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 and hiking is plentiful.
July 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
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. 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. I typically spend my days in shorts and a t-shirt in July, and it’s finally bathing suit season in Banff in July (a very short lived season in the Canadian Rockies).
Is there snow in Banff in July? Thankfully, most of the winter snow has melted and hiking trails are generally snow-free. Though the higher the mountains 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 are 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 by 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 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 even get parking. Though don’t worry – the park is huge and there are plenty of places you can visit without the crowds.
What to Pack for Banff in July?
So 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 night time. 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 do any hiking 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.
Can You Visit Lake Louise in July?
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 hiking trails in the area 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, or plan to park at the overflow parking or take the shuttle in from Banff.
Can You Visit Moraine Lake in July?
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 Mount Temple.
July is prime time at Lake Moraine though. And to guarantee yourself a parking spot at the limited spaces that are available you’ll need to arrive before sunrise. Sometime between 4:30am-5:30am in the summer – yes I’m serious. If you don’t get a coveted parking spot at Lake Moraine in the morning you can wait until midday to try and get in, or your best bet is to wait until the evening.
Things to do in Banff in July
Hike Healy Pass
One of the finest hikes in the Banff National Park is Healy Pass. The hike starting point is a short drive from the town of Banff and climbs a gradual pass until unveiling a pristine alpine meadow.
The meadow is resplendent for hiking and famed for wildflowers 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 around Banff is one of the best things you can do. Whether it’s mountain biking or cycling there are tons of trails to explore. My favorite bike rides are the Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff or biking the Bow Valley Parkway from Banff to Lake Louise.
Head to 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 in beauty with Lake Moraine and Lake Louise. It’s definitely a must-visit spot in the Canadian Rockies.
Go Deep in the Backcountry on Horseback
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 that truly wants to live out those old western dreams. We spent a week in the backcountry with Banff Trail Riders and it was marvelous.
Canoe on Vermilion Lakes
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 so 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
The Big Beehive and Little Beehive are two of the most popular hikes in all of Banff National Park. While the trail often feels far from being in the wilderness the surreal views more than makeup for anything that you can say negative about the hike.
The greater “Beehive Circuit” makes for a tremendous day out for beginner to intermediate hikers with some spectacular views and a solid challenge. Read all about the Beehive circuit here.