Home » An Insider’s Guide to Visiting Banff In March

An Insider’s Guide to Visiting Banff In March

by K Gordon Schultz

In March, Banff is still in the midst of winter and temperatures can be quite cold, but the winter sports and activities are in full swing. Visitors can enjoy skiing and snowboarding at the Banff Ski Resort, snowshoeing through the pristine wilderness, or soaking in the hot springs to warm up after a long day in the snow. Despite the chilly weather, the scenery is breathtaking and the town is lively with festivals and events such as the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival.

Whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast or just looking to take in the beauty of the mountains, Banff in March is a unique and memorable experience. If you’re planning a trip to Banff in March, here’s everything you need to know.

Some Quick Statistics about Banff in March

However, here are some general statistics about Banff in March:

  1. Average temperature: Around 0°C (32°F)
  2. Average snowfall: Around 30 cm (12 in)
  3. Average sunshine hours: Around 7 hours per day
  4. Average monthly precipitation: Around 30 mm (1.2 in)
  5. Average number of tourists visiting Banff National Park: Around 60,000
  6. Average hotel occupancy rate: Around 60-70%
  7. Average ski resort lift ticket price: Around CAD 80-90
  8. Average price of a meal in a restaurant: Around CAD 15-30
  9. Average cost of a ski rental package: Around CAD 40-50
  10. Average number of ski/snowboard runs open at Banff ski resorts: Around 40-50 runs.

Note: These statistics are just rough estimates and can vary based on the year and other factors.

Weather in Banff in March

Weather in Banff
The weather in Banff in March can be a bit snowy.

The average temperature in Banff in March ranges from -5°C to 3°C (23°F to 37°F), with occasional snow showers throughout the month. However, it is important to keep in mind that temperatures can drop below -20°C (-4°F) with windchill, so be sure to pack warm clothing and gear.

How Much Snow Will There Be in Banff in March?

Banff receives an average of 76 cm (30 inches) of snow in March. This makes it an ideal destination for winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. The ski resorts in Banff offer excellent ski runs for all levels, from beginners to experts.

What to Pack for a Trip to Banff in March

Packing for Banff in March
Remember to pack correctly as winter is still in full swing!

To make the most of your trip to Banff in March, it’s essential to pack the right clothing and gear to keep you warm and comfortable. Here’s a list of essential items to pack for your Banff trip in March:

  1. Warm clothing: Pack multiple layers of warm clothing, including a waterproof and insulated jacket, hat, gloves, and a scarf. Thermal underwear and fleece-lined pants are also a good idea to keep you warm and toasty.
  2. Waterproof shoes or boots: Snow and slush are common in Banff in March, so waterproof shoes or boots are a must to keep your feet dry and warm. Consider packing gaiters for extra protection.
  3. Sunglasses and sunscreen: Although it may be cloudy, the sun reflects off the snow, making it intense, so sunglasses and sunscreen are essential to protect your skin and eyes.
  4. Winter sports gear: If you plan on skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing, be sure to bring your winter sports gear. Rentals are available in Banff if you don’t have your own.
  5. First aid kit: A first aid kit, including pain relievers, blister treatments, and a small sewing kit, can come in handy if you get hurt or need to make repairs.
  6. Camera: Banff is a stunning destination, and a camera is essential to capture all the scenic views and memories. Consider packing a waterproof camera if you plan on participating in winter sports.
  7. Portable charger and power banks: With all the outdoor activities, your phone and other electronics may run out of battery. Pack a portable charger or power bank to keep your devices charged.

Banff in March: Things to Do Exploration Guide

Explore the Rocky Mountain National Parks: The Great Canadian Adventure

Exploring Banff and the Canadian Rockies
Explore the stunning the view of the Rocky Mountains.

The Rocky Mountains are particularly beautiful in the month of March. With its mountain vistas, lush forests and crystal-clear lakes, it is a sight to behold. March is the perfect time to experience all that Banff National Park has to offer, as well as explore other nearby national parks such as Yoho National Park and Jasper National Park. Be sure to keep your camera handy for capturing some amazing wildlife encounters!

Ski and Snowboard at Sunshine Village and Lake Louise: Two Premier Winter Resorts

Skiing in Banff
Banff in March is a perfect time to hit the slopes.

Banff National Park is home to some of the best ski and snowboard resorts in Canada, including Sunshine Village and Lake Louise Ski Resort. Both resorts offer diverse terrain, stunning views, and an abundance of winter activities.

Sunshine Village, located just 15 minutes from Banff, offers skiers and snowboarders over 3,300 skiable acres, including alpine terrain, glades, and terrain parks. With an average snowfall of over 33 feet per year, Sunshine Village offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding conditions in Canada. The resort also offers a range of ski and snowboard lessons for all levels, as well as equipment rental and repair services.

Lake Louise Ski Resort, located 45 minutes from Banff, offers skiers and snowboarders over 4,200 skiable acres and boasts one of the largest ski areas in North America. With terrain for all levels, from beginner to expert, Lake Louise Ski Resort offers something for everyone. The resort also offers ski and snowboard lessons, rental equipment, and repair services, as well as a range of dining options, from casual to fine dining.

Both resorts offer a variety of activities for non-skiers and snowboarders, including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and ice-skating. Visitors can also enjoy scenic gondola rides, après-ski activities, and cozy lodges, making them the perfect destination for a winter getaway.

Snowshoeing in Lake Louise: A Winter Adventure in the Canadian Rockies

Snowshoeing in Lake Louise
The Great Divide is your go to snowshoeing tour guide in Banff and Lake Louise

One of the most popular winter activities in Lake Louise is snowshoeing, which is a unique and peaceful way to explore the beautiful winter landscape. Snowshoeing is an easy and low-impact activity that requires no previous experience, making it a great option for families and individuals of all ages and fitness levels. The trails in Lake Louise are well-groomed and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. Some popular snowshoeing trails include the Moraine Lake trail, which offers panoramic views of the valley, and the frozen lakes, which are perfect for a peaceful winter walk.

To snowshoe in Lake Louise, you can either bring your own equipment or rent it from one of the many rental shops in the area. Guided snowshoeing tours are also available and are a great option for those who want to learn about the history and geology of the area. These tours are usually led by experienced guides who can provide information about the local flora and fauna and the significance of the landscape.

Before setting off on your snowshoeing adventure, make sure to check the weather and trail conditions and to pack appropriately. Warm clothing, waterproof shoes or boots, a hat, gloves, sunglasses, and sunscreen are all essential items to bring.

Take a Hot Springs Day Tour: Soak in the Scenery

Banff Hot Springs
Soak in the Banff Hot Springs warmth

Banff, Alberta is home to some of the most breathtaking natural hot springs in the world. These natural wonders, formed by the convergence of hot water and minerals, offer a unique opportunity to soak in the beauty of the Canadian Rockies while relaxing and rejuvenating in the warm, therapeutic waters.

A Banff hot springs day tour is a must-do experience for anyone visiting the area, and there are several options to choose from. The most popular hot spring in Banff is the Banff Upper Hot Springs, which is a beautiful outdoor pool surrounded by majestic mountains and forests. This hot spring has been in operation since the late 19th century and offers visitors a chance to soak in the warm waters while taking in the stunning views.

Another popular hot spring in the Canadian Rockies is the Miette Hot Springs, located in Jasper National Park. This hot spring offers a more remote and intimate experience, with a small pool surrounded by towering peaks and forested valleys.

Visitors can also enjoy hot springs experiences at other locations throughout the Canadian Rockies, including the Radium Hot Springs and the Hot Springs Cove in Tofino, British Columbia. Each hot spring offers a unique experience, with different water temperatures, mineral concentrations, and scenic views.

When planning a hot springs day tour in Banff, it is important to consider the time of year, as the water temperatures can vary greatly depending on the season. In the winter months and especially in March, the hot springs can become extremely busy, so it is advisable to plan ahead and book your visit in advance.

Go Ice Walking on Johnston Canyon: Step into Winter

Johnston Canyon Icewalk
The Johnston Canyon Icewalk is an essential Banff adventure

Johnston Canyon, located in Banff National Park, is a stunning natural attraction that offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the beauty of the Canadian Rockies in the winter months. During the winter, Johnston Canyon transforms into a winter wonderland of frozen waterfalls, icicles, and snow-covered trees, making it a popular destination for those seeking an adventure in the heart of the Rockies.

Ice walking on Johnston Canyon is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Banff in March. The trail is well-maintained and easy to navigate, even in the winter months, and offers stunning views of the frozen waterfall and surrounding landscape. Visitors can take a guided tour, which provides a knowledgeable guide who will explain the geological features and natural history of the area.

When planning your ice walking trip to Johnston Canyon, it is important to dress appropriately for the colder weather. It is also important to be aware of the potential dangers of ice walking, including slipping and falling, and to take precautions such as using ice cleats or hiking poles.

Ice Skating on the Frozen Lakes: Glide and Slide

Ice Skating
Get out on the lake and glide to your hearts content.

During the month of March, the lakes in Banff and Lake Louise are often frozen solid and provide a perfect surface for a leisurely glide or a fast-paced game of pond hockey.

The frozen lakes in Banff are a natural wonder and offer a unique ice skating experience. With the snow-capped mountains and pristine forests as a backdrop, skating on these frozen lakes is a breathtaking activity. Some popular lakes to skate on include Two Jack Lake, Vermilion Lakes, and Lake Minnewanka.

Before heading out on the ice, it’s important to check local conditions and weather reports to ensure the safety of the ice. While the ice is generally safe and thick enough for skating, it’s always a good idea to exercise caution and follow the recommended guidelines. Additionally, skaters should always carry a first aid kit, warm clothing, and plenty of water, especially if they are venturing out onto the ice for an extended period of time.

If you’re looking for a little more excitement, Banff also offers ice skating in the form of pond hockey. The frozen lakes provide a perfect surface for a fast-paced game, and many locals and visitors alike enjoy gathering for friendly games and tournaments. Whether you’re an experienced player or a beginner, pond hockey is a fun way to enjoy the winter weather and get active on the ice.

The Icefields Parkway: A Scenic Drive in March

The Icefields Parkway
Take a drive through the Icefields Parkway!

The Icefields Parkway is a breathtaking scenic drive that runs through the Canadian Rockies in Alberta, connecting Banff and Jasper National Parks. With its stunning mountain views, crystal-clear lakes, and glaciers, it’s no wonder that this road is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world.

March is a great time to visit the Icefields Parkway as the snow-capped mountains and frozen lakes create a winter wonderland that is truly awe-inspiring. With the sun shining down on the snow and the ice, the landscape is transformed into a glittering tapestry of white, blue, and silver.

The drive is approximately 232 km (144 miles) long and takes around 4 to 5 hours to complete without stops. However, visitors are encouraged to take their time and make stops at the many scenic points along the way. Some popular stops include the Columbia Icefield, Peyto Lake, and Bow Lake.

At the Columbia Icefield, visitors can take a guided tour on a massive glacier, or take a walk on the glacier’s surface. Peyto Lake is another must-see destination, known for its bright turquoise waters and stunning mountain views. Bow Lake is a serene body of water surrounded by snow-capped peaks, offering an ideal spot for a picnic or a quiet stroll.

It’s important to note that the road conditions on the Icefields Parkway can change quickly, especially during the winter months. Before heading out, it’s recommended to check the weather conditions and road reports to ensure a safe and enjoyable drive. Additionally, visitors should be prepared with winter gear, including warm clothing, sunglasses, and snow chains for their vehicle.

Go Cross-Country Skiing: Explore the Pristine Wilderness of Banff National Park

Cross-country skiing
Cross-country skiing is perfect for the entire family!

Cross-country skiing is a low-impact form of exercise that is easy to learn and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. With a variety of trails to choose from, ranging from beginner to advanced, there is something for everyone. Some popular cross-country ski trails in Banff include Johnson Canyon, Bow Valley Parkway, and Cascade Valley.

There are several companies in Banff that offer cross-country skiing, including:

  1. Banff Adventures: This multi-sport outfitter offers guided cross-country skiing tours in Banff National Park, with options for half-day and full-day tours, as well as private tours.
  2. Mt. Norquay Cross Country Ski Centre: This ski resort offers cross-country skiing, with over 15 km of groomed trails and breathtaking views of Banff and the surrounding mountains.
  3. Banff Nordic Centre: This popular cross-country skiing destination offers over 50 km of groomed trails, as well as rental equipment, lessons, and a cozy warm-up cabin.
  4. Brewster Adventures: Offers a variety of cross-country skiing tours in Banff, including beginner to advanced level tours and private tours.

Before heading out on the trails, it’s important to check the weather conditions and trail reports to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Skiers should also be prepared with proper winter gear, including warm clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect against the sun’s glare on the snow.

Exploring Banff Avenue: A Shopping Adventure

Shopping in Banff, Alberta
There are many options for dining and shopping in the town of Banff.

Banff Avenue is the heart of the mountain town of Banff, Alberta, and it’s a popular destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment. With its charming mountain architecture, unique boutiques, and cozy cafes, Banff Avenue is the perfect place to spend a day shopping and exploring in March.

The avenue is home to a wide range of shops, from souvenir and gift shops to specialty stores offering everything from clothing and accessories to jewelry and home decor. Whether you’re looking for unique gifts, stylish clothing, or mountain-themed souvenirs, you’re sure to find something special on Banff Avenue.

One of the standout shopping experiences on Banff Avenue is the Park Distillery, a locally-owned and operated distillery that offers a range of premium spirits, including gin, vodka, and whiskey. Visitors can take a tour of the distillery, sample its spirits, and purchase a bottle or two to take home as a souvenir.

In addition to shopping, Banff Avenue is also home to a variety of dining options, ranging from casual cafes and coffee shops to fine dining restaurants. With its mountain-themed menus and cozy atmosphere, Banff Avenue is the perfect place to enjoy a warm drink or a delicious meal after a day on the slopes or exploring the town.

Taking a Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride in Banff: Magical Mountain Memories

Horse-drawn sleigh rides
Wrap up, grab some hot chocolate and take in the sites in a horse drawn sleigh.

Horse-drawn sleigh rides are offered by a variety of outfitters in Banff, and they typically last from one to two hours. During the ride, visitors can snuggle up under warm blankets and enjoy the sound of the horses’ hooves as they glide over the snow. With its stunning views and peaceful atmosphere, a horse-drawn sleigh ride is a truly magical experience.

There are several companies in Banff that offer horse-drawn sleigh rides, including:

  1. Banff Sleigh Rides: This popular company offers a range of horse-drawn sleigh rides, from short rides through the forest to longer excursions that feature a visit to a cozy cabin for a warm drink and snack.
  2. Johnston Canyon Sleigh Rides: This family-owned and operated company offers horse-drawn sleigh rides through the stunning Johnston Canyon, where visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the canyon’s frozen falls and icicles.
  3. Banff Adventures: This multi-sport outfitter offers horse-drawn sleigh rides that take visitors through the stunning winter landscape of Banff National Park, with options for guided tours and private rides.
  4. Snowy Owl Sleigh Rides: This company offers a range of horse-drawn sleigh rides, from romantic rides for couples to family-friendly rides that are perfect for kids.

It’s important to book a horse-drawn sleigh ride in advance, as these popular experiences can sell out quickly during peak periods. Visitors should also be prepared with proper winter gear, including warm clothing, gloves, and a hat, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Visit the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity: Creative Heart of Banff

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
Photo: Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a renowned arts and cultural institution located in Banff, Alberta, Canada. The Centre offers a wide range of programs and events in visual arts, music, dance, theatre, literature, and more.

Visiting Banff Centre in March can be a great experience as the Centre offers several events and exhibitions during this time. Some of the events that take place in March include concerts, workshops, and art exhibitions.

If you are interested in visiting the Banff Centre in March, it is advisable to check the Centre’s website for a schedule of events and to book your tickets in advance as some events may have limited seating or sell out quickly.

Wildlife Winter Watch: Discovering Banff’s Fauna

Banff Wildlife
Wildlife in Banff does not rest in March

Banff National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, deer, coyotes, and even black and grizzly bears. Wildlife viewing in Banff in March can be a great experience, although some species may be more difficult to spot during the winter months as they may be in hibernation or more elusive in the snow.

Here are some suggestions for wildlife viewing in Banff in March:

  1. Where to see wildlife: The best places to see wildlife in Banff in March include the Bow Valley Parkway, Johnson Canyon, Vermilion Lakes, and the Canmore area.
  2. What to bring: When going on a wildlife viewing trip, it is important to bring warm clothing, binoculars, a camera, and any necessary gear for the conditions (such as snowshoes or skis).
  3. Tours: Several tour companies offer wildlife viewing tours in Banff National Park, including Brewster Adventures, Banff Adventures, and Explore Rockies. These tours can be a great way to maximize your chances of seeing wildlife and learn about the local flora and fauna from a knowledgeable guide.

It is important to remember that all wildlife in Banff National Park is wild and unpredictable, and it is essential to follow park rules and regulations for wildlife viewing, such as staying a safe distance from animals and not feeding them.

Where to Stay in Banff

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
The iconic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

Banff is a popular tourist destination located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. There are many accommodation options available in Banff, each with its own unique features and amenities. Here are some popular options for travelers visiting Banff in March:

  1. Fairmont Banff Springs: This luxurious hotel is one of the most iconic buildings in Banff and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The hotel features a full-service spa, several restaurants, and a variety of outdoor activities. People love staying at the Fairmont Banff Springs for its historic charm and world-class facilities.
  2. Rimrock Resort Hotel: This upscale hotel offers a prime location, just a short walk from the town center and the Banff hot springs. The hotel features a restaurant, spa, and indoor pool. People love staying at the Rimrock Resort Hotel for its comfortable rooms and convenient location.
  3. Moose Hotel & Suites: This hotel is known for its cozy atmosphere and friendly staff. The hotel features an indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna, as well as a restaurant and bar. People love staying at the Moose Hotel & Suites for its laid-back vibe and affordable prices.
  4. Banff Aspen Lodge: This budget-friendly hotel is located in the heart of Banff and offers easy access to local shops and restaurants. The hotel features an indoor hot tub, sauna, and ski storage. People love staying at the Banff Aspen Lodge for its affordable prices and convenient location.

Regardless of which accommodation you choose, you can expect to experience the natural beauty and charm of Banff during your visit.

Make a Banff Reservation For March


Banff in March is an excellent destination for those looking for a winter vacation filled with outdoor activities and scenic views. Whether you’re skiing, snowshoeing, or just soaking in the hot springs, Banff has something to offer for everyone. Just remember to pack warm clothing and gear, and be prepared for those outdoor activities!

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