What Is The Best Time to Visit Banff? Let Us Help You Plan Your Trip!


Aug 12
best time to visit banff

Located in the beautiful region of Aberdeenshire, Banff is no doubt one of the best places to see in the area. Banff is one of the best places to see in North America! But in order to make the most of your trip, knowing the best time to visit Banff is very important. 

Instead of choosing which season to go, planning your activities and knowing the best time to do them would be an easier way to go. There are activities best done in winter, summer, and in between.


For Winter Activities

December to Mid-April

Even though snow falls every month, the months of December up to March are the best time for skiing. The usual day temperatures will hardly exceed 32°F until the middle part of March and will fall down zero at night. Keep in mind that temperatures change rapidly and vary drastically from place to place. You may want to book a hotel early to make sure you’ll have somewhere to sleep.

banff in winter

If you want to see some of the top attractions like the Columbia Icefield and Moraine Lake, then it’s unfortunately not the best time to visit as the roads that lead to these sites are closed because of a big risk of avalanche.

In the beginning of December through the end of March is the best time for skiing, but if you’re not interested in this activity, no worries as there are a lot of other winter activities you can enjoy such as ice skating, snowshoeing, as well sleigh rides Ski hills begin to become open to public some of which runs in mid-part of November and stays to open up to mid-part of May.

banff skii

You have to take note that season that leads up to Christmas up to New Year’s holiday s extremely busy with hotels being so expensive. The months of January and February could have intensely cold temperatures, but there are a lot of exciting events and festivals during these months. If you want to avoid extreme cold, then the months of March through April would be more ideal.

Transitional Months

Mid-April to November

The time of transition is from Mid-April through mid-June. This is when the winter activities have ended but the summer activities haven’t started either. From the month of October through the latter part of November is when heat weather comes in. It is too early for wintertime while not hot enough for summer activities.

During this time of the year, Banff is likely to experience everything from snowstorms to warm climate. Even though springtime temperature can go up to 50s, visiting Banff during the month of April or May can be quite unpredictable. However, if you are planning to visit Banff to see take photograph of the wildlife, particularly bears, then visiting during late spring and summer would be the best time for you.

banff bear

This season is also considered as the low season so you can expect low-cost accommodation and airfare. It can be a perfect time to visit if the purpose of your trip is just to experience general sightseeing, but make sure to manage your expectations so you won’t get disappointed. Throughout the months of April and May, higher elevated lakes are still likely to be frozen.

On top of that, you can leave your hiking backpack and hiking gears behind as access to the trails is also limited to the lower elevated valley. There are several areas and roads that aren’t accessible until the spring season. So, make sure you know about the season closures before your trip. 

Summer Weather Activities

​June to Mid-October

These months are expected to be the most crowded season. However, the pleasant weather is not the only reason why a lot of people choose to visit this time of the year: the mountain lakes of the region are at their most vivid. If you happen to visit other time of the year, the lakes are likely to be frozen. Booking a hotel throughout these months are going to offer you access to some of the best biking and hiking trails in Canada.

riding horse

At the end of May to early June, those who are looking to hike, horseback ride, canoe, golf, and fish would be happy to know that these are the right season. Hiking trails that are located in lower elevation begin to melt of snow and the lakes begin to defrost. Most of the paid tourist attractions start to be available to the public. In the early part of June, you can start enjoying boat tours on Maligne Lake and Lake Minnewanka. Most of the campgrounds begin to operate in May. A lot of these activities could be enjoyed up to the month of September while some are up to mid-October.

Remember that that month of June is the rainiest month in the Rocky Mountains, which gets more rain compared to other parts of the region. The precipitation usually come in the form of isolated showers, it hardly rains all day long. It is the time when you get to see turquoise-colored lakes with a background of snowcapped mountains. You can see early wildflowers in the lower elevations and it is a great time to see grizzly bears along with other wildlife. Another reason to visit at this time is that there are not a lot of people yet.

a lake in banff

The months of July and August usually have the best weather because they experience a warmer temperature which gives good access to many hiking trails. 

September and early October could be the right time to visit if you are after less number of tourists, as this time, you will still enjoy a good access to the hiking trails while the attractions are still open to the public. The yellow colors of leaves from aspen and larch trees are beautiful at its brightest in September. The daylight temperatures are usually cooler but perfect for hiking.

Is It Worth it to Visit during Low Season? Best Time to Visit Banff

Again, the best time to visit Banff always depend on the activities you want to go. However, for many, the best times are from the month of June through August and from the end of December through March. There are a lot of reasons why people choose to go during these times and it’s not really difficult to see why. Here are some things you will be able to enjoy.

- You’ll almost have the place to yourself

banff time to yourself

Although Banff attracts millions of tourists every year, they most visit during the summer when they can enjoy hiking season or the ski season during the school breaks and winter holidays. However, from the latter part of March to mid-part of June, as well as late September up to mid-December, the park becomes sedentary. It will be easier to get parking spots as there are fewer tourists at most attractions.

- You’ll get better deals

banff hotel

With less demand during these months, those who are traveling on a shoestring can usually get a better deal. You are able to find mainly great savings on hotels, which is huge for those who want to save some money during their trip.

If you are going to fly into the Calgary airport as your starting point, finding a great airfare during these times of the year would be possible. With low season savings, you will be able to spend more money on more memorable things such as having a special dinner at any of the many high-end restaurants in Banff.

-You can enjoy exciting events

taste for adventure

These months usually boast some unique events and festivals that you won’t get to experience happen during the summer or winter seasons. During late October up to the early part of November, you may want to plan your trip around Taste for Adventure in order to enjoy remarkable dining experiences and unique menus.

On the other hand, if you’re planning a trip in late October to November, you may want to experience Banff Centre’s Mountain Film and Book Festival, which showcases some of the outstanding movies and meet some prestigious filmmakers, athletes, and writers. In late November, you can have a holiday shopping spree at the Banff Christmas Market.

best time to visit banff

And also check out The Lake Louise Ski Resort to witness some world-class talent ay the World Cup downhill skiing.

As you can see, there are a lot of aspects to look at in order to really figure out the best time to visit Banff, but all in all, it all depends on you! Banff is a great vacation spot all year round; you just have to decide which activities you want to experience.

Hopefully, you find this article helpful. If you do, make sure to share this with your friends in your social media and leave a comment if you have other questions about Banff. Happy trip!

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Alice Ross, a long-term traveler who left the corporate world to travel the world. I chose to live life on my own phase and live day by day while immersing myself in new experiences, new knowledge, and new people in a different walk of life I met along the way.

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