skate alone, and we measure the ice often using an ice screw. If you can catch the pond right after it freezes but before the first snowfall you’ll be in for a real treat. The Banff Blog Facebook Group is your headquarters for the Canadian Rockies travel advice and information. The town of Canmore maintains a nice natural ice skating pond just outside of downtown. In 2018 we heard about people skating on Cougar Creek in Canmore, and had to go check it out. Vermilion gets its name from the French translation of the Ojibwe word Onamuni, which means lake of the sunset glow. The good news is if you’re visiting Banff during Christmas/New Year you have a good chance of getting a chance to skate on the lake as it freezes around this time. There's currently another window for this one as of December 3, 2020 and it's been quite popular. Checking the cracks in the ice or drill a hole to help determine the depth of the ice: minimum of 15 cm thick. November is generally the worst month to visit Banff. Large white bubbles are created in lakes when water-dwelling bacteria feed on decaying organic matter which expels methane gas. Those new to wild skating will want to stick to ice that is 4 inches thick. It’s not always possible to ski on this lake as it is not maintained and often is covered in a thick layer of snow. A big downside is that the vast majority of winter it’s not possible to ice skate on Lake Minnewanka as the lake is not maintained and snow/ice build-up makes it impossible. Lake Vermilion's boulder-strewn, rocky shorelines bordering forests of pine, aspen and birch give a truly northwoods character to this Canadian Shield lake. Browser Cookies. This is the only indoor ice rink on this list and it’s open all year so you can still ice skate in the summer! This article has you sorted. This is often skateable throughout the winter and is a nice safe choice. We skated on Lake Minnewanka on New Year’s day in 2020. Johnson Lake is off the road to Lake Minnewanka and it’s a popular spot for ice skating while conditions last. Where: See directions here Distance: 128 km to Calgary, 415 km to Edmonton. A favourite Canadian sport that is fun for all ages and abilities, ice skating in Banff and Lake Louise is a great way to enjoy the fresh mountain air with family and friends. However, there are a number of maintained rinks you can head to once that happens. How to Love Winter in the Rockies - On Skates! The lake freezes later than Lake Louise as it’s lower in elevation and it lies in a valley that experiences high winds. For more information on the Hoyt Lakes trail also known as Colby Lake Trail call the City Hall in Hoyt Lakes … You have to watch for cracks, bumpy ice, changes in solidity, rocks and other hazards, but you won’t regret experiencing these lakes before they’re covered in snow. Norquay Road exit into Banff. Later in the winter snow can often cover the lakes and make skating nearly impossible without a shovel and some work. Carrying some rope to help reach someone, and ice picks to help pull yourself out. You will have to pay for use for the ice rink plus ice skate rentals if you don’t have your own. However, there are a number of maintained rinks you can head to once that happens. Later in the winter snow can often cover the lakes and make skating nearly impossible without a shovel and some work. It's always an adventure on this wild lake. Thanks for the share. It’s also a tremendous photo spot when the lake reflects the landscape. If you have ever wanted to skate on ice bubbles head here around January. Then take a break and warm up with hot cocoa beside a bonfire before heading back … Ringed by barren alpine forest, the lake’s surroundings possess a stark, frost-tinged beauty. In 2019 we got another first, and we were able to skate on. Sometimes you can skate all the way down the lake, other times you can only skate in the first bay, and other times you have to hike a ways down the lake to find skateable ice. From Country Road 110, take Birch Cove Road (east of the Hoyt Lakes Arena) 1/4 mile north. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. This short detour off the Lake Minnewanka Road loop will take you to an ice skating paradise. First and Second Vermilion Lake are easy to access and you can park right beside the ice. A popular hangout spot for locals and visitors alike in the summer, this stretch of … What really sets Lake Louise apart from the other lakes is the lake’s atmosphere. The three lakes are formed in the Bow River valley, in the Banff National Park, at the foot of Mount Norquay.They are located between the Trans-Canada Highway and the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks. We think this is one of the most spectacular areas and the perfect place for an outdoor vacation. Another option is the Bow River in Banff. What’s normally a sports pitch in summer is hosed down as the temperature drops and becomes a beautiful skating rink in winter. Wearing PFD's while skating if you are uncertain about ice thickness. The small rink is located on the viewing deck of the hotel and right outside the restaurant. The Bow Valley’s lakes are frozen and are good to skate on. rating (0% score) - 0 votes banff nature photography banff photography … Sit on a picturesque dock at sunset and stick around to watch the constellations reflect off the surface of the water. The Town of Banff sometimes clears an oval on the Bow River downtown Banff along Bow Avenue. We make sure that the park is kept clean and safe for all to enjoy. Often, benevolent angels in the Bow Valley show up with shovels to clear paths around the lake if there's been snow before the lake freezes. Stargazing at the Banff Gondola. This is the most obvious place to go skating in Banff, because you can’t miss it as you drive down Banff Avenue. The shallow lakes freeze very early on in winter, so bring a shovel and clear a patch for your Blades of Glory moment! Canada has several rivers that freeze during winter, and this is one of the best ones for ice skating. The Vermilion Lakes are a series of lakes located immediately west of Banff, Alberta, in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Actually, it is more like a chain of lakes situated just west of Banff. 4. Troll Falls and beyond to the Upper Falls, Our 5 Favourite Campgrounds (within a 3 hour drive of Calgary), Alberta Comfort Camping Destination Guide, Family Tube Park Review (Calgary, Kananaskis, Banff, and Lake Louise). Dates are variable year to year, and I've only managed to personally skate on a couple of them due to timing. 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