The Best National Parks in Canada for Winter Activities
Even if you can’t head to a resort and enjoy a warm weather getaway this winter, that doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors.
During the winter months, many of Canada’s national parks are open for exploration and offer visitors a range of winter recreational activities. The trails may be blanketed in snow, but the parks transform in winter, offering snowy vistas and icy escapes.
Here are 12 national parks in Canada worth checking out this winter.
Kootenay National Park (British Columbia)
Warm up even on the coldest winter days at the hot springs of Kootenay National Park. The park is home to several hot springs open to the public, including Radium Hot Springs (the largest hot springs mineral pools in Canada), the mineral-rich Halcyon Hot Springs (overlooking Upper Arrow Lake and the horseshoe-shaped grotto lined with stalagmites and stalactites), and Ainsworth Hot Springs (belonging to the Yaqan Nukiy people of the Ktunaxa First Nation).
Bruce Peninsula National Park (Ontario)
Near Tobermory, Ontario, Bruce Peninsula National Park is known for the dramatic cliffs rising from Georgian Bay. In winter, book a yurt at Cyprus Lake Campsite or put on your warmest snowsuit for a three- to four-hour hike to Stormhaven for backcountry camping.
Prince Island National Park (Prince Edward Island)
As part of a pilot program, Parks Canada and Tourism Cavendish Beach have partnered to maintain winter trails for hiking, snowshoeing and fat biking. The trail from Cavendish Dunelands to Cavendish Grove is suitable for all levels of hiking.
Banff National Park (AB)
Visitors can ski at Banff Sunny Village, Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Mount Norquay in Banff National Park. The stations have come together under the name “SkiBig3to offer vacation and lift packages allowing you to explore all three mountains during your stay. For the more adventurous, there are several snowcat experiences carrying expert level skiers over untouched terrain.
Gros Morne National Park (Newfoundland and Labrador)
In winter, the fjords and mountains of Gros Morne National Park become a winter wonderland for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or even an outdoor picnic. For the seasoned adventurer, take a backcountry hike or stay overnight in one of the backcountry ski huts.
La Mauricie National Park (Quebec)
Located between Quebec and Montreal, Mauricie National Park offers 68 km of marked and maintained trails in protected land ideal for cross-country skiing. Warm up on the trails in one of the heated huts located every 5 km along the trails.
Grasslands National Park (Saskatchewan)
As one of the largest and darkest Dark Sky Preserves in Canada, Grasslands National Park is the perfect place for star gazing on long winter evenings. Many trails are open in winter, including the scenic Ecotour route, where you might spot bison or other wildlife.
Kluane National Park and Reserve (Yukon)
To explore Kluane National Park and Reserve as soon as the lake freezes and snow covers the ground. On land, you can choose from cross-country skiing, ice fishing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, backcountry camping, and snowmobiling or flying with an airplane tour.
Kouchibouguac National Park (New Brunswick)
Kouchibouguac National Park transforms in winter to offer several winter activities, including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, sledding and bird watching. For those wishing to stay in the park, choose between a rustic shelter at the South Kouchibouguac campground along the cross-country ski trail or a backcountry campsite at Petit-Large.
Riding Mountain National Park (Manitoba)
During the winter months, visitors can still reserve oTENTiks in Riding Mountain National Park for gliding in an A-frame cabin at Wasagaming Campground near Clear Lake. Each cabin has sleeping platforms for up to six, a woodstove, deck, and fire pit, but you’ll always want to bring a warm sleeping blanket to stay warm during the night. ‘adventure.
Wood Buffalo National Park (Northwest Territories)
Although Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest national park in Canada, there are a few hiking and snowshoeing trails which are short enough for a half-day desert escape. During the evening, be sure to look up to spot the Northern Lights dancing across the sky when it gets dark.
Fundy National Park (New Brunswick)
The Bay of Fundy is not just a popular summer destination; Fundy National Park is open in winter for cross-country skiing, bird watching, snowshoeing, sledding, etc. Stay in a yurt, an oTENTik or a tent to spend a few days immersed in winter wonderland.