19 Stunning Natural Ice Skating Rinks Around the World
From quaint rinks high in the French alps to manicured boulevards on Canada's frozen rivers and rugged mountain lakes in the western United States, the winter season offers up a slew of opportunities to lace up some ice skates and carve a sharp path through ice surfaces around the globe.
Act quick, because come spring, these winter wonders will simply melt away.
Arrowhead Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada
A Canadian gem, Ontario’s Arrowhead ice skating trail is a meandering pathway that winds through thick evergreen forests in an idyllic winter wonderland setting.
Keystone Lake in Colorado
This picturesque five-acre lake surrounded by the Lakeside Village is lit up with holiday lights at night. Play pickup hockey or enjoy the music while taking advantage of the largest Zamboni-maintained outdoor rink in North America.
Lake Louise in Banff, Canada
The jewel of Canada's Rockies, Lake Louise tops off her natural charms with an elaborate, glittering ice castle. Not to mention the surrounding mountains and Victoria Glacier.
Red River Mutual Trail in Winnipeg, Canada
Making up the world’s longest ice trail at 5.3 miles, this winding ice expanse through the heart of Winnipeg will take you from the city to the country all on one smooth track down the Assiniboine and/or Red Rivers.
Evergreen Lake in Colorado
Just west of Denver you'll find Evergreen Lake, a forty-acre body of water that offers plenty of space for free skaters, hockey enthusiasts, or broomball players (with rental available), all surrounded by pine-covered mountains.
Canyon Ferry Lake in Helena, Montana
A reservoir of the Missouri River, Canyon Ferry Lake is Montana's third-largest lake—and, when frozen, an ideal place to skate. At 28 miles long, there's plenty of space to cruise on ice under a winter sky.
Mirror Lake at Lake Placid, New York
Enjoy a wintry skate in the Adirondacks at Mirror Lake, a busy rink in Lake Placid's town center. A maintained track borders the pond, while pond hockey and dog-sledding are also popular.
Lac de Joux in the Jura Mountains, Switzerland
Switzerland's Lake Joux, nestled in the Jura Mountains near the country's western border with France, is Europe's largest free skating rink in all of Europe when it freezes over in winter. Vendors set up stalls on the surface of the lake itself, selling hot food and drink to hungry skaters.
Lake Vanern in Sweden
Lake Vanern is Sweden's largest lake, and the third largest in Europe, meaning it provides an expanse of rugged skating options. Dotted with over 22,000 islands, it's not a manicured skating experience—but with dramatic sunsets and wide-open ice stretching to the distance, it's sure to be a stunning one.
Sokolniki Park in Moscow, Russia
Moscow boasts a whopping 45 ice rinks—some artificial, some natural—with Sokolniki Park's ice alleys being the most unusual. Nearly two acres of ice boulevards bordered by towering trees are enjoyed annually by residents and visitors alike.
Lake Bogstadvannet in Oslo, Norway
Norway has its fair share of Arctic lakes; Bogstadvannet, located in the forests just outside of capital Oslo, is one of the more popular options. While lush and green in the warmer seasons, winter brings a full freeze.
Lake Weissensee in Austria
This lake in southern Austria provides a spacious environment for a brisk skate, with the eastern part of the long, narrow lake offering over two and half miles of skating track while dramatic mountains rise up from its shores.
Lake Morey in Vermont
Lake Morey's 4.5-mile groomed skating loop takes skaters from the edge of the Lake Morey Resort out into the reaches of the lake, with uninterrupted views of the White Mountains nearby.
Lake Windermere Whiteway in British Columbia, Canada
Another contender for longest skating track in the world, the Whiteway offers recreation for cross-country skiers, skate-skiers, and figure skaters alike.
Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Canada
Race through the heart of Ottawa, from downtown to Dows Lake, on the world’s largest natural rink. At nearly 5 miles long, the skateway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and major winter attraction. Plus, it’s professionally maintained to ensure safety.
Shichahai Lake in Beijing, China
Shichahai—also referred to as “Houhai”—offers a unique experience just north of central Beijing in the cold of winter, when skating becomes a popular recreation. Originally part of the Yuan-Dynasty-era grand canal of 700 years ago, the skating is an urban respite along a waterway bordered by temples. Bonus: There's even an ice slide.
Tower of London Moat in London, England
Skate in the shadow of one of England's most iconic and historic structures on the frozen moat surrounding the Tower of London.
Tignes in France
The small Alpine ski resort of Tignes is home to a breathtaking natural outdoor rink, ringed by snow-capped peaks.
Westchester Lagoon in Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage's picturesque lagoon freezes in winter to provide a perfect surface for locals (and tourists) to take advantage of its skating surface. Families gather for free hot chocolate on certain days of the week, too.