Make your way north this winter to see a few of the most spectacular national parks spread across Canada. Our neighbors to the north are well adept at protecting special natural spaces, including a few that make for the ultimate snow-filled retreats. Ready to start your journey? Here are five Canadian National Parks worthy of exploration this winter (and well beyond).
Banff National Park, Alberta
Banff was Canada’s first designated national park, meaning it has a lot to live up to. Luckily, it more than meets the hype. In the cooler months, Banff becomes a winter wonderland where guests can ski, snowshoe, ice skate, and winter hike to their heart’s delight through the blanket of fresh, almost blindly white snow. The park encompasses some 2,500 miles, meaning you’ll likely never see the same vista twice. Visitors can also get around with a little animal assistance thanks to sleigh rides and dog sledding outfitters. Warm up after a day in the snow by booking a stay at Fairmont Banff Springs, which is also home to a lovely spa that will help you work out any muscle knots you may have worked up during your outdoor adventure.
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario
Ready to really go remote? Pay a visit to Bruce Peninsula National Park for a solitude-filled adventure. The park, located in Ontario, enters its off-season over the winter and, during this time, has extremely limited service to visitors, so it’s a place that is only advisable for hiking and outdoor pros. But if you count yourself among this group, this park is absolutely the place to be. Come see the stunning azure lakes completely iced over, take a hike, or see how many of the birds you can spot overwintering in the location. And, as a bonus, make sure to look up at night. The park is a designated Dark Sky Preserve, so the stars are abundant. Accommodations are a little thin in the region, but you can still score luxury villas like this three-bedroom A-frame that comes with its own perfect little sauna, too.
Kootenay National Park, British Columbia
Find a little warmth in British Columbia this winter at Kootenay National Park. The park, which is one of four national parks in the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a place of abundant beauty thanks to its craggy and snow-capped mountains, canyons, vistas, and even a hot spring you can take a dip in when the feeling strikes. To make the most of your stay, book a few nights at the Halcyon Hot Springs Resort, which comes with abundant access to a private hot spring that will leave you fully rejuvenated.
Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba
Riding Mountain National Park is an ideal winter escape for animal lovers as it is home to a staggering number of large animals, including moose, deer, and bison, which roam free across this snow-filled environment. Visitors can explore via cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or by pedaling along on a fat tire bike. Then, relax at the Lakehouse Boutique Hotel, an accommodation with just 15 rooms that puts personalized service at the forefront. Or, if you’re traveling with kids in tow, book a few nights at the Elkhorn Resort, which offers everything from luxe chalets to dreamy family rooms, a children’s playground, and a splash pool with a full over-water jungle gym.
Prince Island National Park, Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island National Park is a beachside getaway that’s just as spectacular to visit in winter as it is in the height of summer. The Park Service spends the winter clearing snow from the Gulf Shore Parkway between Cavendish and North Rustico and between Brackley and Dalvay enabling visitors to explore its cross-country ski trails, some hiking trails, and maintaining beach accesses. Just note, many of the trails will remain snowy and rugged, so be prepared to work a little harder to make your way around in the winter. Make your stay here a quaint one by booking a getaway at Kindred Spirits, which offers guests the chance to book a cottage or a room, depending on their travel party needs.