Planning to visit Banff in March and curious to know what to expect? We have you covered! Banff in March means it’s still very much winter, while some of Canada is starting to warm up and head into Spring it doesn’t exactly happen in the Canadian Rockies. That doesn’t mean March is the wrong time to visit though! There’s still so much to do in Banff in March, especially if you enjoy things like skiing and snowboarding. So what will the weather be like and what should you pack? Let’s dig in!
Things to Know Before Visiting Banff in March
What’s the Weather Like in Banff in March
The average temperature of Banff National Park in March creeps above freezing (finally) up to around 4°C. The sun shines over the mountains this time of year (12 hours a day) the snow glistens, and signs of spring can be seen in less snowy places come late March. There’s still plenty of snow left on the slopes so ski season is still in full swing. Depending on the year you may have a dry March, but we’ve seen the powder days in the mountains during the month. Come expecting a few blizzards – or maybe not – hard to tell in the mountains.
All that being said, the nights in the Rockies still drop to below zero. The weather can be pretty varied, so make sure you bring plenty of layers. Feel like going ice climbing? March is a good time of year to do it! The lakes are still well frozen too so great winter activities like ice-skating and dog sledding are still in full swing.
If you’re renting a car you’ll want to know how to drive in the snow, there’s still plenty of it on the road in March. Prepare for all types of weeather in March, somee days are beautiful with the sun shining and some days it will be blizzarding.
What to Pack for Banff in March?
March is very much still winter in the Canadian Rockies and you’ll need to pack for the occasion. That means layers and layers. You’ll want a winter jacket, thermals, and boots as a basis. Don’t bother with any sort of summer clothing, you won’t be needing it here.
Here’s a basic list to go off. The left column is for general winter packing and the right is if partaking in snow sports
- Winter Down Jacket
- Casual Pants
- 1 x Top Base Layer
- 1 x Bottom Base Layer
- 2-3 x Wool Sports Bra
- 2-3 x Wool Ski Socks
- Warm Hat
- Winter Boots
- 1 x Mid-Layer Jacket
- 1 x Shell Jacket
- 1 x Shell Pants
- 1 x Insulated Jacket*
- 1 x Snow Pants*
- 1 x Mitts or Gloves
- 1 x Balaclava
- 1 x Buff Headwear
- 1 x Goggles (if skiing or snowboarding)
- 1 x Helmet* (if skiing or snowboarding)
Can You Visit Lake Louise in March?
Like January and February, you can still skate on Lake Louise, snowshoe around the lake, or enjoy a dog sled ride. If you like the snow and feeling like you are inside a snowglobe March is an excellent time to visit Lake Louise. It’s definitely not a bad time to travel to Lake Louise Ski Resort if you’re a powder hound. The Canadian Rockies have great spring skiing come later March and you’ll likely still get great powder days during the month.
Things to do in Banff in March
Ski/Snowboard Big Mountain Terrain
Snowboarding at all of the SkiBig3 resorts was our primary reason for heading to Banff in the winter (before we moved). SkiBig3 is a collection of three mountain resorts all within Banff National Park. You have Lake Louise, Banff Sunshine, and Mt. Norquay which are all fantastic and unique ski resorts. Skiing or snowboarding here is one of the best things to do in Banff in the winter. It’s also one of the many reasons we decided to live in the Canadian Rockies, summer mountaineering is pretty awesome too!
Johnston Canyon Ice Walk
The Johnston Canyon walk is the best thing you can do in Banff in the winter for free. Have you ever stood on a frozen waterfall before? Neither had we until the Johnston Canyon hike. Due to the elevation of the region and the sub-zero temperatures of winter the waterfalls of Johnston Canyon freeze in time. It’s a pretty surreal experience and completely accessible for all.Ski/Snowboard Big Mountain Terrain
As a tip, we suggest picking up some ice cleats in town. Although the trail is well managed it can get icy and it’s better to slip everywhere on the trail – ours were very handy! Once you reach the end of the trail and the most impressive frozen fall you’ll probably find some ice climbers. If you’re feeling adventurous book an ice climbing tour yourself!
The wildlife doesn’t leave Banff when summertime goes away. Apart from bears, you’ll find moose, elk, deer, owls, foxes, wolves, and coyotes here all year round. I actually love spotting these animals in the winter more than the summer – they look so much more majestic!
Please remember if you want to pull over to take photos of wildlife to do so safely and make sure you are out of the way of traffic.
Lake Minnewanka is a glacial lake that is just a ten-minute drive away from the town of Banff. This lake is 21 km long and 142 meters deep. In the summer it’s a busy place to hike and go canoeing on, but in the winter it’s a sight to behold. The mountains towering over Lake Minnewanka are seriously impressive all covered in snow.
Enjoy the Town of Banff
If you want a day of shopping, cappuccinos, and breweries stay in the town of Banff and enjoy a day of walking around. Banff Ave has tons of restaurants, boutique shops, and cheesy souvenir stores to entertain all.