Best Time to Visit Banff National Park Canada – When is the very best season to visit Banff National Park and the other areas of the Canadian Rocky Mountains? It’s a tough question to answer as there’s many factors that have to be thought about. What activities interest you and what overall experience do you desire from your journey?
So how do you decide? It must be easy adequate to choose between a winter season vacation or warmer one. Remember that the mountain winter seasons are long. Other parts of Canada are celebrating the blooming of spring flowers while the Rocky Mountain parks are still buried in snow into April and even May at higher elevations such as Lake Louise.
Do you wish to see snow covered mountains or the blue-green coloured lakes? What activities do you take pleasure in, snowboarding and other winter sports or backcountry hiking? Are casual strolls and easy to moderate tracks more your style?
As far as hiking, landscapes and warmer weather condition goes lots of would say the very best time to visit is from late June to mid-September. Respectively this time frame has the biggest crowds and greatest lodging and air fare prices.
Consider a journey during a shoulder season such as mid-September to mid-October when there’s less crowds. It’s a great way to visit Banff on a budget, the lodging and airfare rates will be somewhat lower compared to the summer months.
- Best Time to Visit Banff National Park, Canada
- Best Time to Visit Banff National Park Canada Based on Your Activities
- Winter Activities (December to Mid-April)
- Transitional Months (Mid-April to Mid-June and Mid-October through November)
- Warmer Weather Activities (June To Mid-October)
- Best Time to Visit Banff National Park for Hiking
- Best Time to Visit Banff National Park for Rocky Photography
- Water Activities and Blue-green Coloured Glacier Lakes
- Best Time to Visit Banff National Park to View Wildlife In The Rocky Mountains
- Best Time to Visit Banff National Park for Skiing
- Best Time to Visit Banff National Park to See Fall Foilage
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Best Time to Visit Banff National Park, Canada
Best Time to Visit Banff National Park between December – March
Although snow falls each month, December to March is the peak duration for skiing. Day temperatures will rarely go beyond 32 degrees Fahrenheit till mid-March and will dive toward zero at night. Note that temperature levels alter rapidly and vary significantly on various mountains. You’ll wish to secure a hotel early to visit at this time, and prevent the holidays if you’re on a budget.
- Winterstart Festival (November-December).
- Ice Magic Festival (January).
Best Time to Visit Banff National Park between April – May
Throughout these shoulder months, Banff will experience everything from blizzards to warm weather condition. Although springtime highs can reach the mid-50s, traveling to Banff in April or May is requesting a surprise. Nevertheless, if you’ve pertained to Banff to identify wildlife, especially bears, late spring and summer season is your best bet (you’ll have the most luck in the early morning or later evening).
- Banff Yoga Festival (May).
Best Time to Visit Banff National Park between June – August
These are the most congested months, with the hottest weather condition (typical highs remain in the low 70s). However the warm weather condition isn’t really the only reason to visit in the summer: the area’s mountain lakes are at their most brilliant (specifically in July, August and September).
If you venture here any other time of year -even June- the lakes will likely be frozen. Booking a hotel throughout these months will provide you access to the best hiking and cycling in the Canadian Rockies.
- Banff Marathon (June).
- Efficiency in the Park (June).
- Canada Day (July 1).
- RBC GranFondo Banff (August).
Best Time to Visit Banff National Park between September – November
While September here is the height of fall, October can turn treacherously cold in a hurry. October blizzards are not unusual and will wipe away the lovely fall leaves. However if you’re willing to tolerate the cold, you’ll be rewarded with a hectic event calendar.
- Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival (October-November).
- Banff Craft Beer Festival (November).
- Winterstart Celebration (November-December).
- Bon Appétit Banff (November).
- Banff Christmas Market (November).
Best Time to Visit Banff National Park Canada Based on Your Activities
Rather than selecting which season to visit, it can be easier to choose an amount of time based upon the activities you wish to do. There’s a duration for winter activities, warmer weather condition activities and the transitional time in between the two. Warmer weather activities cover from late spring, through summer and into early fall. Winter activities can begin in late fall and continue through to early spring.
Winter Activities (December to Mid-April)
Starting in early December and through March is the time for skiing, but do not worry if you are not a skier, there’s lots of winter season activities for non-skiers like snowshoeing, ice skating and sleigh trips. Depending upon the snow conditions and temperature levels a few of these activities continue into the month of April. Ski hills start to open some of their runs in mid-November and remain open until mid-May.
Leading up to Christmas and through the New Years holiday it is extremely busy with high hotel rates. January and February can have bitterly cold temperature levels, however there’s lots of fun festivals and occasions. In March and into April there’s still plenty of snow and less chance of very cold temperatures.
Transitional Months (Mid-April to Mid-June and Mid-October through November)
Mid-April to mid-June is a time of transition when the winter season activities have actually stopped however the summertime ones have actually not yet started. From October to the end of November is when the opposite uses. It’s prematurely for winter activities and the warmer weather ones have actually ended.
These times are also known as the low season with reduced lodging and air travel costs. It can be an appropriate time if you are just doing general sightseeing, but understand what to expect to avoid frustration. Throughout April and May greater elevation lakes are still frozen.
For instance Lake Louise may not completely clear of ice till early to mid-June. Hiking access is limited to the lower valley elevations. The weather condition can be unforeseeable, anything from warmer weather to snow storms is possible. Some areas and roads are not accessible until late spring. Inspect our area below on seasonal closures.
Warmer Weather Activities (June To Mid-October)
At the end of May/early June you can begin to do treking, horseback riding, canoeing, rafting, fly fishing and playing golf. Lower elevation treking routes start to clear of snow and lakes start to thaw. The paid tourist attractions open for the season. In early June the boat tours begin on Lake Minnewanka and Maligne Lake.
The majority of the campgrounds begin to open in mid to late May. Many of these activities can be taken pleasure in through September and some of the paid tourist attractions run till early to mid-October.
Keep in mind that June is the wettest month in the Rocky Mountains, with more rain some years than others. The precipitation tends to be in the type of isolated showers, it hardly ever rains all day. It is among the months that you might get to see blue-green coloured lakes with a backdrop of snow covered mountains.
Early wildflowers can be seen in the lower elevations and it’s a good time to identify grizzly bears and other wildlife as they feed on the lower valley lawns. The other advantage is the summer crowds have not shown up yet.
July and August have the very best chance of great weather and warmer temperatures and the best access to all treking tracks. The sub-alpine meadows peak with wildflowers in mid-July and early August.
September and early October can be a good time to visit with less crowds, access to the treking tracks is normally still great and the destinations are still open. The yellow colors of the larch and aspen leaves are stunning in mid to late September. The daytime temperatures are cooler but are fantastic for treking.
Best Time to Visit Banff National Park for Hiking
Unless you are equipped for treking in snow and icy conditions the majority of hiking trails are available from late May to early October. The lower elevation tracks are the very first to clear of snow. Some trails can be closed till they have a chance to dry up.
The trails offering casual strolls and simpler hikes in the lower valley locations of Banff and Jasper can begin to clear of snow previously and can remain accessible into October if they do not get heavy snowfall.
The higher sub-alpine and alpine ridge trails can be snowbound through June as well as into July and depending on spring time temperature levels and snowfall, avalanches can still be a risk till early June. Winter hiking is possible with special footwear to locations like Johnston Canyon’s frozen waterfalls.
Path conditions can be inspected through Parks Canada online. Banff National Park Path Conditions Jasper National Park Trail Conditions
September and early October can be a fun time for treking, frequently with blue skies and just somewhat crisp tempertures. Another benefit is the lack of mosquitoes. The pesky bugs can be a nuisance beginning in June, the worst are forested areas and near lakes and wetlands.
Best Time to Visit Banff National Park for Rocky Photography
The Rocky Mountain Parks such as Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay are lovely to photograph all year. You need to decide what you wish to photo. Is it scenes of landscapes blanketed in snow and frozen waterfalls or images of alpine meadows covered in wildflowers?
The blue-green colour of the glacier lakes or the golden yellow colours of the aspen and larch trees? We have actually composed a comprehensive post on where and when to photograph in Banff National forest, but much of the details can be used to other locations of the Rocky Mountains.
Water Activities and Blue-green Coloured Glacier Lakes
When do the Rocky Mountain lakes thaw and get their gorgeous turquoise colour? This is a concern we get asked over and over as many individuals come particularly to the Canadian Rockies to see the turquoise coloured lakes that they are popular for. In a nutshell you are going to wish to time your visit between late June and early September.
Lake Lousie doesn’t usualy thaw until early June, the canoe rentals start once it’s clear of ice. Moraine Lake is a bit later around mid-June. Canoe rentals in the town of Banff for usage on the Vermillion Lakes can start much earlier. White water rafting in areas like the Kicking Horse River can be done from May to September.
Best Time to Visit Banff National Park to View Wildlife In The Rocky Mountains
There are different wildlife to be seen all year round in the mountain parks, however a few of the most active times are at the beginning of spring and in mid to late autumn. During spring the wildlife concentrates in the lower valley elevations when the lawns start to free of snow in late May and early June.
It’s calving season for elk, deer and bighorn sheep. In the fall there’s large concentrations of elk during the rutting season that happens from mid-September and into October. October/November is the time when bighorn sheep have head butting competitions. For more in-depth details see our post on Rocky Mountain wildlife seeing suggestions.
Best Time to Visit Banff National Park for Skiing
There’s three snowboarding locations in Banff National Park, Lake Louise, Norquay and Sunshine Village. Resorts begin opening up a restricted amount of runs as early as mid-November. Skiing is typically possible at Jasper’s Marmot basin and Lake Louise until the very first week of May and at Banff’s Sunlight village till the third week of May.
February to April is considered the peak of ski season. Both January and February can have lots of snow, but bitterly cold temperatures. Into April the slopes can start to get a bit icy. March can be among the best times to ski, with longer daylight hours, warmer temperature levels and great snow conditions. At the end of November/early December the Lake Louise Ski resort hosts the guys’s and females’s World Cup downhill and Super-G races.
The Christmas season through the New Years vacation is busy and the hotel rates are high. Other hectic times on the slopes are the Family Day holiday weekend (3rd Monday of February) and the Easter holiday weekend. In the last half of March or early April the schools in the location get a week long spring break, the time differs by school district. Weekends are busier throughout the ski season, attempt striking the slopes Monday through Thursday for more privacy.
Best Time to Visit Banff National Park to See Fall Foilage
The Rocky Mountains do not have the maple trees the fantastic yellow, orange and red colours like other parts of Canada and the U.S.A. They do have aspen and larch trees that show a gorgeous golden yellow. The Larch Valley near Lake Louise is among the most popular places to see the autumn colours.
The window of time is little and it can vary by a couple of weeks each year making it hard to predict. The colours usualy peak in the last week of September/early October. The aspen trees are usually in the height of their colour by mid-September. The trees in the Jasper location have their peak colour a bit later on near the starting weeks of October.