Visiting Banff in July? Here’s All You Need to Know

There’s only one word to describe Banff in July – stunning. July is one of the best times to visit the Canadian Rockies if you’re after sunshine, warmth, and long days. I love Banff in July as the snow disappears off the mountain peaks, hiking is plentiful, and the vibe is delightful.

July in Banff also means clear days and nights, meaning you can play all day and stay up and star gaze with a hot tea by your side at night. So what’s the weather like in Banff in July and what can you do? Let’s dig in.

Things to Know Before Visiting Banff in July

What’s the Weather Like in Banff in July

horseback riding banff

Banff in July is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful times. July means it’s summer in the Canadian Rockies. The rainfall is low, and if you’re lucky, your vacation will mainly be sunshine and long, warm days.

The average temperature is 24°C but tends to be warmer in the afternoon under the sunshine. Yes, this means you can finally forget about winter, though you’ll still want to pack a packable down jacket and a shell jacket just in case, especially if you are doing lots of hiking.

I typically spend my days in shorts and a T-shirt in July. It’s also finally bathing suit season in Banff in July (a very short-lived season in the Canadian Rockies).

Banff in July

Is there snow in Banff in July? Thankfully, most of the winter snow has melted, and hiking trails are generally snow-free. However, the higher the mountain and the summits, the more snow you’ll find.

All that sunshine and melting snow have made the mountainsides a lush carpet of greenery, and the wildflowers abound. There’s a lot of daylight – about 16 hours per day, meaning the sun doesn’t set until after 10 pm and rises extra early. However, if you stay up late, you’ll be rewarded with superb stargazing.

If all this sounds too good to be true, that’s because there’s a pitfall. The park is filled with visitors, and you’ll need reservations for any popular camping spots. If you plan on staying in a Banff hotel, book your reservation well in advance and be prepared to pay premium prices.

Spots like Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, and Lake Minnewanka will be packed, and it’s going to be a struggle to get parking at peak times. Though don’t worry – the park is vast, and there are plenty of places you can visit without the crowds.

Festivals in July

festivals in canada

On July 1, it’s Canada Day. This is celebrated with processions and concerts in both Downtown Banff and Canmore! We like to escape the crowds and get out on a hike during the celebration.

If you like your festivities to be less wild and more of a weekly thing, then you’ll like Banff Farmers Market. This takes place every Wednesday (between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. at Central Park) throughout the summer and is the place to go for fresh produce, crafts, and ceramics – as well as food trucks if you get hungry. If you’re staying in Canmore, you can also check out the Canmore Mountain Farmers Market, which runs on Thursdays from May 23 until October 3, 2024 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at Elevation Place (700 Railway Ave.).

Like music? Then, head to the funky Canmore Folk Music Festival. This long weekend of music and mayhem has been going since 1978.

What to Pack for Banff in July?

The Onion Scramble

Is it cold in Banff in July? Well – it could be, so pack just about everything! Along with August, July is one of the warmest months in Banff National Park, but that doesn’t exactly make it incredibly warm.

So while you will probably be comfortable in shorts and a tank top throughout the day, it’s best to come prepared with a jacket and pants for nighttime. You’ll hardly ever be uncomfortable in pants in the Canadian Rockies.

Don’t forget to bring your hiking shoes and poles if you want to hike in the park. Also, a good daypack will come in incredibly useful. If you have nice dinner plans, don’t forget to bring a few nicer outfits for a night out on Banff Ave. Though you can honestly wear your Patagonia jackets and trail runners to just about any restaurant in Banff if you want.

Can You Visit Lake Louise in July?

Lake Louise

Yes, you can visit Lake Louise in July, and it’s one of the best months to visit. Lake Louise is all thawed, and you can expect a bright blue glacial-fed lake to be waiting for you. The snow has melted off most of the Lake Louise hiking trails as well.

The only downside is it’s one of the busiest times of the year to visit the famous lake, and you’ll likely need to arrive by sunrise to get a parking spot at the lake. So plan accordingly. You can also plan to take the Roam Transit from Banff, or utilize the Park & Ride (which is what we recommend).

Lake Louise Parking: Everything You Need to Know

Can You Visit Moraine Lake in July?

Lake Moraine

Lake Moraine in July is an absolutely incredible time. Like Lake Louise, Moraine Lake is completely thawed and filled up to the brim. I say that because Lake Moraine is a glacial-fed lake that recedes depending on the season.

Most of the hiking around Lake Moraine is also good to go, though you should wait until August to attempt to summit Mount Temple.

July is prime time at Lake Moraine though, and you’ll need to plan out how you’re getting to Moraine Lake in advance. Since parking is no longer allowed at Moraine Lake, we recommend taking the Moraine Lake shuttle, booking a spot on the Moraine Lake Bus Company, or booking a private tour.

Things to Do in Banff in July

Hike Healy Pass

hiking healy pass

One of the finest hikes in the Banff National Park is Healy Pass. The hike’s starting point is a short drive from the town of Banff at Sunshine Village, and it climbs a gradual pass until it unveils a pristine alpine meadow.

The meadow is resplendent for hiking and famed for wildflowers in Banff in the summer, and is well worth a hike. There are quite a few storybook vistas in the park, but Healy Pass rivals the best of them. You can read all about the Healy Pass hike here.

Go for a Bike Ride

Biking in Banff

Biking around Banff is one of the best things you can do while visiting. Whether it’s mountain biking or cycling, there are tons of trails to explore. My favorite long distance rides are the Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff or the Bow Valley Parkway from Banff to Lake Louise.

If you want to mountain bike, there are great trails at the Nordic Center in Canmore.

Head to Emerald Lake

Banff in July
Sadly, personal watercraft are no longer allowed on Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake isn’t technically in Banff, but it’s not far from it. Just past Lake Louise, you can drive into Yoho National Park and take in all the beauty there.

Emerald Lake is one of the most turquoise lakes I’ve ever seen and rivals Lake Moraine and Lake Louise in beauty. It’s definitely a must-visit spot in the Canadian Rockies. If you had canoeing on your bucket list, enjoy canoeing on Emerald Lake for a fraction of the price of Lake Louise or Moraine Lake.

Go Deep in the Backcountry on Horseback

Banff Trail Riders

Banff Trail Riders is a local company that can take visitors deep into the backcountry via horseback in the summer. It’s one of those bucket list experiences I would recommend to anyone who genuinely wants to live out those old Western dreams. We spent a week in the backcountry with Banff Trail Riders, which was marvelous.

Horseback Riding in Banff With Banff Trail Riders

Obviously, we know that not everyone has the kind of time for a multiple-day trip on horseback, but if riding a horse still interests you, we can’t recommend this one-hour ride along the Bow River enough!

Canoe on Vermilion Lakes

Banff in July

There are plenty of lakes to canoe on in Banff National Park. The closest one to town is Vermilion Lakes which sits right below beautiful Mount Rundle and is fun to canoe on. There are always some curious ducks and geese on the water, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a beaver.

Hike the Beehive Circuit

Banff in July

The Big Beehive and Little Beehive are two of the most popular hikes in all of Banff National Park and hiking them is one of the best things to do in Banff. While the trail often feels far from being in the wilderness, the surreal views make up for anything you can say negatively about the hike.

The greater “Beehive Circuit” makes for a tremendous day out for beginner to intermediate hikers with spectacular views and a solid challenge. Read all about the Beehive circuit here.

Go for a Hike in Kananaskis

Mount Smutwood Hike

There is plenty of hiking to do in Banff, don’t get us wrong. But for a change of views, it’s a great idea to do one or two hikes in Kananaskis Country. A few of our favorites are Smutwood Peak, Tent Ridge, and Sarrail Ridge.

Walk Across the Golden Skybridge

If you are keen to venture a bit outside of Banff or plan on embarking on a road trip to Revelstoke or Vancouver, it’s worth it to stop at one of our favorite towns – Golden!

Golden is about 45 minutes away from Emerald Lake and Yoho National Park. There’s plenty of things to do in Golden, but their newest attraction is the Golden Skybridge.

It’s not every day you can walk 426 feet above a vast canyon. Surrounded by the Columbia Valley, walking across this Skybridge while a river and waterfall crash below you is memorable. It’s one of the best things to do in the area with families.

Head Up the Banff Gondola


 The Banff Gondola gets you to the top of Sulphur Mountain in just eight minutes and climbs to 2281 meters (7486 ft) above sea level. It’s unlikely you’ve ever climbed 698 meters so quick in your life!

Once at the top, you’ll have panoramic views of the Bow Valley and down toward Banff, with Cascade Mountain looming above it.

In July, this is one of the most popular things to do and you can expect it to be very busy here. We recommend booking the 8am time slot or later in the evening after 6pm so you can catch the evening light up here. If you’re up for a short walk, make sure to walk to the end of the boardwalk!

Catch Sunrise at Moraine Lake

moraine lake sunrise

It’s not possible to drive to Moraine Lake anymore for sunrise, so if catching the sun rising over the Ten Peaks is on your bucket list, you’ll have to make alternative plans. The Moraine Lake Bus Company is a shuttle service that starts as early as 4am in the summer, bringing people up Moraine Lake Rd so they can witness a special sunrise.

However if you want something a bit more exciting, Radventures runs an Earlybird Explorer Tour that brings visitors up to Moraine Lake for sunrise. You’ll spend two hours at Moraine Lake taking photos and walking the lakeshore, before heading to Lake Louise early in the morning before crowds arrive. Radventures picks up and drops off at hotels in Banff.

Drive the Icefields Parkway

Waterfowl Lakes in September
Waterfowl Lakes on the Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway, or Hwy 93, is a scenic drive between Banff and Jasper with visitors flocking from around the world to see it. It’s been frequently referred to as one of the best drives in the entire world, and after driving it many times, we have to agree.

In July, you can expect the Icefields Parkway to be very busy, so we recommend an early start (6am) to beat some of the crowds and make the most out of your day. There are many stops along the Icefields Parkway, and even with a full day, it’s unlikely you’ll get to most of them. If you have time, we recommend booking an Icefields Parkway hotel, like the Glacier View Lodge, to split up your day.

**If you don't have your own set of wheels in Banff, this is a great tour that will bring you as far as Peyto Lake!

Admire Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake is a dazzling blue lake in Banff that is the third most visited in Banff after Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. Parks Canada recently completed renovations in 2021, and now there is a beautifully updated viewing platform to see the fox-shaped lake from. If you’re driving the Icefields Parkway, stopping here is a must.

Hike Parker Ridge

Speaking of the Icefields Parkway, if you plan to drive between Banff to Jasper, it’s well worth it to leave a few extra hours open in your schedule to hike Parker Ridge.

Parker Ridge is an easy hike in Banff that provides stunning views of the Saskatchewan Glacier. Seriously, it’s rare that I am rewarded with such beautiful views for low effort.

Guided Glacier Hike on The Athabasca with IceWalks

athabasca glacier

While it’s certainly possible to book the Ice Explorer vehicles and let them do all the heavy lifting to you to the foot of a glacier, we think it’s more fun to walk on Athabasca Glacier instead. This half day guided glacier hike will get you close to glaciers, and allow you to walk on the ice with microspikes.

eBike and Hike

johnston canyon - banff

You may have heard of Johnston Canyon, which is one of the most popular trails in all the Canadian Rockies. While it’s possible to drive to the trailhead, there’s not much fun in that!

Instead, we recommend an eBike & Hike tour, where you can bike along the Bow Valley Parkway before hiking along the Johnston Canyon trail. This half-day tour combines the thrill of e-biking along scenic routes that will take you past Vermilion Lakes, Legacy Trail forests, and onto the Bow Valley Parkway before you reach the trailhead.

Summit Cascade Mountain

Summit of Cascade Mountain with Lake Minnewanka behind me.

For those that walk down Banff Avenue and see that massive mountain in front of their eyes and think, “can I climb that?” – this one for you. That mountain is Cascade Mountain, and you can summit it in a day.

A very long day, but a day nonetheless. Summiting Cascade Mountain will require you to embark on a 20km+ day with over 1500 meters of elevation gain.

Once at the top though, you’ll have fantastic views of the Bow Valley and Lake Minnewanka. There is some light scrambling involved to summit Cascade, so it’s best reserved for those with experience hiking in the Rockies.

rent a campervan in the Rockies

Mt Norquay Chairlift

mt norquay summer chairlift - banff chairlift

The Mt. Norquay summer chairlift is what we consider one of Banff’s hidden gems, with many visitors overlooking it for more popular gondolas in the area. However, it is one of the best things to add to your Banff itinerary when visiting Banff this summer.

With great views of the Town of Banff and Mount Rundle, you can point out your favorite restaurants, hotels, and shops from a new perspective. The top of the Mt. Norquay chairlift allows you to enjoy time outside in nature, all while appreciating the views of your favorite peaks with minimal effort. If you want a bit more adventure, we highly recommend booking the Mt. Norquay Via Ferrata!

Check availability for the Mount Norquay Chairlift

Lake Minnewanka Cruise

Devil's Gap
Devil’s Gap

With long days and glorious weather, cruises on Lake Minnewanka are in full swing in July. The hour-long panoramic cruise heads to Devil’s Gap at the end of Lake Minnewanka and back. It’s a unique natural feature that looks out to the east and the plains of Alberta while enveloped in a mountain amphitheater.

As you cruise you are pretty much guaranteed great mountain vistas while you cruise across the blue water. Along the way, a guide will share stories about the area and land’s importance to the Stoney Nakoda people.

Stay at a Banff Cabin

horseback riding banff

Although my favorite time to enjoy a cozy Banff cabin is in the winter, it’s still pretty awesome to stay in one in the summer.

Who doesn’t love sleeping in a log cabin surrounded by Goliath mountains, without modern annoyances like WiFi? Get into the backcountry at Skoki Lodge or Halfway Lodge or enjoy a more catered experience at Baker Creek and Storm Mountain.

Pros and Cons of Visiting Banff in July


  • Beautiful summer weather
  • All lakes are thawed and bright blue!
  • Moraine Lake is accessible.
  • Long, warm, and sunny days.
  • Biking and hiking season in full swing.
  • Canada Day celebrations!


  • Busy, busy, busy!
  • Expensive and booked up – reserve your hotels in advance!
  • Chance of wildfire smoke

Where to Stay in Banff in July

The Rimrock

Is a super great pet-friendly option in Banff. It’s close to Sulphur Mountain and the Banff Hot Springs. It’s one of the most popular places to stay in Banff, so book it in advance.

Check Rates


Fairmont Lake Louise

Easily the most famous and most expensive place to stay in the park. Primarily because it’s the only hotel on Lake Louise. Truly a once in a lifetime stay.

Check Rates

Emerald Lake Lodge

One of the most sought after places to stay is Emerald Lake Lodge on Emerald Lake. It’s the only place to stay in the area and will provide stunning views of Emerald Lake at sunrise and sunset!

Check Rates

the malcolm

The Malcolm Canmore

If you opt to stay in Canmore you can stay at one of the most amazing hotels in the Rockies for less than you would pay in Banff. Their pool views of the Three Sisters is worth the stay alone.

Check Rates

Hopefully, this helped you determine if you want to visit Banff in July.

If you have any other questions leave a comment or see our Canadian Rockies travel guide for more articles about photography spots, lakes, hikes, and everything else.

Plan Your Trip to the Canadian Rockies

  • Tours (New in 2024): The Banff Blog is partnering with one of the leading tour companies in Western Canada so readers can experience the magic of the Rockies with other travelers – without having to think about a thing. See all our 2024 tour offerings here!
  • Get to Banff or Canmore Without a Car: The Banff Airporter provides fantastic service connecting you from the Calgary International Airport (YYC) to Banff or Canmore.
  • Get Around: We suggest renting a car to get around. You can search for rental cars on Or embark on an epic campervan trip. We like to compare prices on Motorhome Republic and Outdoorsy.
  • Cheaper Airfare: We also use Going to watch for cheap airfare deals!
  • Hop On, Hop Off: This tour is taking Banff by storm. It’s exactly what it sounds like, hop on and off a bus bound for all the best attractions at your own pace!

↓ Join the community ↓

The Banff Blog Facebook Group is your headquarters for Canadian Rockies travel advice and information, including hike and off-season travel information. You can also meet new adventure buddies.

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About Natasha

Natasha calls Canmore, Alberta home. After traveling across seven continents and 90 countries with Cameron, she settled down in the stunning Canadian Rockies. She loves to help others travel and make their planning easier. She is a winter enthusiast and loves to snowboard, ice skate, and snowshoe and enjoy all the fantastic summer opportunities in Banff like hiking, scrambling, and biking. You can find her in the mountains or enjoying a coffee by the river. Learn more on the about us page!

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