BEST Time to Visit Banff in 2024? (All Questions Answered)

The best time to visit Banff is between June and early October for the best weather, and between December and April if you love winter. However, with some stunning scenery to behold all year round, you can’t ever go wrong with a trip to the Canadian Rockies.

Whether you like skiing and snowboarding or you simply want to hike around mountain trails and camp out under the stars, Banff is a dreamy destination of imposing mountains, glassy lakes, and storming waterfalls. We fell in love so much the first time we visited we ended up moving here!

If you are wondering when the best time to visit Banff is, you need to wonder no more. We’ve got it all figured out for you: that means everything from temperatures and snowfall, to things to do, and the best events and festivals that Banff has to offer during each month. We’ve experienced these mountains for years now, and can tell you what you can expect during each month, which our own personal photos to showcase what your trip may look like.

Here is a month-by-month breakdown of the weather in Banff.

When is the Best Time to Visit Banff?

Click the individual month posts to get an idea of what there is to do in Banff around that time and all other further info you will need.

The Best Time to Visit Banff – Quick Sheet

The Best Time to Visit Banff Quick Sheet

Weather in Banff in January

Goat Pond
Ice skating on Goat Pond in January

In short, January in Banff means it’s cold, and there’s plenty of snow. However, the frequent snowfalls during the month make peaks like Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain stunning as they’re draped in sheets of white.

It’s also the perfect time to hit the slopes at Lake Louise, Mt. Norquay, and Banff Sunshine. January is one of the best times to visit the Canadian Rockies and go skiing and snowboarding in Banff National Park. Outside of the few days around the New Year celebrations, the ski resorts are relatively quiet as it is not peak season, and there are a very few holiday crowds after the first week of January passes by.

However, it’s cold and snowy. Average daytime temperatures are -5°C, and the nights drop to around -10°C or colder. Despite the cold, there’s plenty of sunshine and not a lot of wind. Crisp, cool conditions for winter sports, we’d say. That being said, we receive chinooks in the winter, where temperatures fluctuate between mild winter temperatures and extreme ones that reach below -30C. Pack warm clothing!

Banff Weather in February

Winter in Banff Best Time To Visit Banff

Things are getting warmer for Banff in February. Ok, we’re kidding, as the average temperature is between -1°C and -5°C (but it can get colder). It’s definitely one of the coldest times to visit Banff and one of the best times to visit the Canadian Rockies for winter sports.

Canadians and international tourists alike are now showing up for their winter adventures, so you may find high season prices. Especially during Family Week when the towns of Canmore and Banff fill up with visitors and the ski resorts can be busy – especially on weekends. It’s still manageable though, and nothing like the big ski resorts like Whistler, Breckenridge, Aspen, Park City, or Mammoth.

Nights are still super cold, hovering at -10°C or even lower; this makes it perfect for sitting around a cozy fireside at a Banff cabin in the evenings. Snowfall is a little unpredictable. Some winters, it’s heavy and can provide epic powder days, while other Februarys have seen little snowfall.

Nevertheless, you should be prepared for winter in Banff with proper winter clothing. However, most of the time, it’s at least going to be sunny, with about ten hours of daylight. It’s still a great time of year to spend days on the slopes and nights back at the lodge warming up. If you’re into winter sports like nordic skiing or ice climbing, it is a great time to visit as temperatures stay well under freezing.

Weather in Banff in March

snowboarding at Lake Louise Ski Resort
Lake Louise in March

The average temperature in Banff 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, people), the snow glistens, and signs of spring can be seen in less snowy places. Though we typically know this is Alberta playing tricks on us.

Thanks to the heavy snow on the slopes, ski season is still in full swing; there’s usually much less snowfall than there has been, though, but we’ve seen the powder days in the mountains during the month. We’re in the midst of a blizzard, as I updated this article in March.

Natasha Splitboard on Taylor Lake
Skinning to Taylor Lake in March

That said, the nights in the Rockies still drop to below zero. Being the start of spring, 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.

Weather in Banff in April

Grotto Canyon in late April
Grotto Canyon in late April

Spring is sorta starting to show up in Banff in April! Those cool temperatures of winter are almost all but gone, with the average temperature being 11°C. Amazing. Be warned; cold snaps of 6°C or lower are still pretty common… and nights are still below freezing.

lake louise in april
Lake Louise, first week of April

So it’s not exactly warm, but it’s definitely getting that way. You may be switching out your Canada Goose jacket for a packable down jacket. With the longer days, it really does feel like spring is here day after day.

Ha Ling in April
Ha Ling in April

It’s a good time to visit Banff if you like snowboarding and skiing since there’s still a lot of snow around; we even get the occasional powder day! Lake Louise and Banff Sunshine have some of the longest seasons in North America and don’t close until at least May – so if you want to extend the ski season, head here. The ski is reliable in April in Banff.

Banff Gondola mid-April
Banff Gondola mid-April

April is pretty popular this time of year for off-piste tracks, and backcountry skiing as the spring brings stability to the snowpack. Just make sure you know the avalanche risks; the warmer temperatures bring variable conditions throughout the day.

Northern Lights in Canmore in April
The Aurora over Canmore in April

It was in April 2019 that three world-class alpinists lost their lives to an Avalanche in Banff National Park. Make sure you check any conditions before heading out.

Weather in Banff in May

Canmore in May
Canmore on May 5th!

Things really start to get pretty lovely in Banff in May. Temperatures increase, and the sun shines over the land. The mercury hits the mid-teens during May, on average, and the sun doesn’t set till after 8 pm. There can still be a dusting of snowfall in May, especially in higher altitudes, but generally, this is what you’d call pleasant weather.

Sulphur Mountain
Hiking Sulphur Mountain in early May

Banff Sunshine and Lake Louise Ski Resort are still open until mid-May, among the longest-running ski seasons in North America. You might get the very odd powder day too, but for the most part, it’s a little slushy and you should expect spring conditions. The glacier lakes will not be thawed yet, so if you’re coming to Banff expecting to see the amazing blue lakes, you should wait another month.

It’s not the best time to visit Lake Louise either. The famous lake is still frozen, and the access road to the iconic Lake Moraine is not open yet.

Bow Falls in May
Bow Falls in May

Rainfall in May increases to about 50mm – still not that much. At high elevation, this means snow-capped mountains. At lower elevation, you’ll be reaching for a rain jacket. The wildlife is waking up from its winter slumber, and a few mountain hikes are doable now.

Though you should check trail reports if you’ll need poles and crampons still. We hiked Sulphur Mountain last year in May, and it was still very snowy, and the low-elevation hikes are very muddy from melting snow. A nice May hike in Kananaskis Country would be Barrier Lake Lookout.

It’s still low season in Banff, and not quite camping weather quite yet. However, some Banff campsites are open and ready to accept visitors; just make sure to bring a sleeping bag rated for freezing temperatures.

Banff in May means it’s your last chance to see many of the sights without the summer crowds. It’s shoulder season now, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing to do. Toward the beginning of the month it’s possible to still go skiing. However if you are over the skiing and ready for something else, May is officially the start of bike season. Mountain biking trails are getting better and better the further we go into the month, and May is a great time to ride the famous Legacy Trail.

The bad news? Many glacial lakes like Lake Louise won’t be completely thawed yet, and Moraine Lake Road is not open.

Weather in Banff in June

Mt St Piran
Hiking Mount Saint Piran in June
Little Beehive Hike
Little Beehive in June

It’s sort of getting into summer by the time June arrives in Banff. June is officially the end of the ski season (boo), but that doesn’t mean that Banff isn’t without anything to do (yay).

Vermilion Lakes

It’s a good time of year to visit Banff for hiking; the trails start to get popular in June. Though many are still a little wet and muddy and the high-elevation ones will still have snow. However, even though day temperatures are pretty high (we’re talking highs of 21°C), once the sun goes down, it’s still very cold, hovering just above 2°C. It’s a good idea to bring some wet weather clothes since there’s the chance of getting caught in a shower.

The good news is the glacier lakes have just thawed. Lake Moraine access road opens by early June, and you’ll finally be able to see the majestic body of water. The bad news? Crowds are here and more are coming.

By mid-June, parking at some of the main sites becomes an issue, and you’ll definitely need to secure camping spaces early during this time. Prices in Banff creep up, up, and up, but it’s still not as bad as July.

Weather in Banff in July

Peyto Lake in July
Peyto Lake in July

July is, without a doubt, one of the best times to visit Banff. It is a beautiful summer month in Banff. Rainfall is low, and if you’re lucky, your vacation will be filled with sunshine and long days.

Banff Trail Riders
Backcountry horseback trip in July

As such, the town and the national park are filled with visitors who want to come and experience Banff’s beautiful nature for themselves. Camping, enjoying the wildlife, hiking – everything’s on offer. You’ll need reservations for the popular camping spots, and if you’re staying at a Banff hotel you’ll be paying high prices for it.

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.

Hiking The Onion in August (Banff)
Hiking The Onion in August

All that sunshine and melting snow have made the mountainsides a lush carpet of greenery, and by mid-July, the wildflowers are in bloom. There’s also a lot of sunshine – about 16 hours a day, meaning the sun doesn’t set until about 10 p.m. Clear, cloudless skies at night equal great stargazing conditions, but bring some layers – it’s about 7°C at night.

Most of the trails are completely snow-free. Though if you want to scramble Mount Temple, you may have to wait another month to do so, depending on the snowpack.

Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake on Canada Day

Crowds, on the other hand, are a little out of hand. With neverending images of Lake Louise and Lake Moraine on Instagram, you’ll be hard-pressed to find parking at Lake Louise between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Yes, I’m serious. It’s best to use the Lake Louise shuttle to get to Lake Louise.

Wildfire smoke and wildfires can present an issue, and every year it seems to be a gamble if it will affect Banff. Even if there are no wildfires in the area, smoke from the US or elsewhere in Canada can easily blow in and affect visibility. There’s no way to predict if or when this will happen in advance, it’s all dependent on the winds. Checking smoke forecasts on is the best you’ll get.

wildfire smoke in Canmore
wildfire smoke in Canmore mid-July

Head away from the popular places to escape the crowds. There’s a lot to explore in Banff National Park, but everyone always seems to head to the same spot. Spread out, and you’ll easily find yourself alone in nature. If you do enough digging on this website, you’ll see what I’m talking about. 😉

Weather in Banff in August

Mount Jimmy Simpson Scramble
Looking down on Bow Lake

The warmest weather of the year in Banff is in August, so if you’re looking for the best time to visit Banff, it’s this month – that’s if you prefer hiking to skiing, of course.

The park is alive with flowers and overflowing with nature. Nights can still get quite cold, though, around 7°C, so you might want a sweater or something warm to wear for the evenings, but days can climb to the mid to high – twenties.

Cascade Mountain
The summit of Cascade Mountain in August

There are some fantastic views to be had from the mountainsides in August; the visibility is impressive since the air is relatively free of clouds. Just hope that wildfires haven’t started and that it’s a smoke-free summer. If there have been fires in BC and in the US, it will likely affect Banff, and the air will be hazy and your views will be limited. The Oregon and California fires of 2020 and 2021 had the Canadian Rockies hazy and orangish for over a week, not to mention the exceptionally poor air quality, making it hard to go on adventures outside.

Wind Ridge Hike
Hiking with some smoke in early August in 2023

If you’re a fan of mountain biking, then August may just be one of the best months to go to Banff for you. It’s safe to say that most of Banff’s hiking and scrambling trails are now good to go. Snow-free in most places, so it’s the time to go for the big mountain hikes, scrambles, climbs, and mountaineering objectives.

However, if you thought July is busy, you haven’t seen August. With school holidays and everyone getting their summer on, you’ll still see many people around the town of Banff and main sites. Hopefully, you’ve figured out where you want to stay in Banff and have booked your hotels and campsites well in advance.

Weather in Banff in September

Weather in Banff in September
Hiking among the larches in Banff

Things begin to cool off slightly in Banff in September, but it’s still relatively warm… for Banff, that is. The average temperature is around 18°C, but nights – as always – can feel quite cold. September is the start of fall.

You know what that means: the town and the park start to change colors to a golden palette, making it a beautiful time of year to visit (and my personal favorite). If you want to see the golden larches, it’s best to plan your visit for the last weeks of September; here are the best hikes!

Weather in Banff in September

There are generally fewer tourists than during the summer months, but you will still have loads of people visiting for Labor Day and chasing the larches in late September.

Weather in Banff in September

There are still plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy now. Hiking is still in full swing – we hiked back to Assiniboine in late September a few years ago, and it remains one of the most epic adventures of our life. Fall in Banff means weather can be changeable, so make sure you check the forecast before heading out on an adventure (and be prepared with waterproofs).

Weather in Banff in October

Halloween in Banff
Banff Halloween photoshoot
Lake Louise in Mid - October - before it freezes
Lake Louise in Mid – October – before it freezes

There’s still plenty of sunshine in Banff in October, but it’s most definitely fall weather. Early October means it could still be larch season and a good time to go hiking! Our last big mountain scramble of last year was October 8th, then we stuck to lower-elevation hikes. The temperature, on average, is about 10°C, and after dark, it can drop below freezing.

Taylor Lake Early October
Lake Minnewanka

There can be instances of light rain and even snow across the month, but it’s still pleasant enough for hiking in the hills and the valleys in the early days.

Castle Mountain in October

Later in the month, snow starts to fall. There’ll be lots of snowfall on the mountain summits, especially around Lake Louise and up the Icefields Parkway. Though October starts like fall – with fall foliage still around – the month ends feeling like winter, with more snow and fog. In 2020, Lake Louise Ski Resort even opened up before Halloween!

Weather in Banff in November

banff in November
Weather in Banff in November
Skating on Johnson Lake in early November

November in Banff is a changeable month with a mix of sunshine and snow, but generally, the temperatures are much cooler than they have been. These plummet to an average of 3°C and at nighttime, even -10°C. It’s definitely no longer fall in November. This is a shoulder season month with very few visitors. Locals enjoy the quiet atmosphere in the towns. This means it’s a great time to score a deal on Banff accommodation, and even the Banff restaurants have specials on throughout the month.

November marks the official start of the ski season in Banff, and you’ll find SkiBig3 resorts open, but the runs will likely only be visited by locals.

Lake Louise in November
Lake Louise in November

Few tourists are here in November, meaning no crowds and low prices. However, if you want to see the beautiful blue lakes in their splendor, you’ll be disappointed, and you should expect winter conditions almost everywhere in Banff.

The lakes are all pretty much frozen now. Grab some ice skates as November is the best time to skate on the natural lakes before the snow covers them.

Weather in Banff in December

Best Time To Visit Banff - Lake Louises in December
Banff Gondola in December
Up the Banff Gondola on Christmas Eve

December is decidedly cold in Banff. In fact, some of the coldest weather of the year is in December. If you were wondering, the average temperature is about -4°C, so yeah, it’s frigid. After dark, it plummets to -10.

Expect snow and fog and only a few hours of sunshine a day; it’s pretty cloudy. One upside to the gloomy weather is that skiing and snowboarding is now in full swing, which becomes much more popular over Christmas and New Year.

The sun sets around 4:30 pm this time of year, which means less time outside and more time by the fire, sipping coffee, and enjoying the holidays in a picturesque mountain town.

Being the holidays, it’s a popular time to visit Banff. Visitors flock here to spend their Christmas in a winter wonderland. Still, it’s not too busy compared to summer, and the Christmas cheer is in the air. It’s a wonderful time to visit Banff, as you are almost guaranteed a white Christmas! (If it isn’t then we have a serious problem in the world).

Festivals in Banff

Winter Festivals in Banff

Banff Christmas Market
Enjoying the Banff Christmas Market at Warner Stables

December is awash with festivals in Banff. Obviously, there’s Christmas, the run-up to New Year, and the general holiday season fun, but there are also some cool events to check out too.

New Year in Banff is super fun. New Year’s Eve means fun events at Centennial Park in Canmore as well as sleigh rides and events spread around the town; Banff Avenue is packed with food stalls and live music.

As the new year starts, January means the Ice Magic Festival. Super-skilled people somehow create some amazing ice sculptures that can be found on the shores of Lake Louise. There’s also SnowDays. Towards the end of the month (roughly the same time as Ice Magic), the 12-day-long SnowDays sees a load of snow sculptures take to the streets of Banff for a winter wonderland kind of feel. Both festivals attract many people to see the sculptures.

Spring Festivals in Banff

Sunshine Slush Cup
Dan Evans + Banff Sunshine Village

The Arc’Teryx Canmore Ice Climbing Festival at the beginning of March kicks off the spring with a variety of clambering for climbers of various levels. March also sees the Lake Louise Junior Big Mountain Challenge, where young free-skiers compete against each other, pulling out all the stops to impress judges.

May means it’s time for the Slush Cup. This happens at Banff Sunshine and is when skiers and snowboarders head down the hill only to jump into slushy water. The event has happened since 1928 and celebrates winter’s last bits when these daring skiers and snowboarders try to stick a landing and ski in the water. If you like running, you might want to be in Banff in June for the Banff Marathon. It’s a grueling task, but being a fundraising event, it’s for a good cause. Want more running? The Banff Jasper Relay Race is also in June, and takes place over 260km.

Summer Festivals in Banff

Calgary Stampede
Calgary Stampede

Summer kicks off in Banff with more active fun. It may not be snowy anymore, but the warmer weather means more outdoor sports.

On July 1, it’s Canada Day. This is celebrated with processions, fireworks, and concerts. If you like your festivities to be less wild and more of a weekly thing, then you’ll like Banff Farmers Market and the Canmore Mountain Market. These farmers markets happen every Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, throughout the summer (from late May to early October, actually) and is the place to go for fresh produce, crafts, and ceramics – as well as food trucks if you get hungry.

Like music? Then head to the funky Canmore Folk Music Festival in August. This is a long weekend of music and mayhem that’s been going on since 1978. Also in August is Doors Open Banff, a time when monuments and historical monuments are open for visitors to enjoy.

Although it’s not in Banff, the Calgary Stampede is a great event to time with your visit to Banff. The world’s largest stampede takes place every year in Calgary, and you’re sure to have a good time and live out your cowboy dreams.

Fall Festivals in Banff

banff in october

September is a great time to visit Banff. Not only are there beautiful colors adorning the mountainside, but there’s some Scottish heritage to be peeped at the Canmore Highland Games. People don kilts and throw massive logs, amongst other things.

Foodies, listen up; Banff Springs Food and Wine Festival, held in October, sees a delicious array of food (and wine) from around the local area offered up, show up, and consumed. For beer, wait till November for the Banff Craft Beer Festival.

November is cold, and the town is getting the town into the holiday spirit, with a Santa Claus parade, illuminations, and tasty food galore. The Banff Christmas Market also starts in November and is a perfect place for some Xmas gifts and decorations (complete with caroling). 

When is the Best Season to Visit Banff National Park?

High season (June-September, December-February)

Mount Allan Hike
Hiking in the Summer

Banff National Park has a high season for winter enthusiasts and those after that perfect North American summer getaway. The first is much quieter than its summer counterpart, but around the holidays, the prices rise, and crowds flock to Banff. Those after a ski vacation and who visit Banff in February will see the ski runs become busier. During these two winter times, you’ll find higher accommodation prices.

However, that’s nothing compared to summertime in Banff. Numbers balloon between June and August, and while I would love to say that because of this, it’s not a good time to visit, however I would be lying. July and August bring about the best weather in the park. Long days and sunshine await you during the summer.

The wildflowers are in full bloom, and it’s a great time for anyone looking for a summer adventure. It’s my favorite time to be in the Bow Valley – there is truly nothing like a Canadian Rockies summer. However, the crowds can be a bit insane at Lake Louise, Peyto Lake, and Lake Moraine – you’ll have to work and think harder to get away from crowds in the summer.

Shoulder Season (May, October)

Taylor Lake in October

The shoulder season months are still a wonderful time to visit Banff National Park. As mentioned, May can still be pretty wintery, and there is still snow on the ground. The glacier lakes will be frozen, but the summer crowds have not appeared, making it a great time to visit Banff.

If chasing the fall and seeing the yellow larches are the thing you’ll want to visit in late September and October. After Labor Day, the crowds start to fizzle out as the kiddies go back to school and summer vacations are over.

However when the larches come out in late September, you’ll find more visitors to the park, and you’ll still have a hard time getting camping reservations in September.

Hiking is still great, as the winter gods haven’t dumped snow yet in September and early October. As the snow starts to pile up in the mountains, options dwindle, and the lakes begin to freeze.

Low Season (November, Late March, April) 

banff ice skating

These are generally cold, cloudy, and what some may call “meh” months. Unless you like the winter, snowboarding and skiing, ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and all that other fun snow stuff.

If you’re a winter person, this is a great time to visit Banff. Low numbers of tourists, low prices, and plenty of snow in March and April! The snowpack in November though is generally low and not perfect for winter sports. That being said, we have skied here in October, but I would never plan a trip around it! The good news is if you are a Northern Lights chaser it is possible to see them during these months!

Is Banff Crowded in the Summer?

Lake Agnes Tea House in summer
Lake Agnes Tea House in summer

In short, yes, Banff is crowded in the summer, particularly between June and September. If you’re after a true crowd-free experience, it’s best to visit Banff in the winter or shoulder seasons.

Does it Rain A Lot in Banff?

Hiking on Tent Ridge

I suppose rain isn’t the right word. Let’s call it precipitation. It snows a lot in Banff, particularly in the winter. Thankfully it doesn’t rain that much in Banff, but your highest chances for rain are in the shoulder season months.

You can expect a little rain in late April, May, and October. Come prepared with warm weather clothes and a good rain jacket. All that being said, a little rain is not a bad thing! It’s very dry in the Rockies, so much that there can be wildfires, and rain helps alleviate that problem.

When is the Best Time to Visit Banff for Good Weather?

Mount Jimmy Simpson Scramble
Hiking in August

It depends. If good weather for you is a winter wonderland, then the best time to visit Banff is between December and March.

If good weather for you means sunshine and long days, then the best time to visit Banff is July and August.

When is the Best Time to Visit Banff for Skiing and Snowboarding?

Snowboarding at Lake Louise Ski Resort

The ski season in Banff is in full swing between Late November and Late April. The best powder is between December and March, but spring skiing is quite good in late March and April. I particularly like skiing in Banff the best in December before the holidays and crowds arrive.

When is the Best Time to Visit Lake Louise and Lake Moraine?

Lake Louise
Canoeing on Lake Louise in June

This also depends. I think Lake Louise is magical in the winter. It’s covered in snow, there are ice sculptures at the Chateau Lake Louise. You can walk on the lake or take a sleigh ride around Lake Louise. However, there is pretty much no hiking during this time. Also, Lake Louise is frigid in the winter.

If you want to see the baby blue Lake Louise, you’ll need to visit between June and September. If you’re lucky, you may be able to see Lake Louise in early October covered in snow, but still thawed.

Moraine Lake is only accessible when they clear the access road to it in late May/early June. Parks Canada closes the Moraine Lake Rd by mid-October, so unless you want to cross-country ski or snowshoe in 12km (only recommended to those with avalanche knowledge), you’re only time to see Moraine Lake is between these times.

Parking at these locations between June and early September is absolutely bonkers. There are few spots and plenty of people that want to visit. If you want a parking spot at Lake Louise, you’ll need to get there well before 7 a.m. However there are new parking restrictions in place this year, so brush up on the rules here.

What Time of Year Can You See the Northern Lights in Banff?

The best time to see the Northern Lights in Banff is in the winter. Northern Lights viewing is best between December and March. See our guide to viewing the aurora in Banff here.

When is the Best Time to Visit Banff for Hiking?

Mount Jimmy Simpson Scramble
Scrambling Mount Jimmy Simpson in August

Hiking season starts around Banff and Canmore in mid-April. Most peaks at elevation will still have snow on them, so spikes and hiking poles are recommended. Grassi Lakes, Grotto Canyon, and Johnston Canyon are all nice low elevation hikes that are great year-round. Sulphur Mountain is also an excellent year-round hike.

Although you can hike in April and May, hiking season doesn’t really ramp up until June. Some of the more serious peaks should be saved until late June, maybe even July depending on the year. You can bet anything above 10,000 ft will have snow on it until mid/late July. These should only be attempted by people with proper hiking and scrambling experience.

Mount Temple, the only 11,000er in the Canadian Rockies that doesn’t require mountaineering experience to the summit, has a short climbing window, and is typically best attempted in August.

When is the Best Time To Go to Banff for Wildlife?


There’s wildlife all year in the Canadian Rockies. In the winter, you’ll likely see a lot of elk and goats. If you’re lucky, you might come across a moose or a coyote. Maybe even a wolf (though unlikely).

Summertime means bear season. Come mid-April, the bears start to wake up, and bear spray should be carried on any hike. Look out for the black bears and grizzlies, but do so safely. Do not approach wildlife in Banff. View them quickly from the safety of your car, and then move on. Don’t create a traffic jam by taking photos of a bear for twenty minutes.

All year, you’ll also have a chance to see foxes, owls, and plenty of birds. Look out for the bunnies of Canmore as well!

12 Bear Safety Tips • How To Hike In Bear Country

When is the Cheapest Time to Visit Banff?

Ha Ling Peak Summit
Ha Ling Summit in April

The cheapest time to visit Banff is during the low season months. This is November, March, April, and early May. Banff is not a cheap destination, so if you’re looking for a deal on accommodation, these months are your best months, though I would never say rates are rock bottom.

Another budget alternative is to get a group of people together for a campervan trip. See our best tips on saving money in Banff here.

How Many Days Do You Need to See Banff?

This is a tough question to answer. We have lived here for years and our list gets longer every day. However I think the average visitor needs at least 5 days, but preferably a week, to get the most out of a trip to Banff. Check out our weeklong Banff itinerary!

When is the Best Time to Visit Banff for Larches?

Larches inBanff

Every year is different in the Canadian Rockies, and the time the larch needles change from green to yellow depends on several factors.

That being said, you can typically count on frolicking through a sea of golden goodness by the third week of September every year. By the second week of October, most larch needles have dropped, and winter is approaching fast. If you are basing a whole trip around seeing the golden larches, I suggest planning a trip between September 20th and October 5th – give or take a few days.

What Are Some Things to Do in Banff?

Lake Agnes

Oh man where do I start!? There are so many fantastic places to visit in Banff it needs a whole new post. You can also see my favorite things to do in Canmore, my favorite things to do in Banff in the winter, my favorite hikes in Kananaskis, and the best things to do in Jasper National Park.

Where to Stay in Banff

For a small mountain town, Banff has a plethora of accommodation options. Some of our favorites are

Banff Springs Hotel

The most luxurious place to stay in Banff. Definitely a splurge, but worthwhile if you are celebrating a special occasion.

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johnston canyon bungalows
Johnston Canyon Bungalows

Cabins at the base of Johnston Canyon! These are a fantastic getaway for a few nights that will have you away from the noise of Downtown Banff.

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the rimrock hotel
The Rimrock

Is a super great pet friendly option in Banff. It’s close to Sulphur Mountain and the Banff Hot Springs.

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the malcolm
Stay in Canmore!

You can always stay in the nearby town of Canmore! One of our favorite hotels in Canmore is The Malcolm on Policemen’s Creek!

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Hopefully, this helped you determine the best time to go to Banff for you.

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.

↓ Join the community ↓

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

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 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.
  • 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!
About Cameron

Cameron is a resident of Canmore, Alberta. After traveling the world for six years, he settled down in the beautiful Bow Valley with Natasha. He has been featured as a travel expert with numerous publications worldwide and has spoken on several occasions about the power of travel. He has a passion for all things in the Canadian Rockies and loves to spend his time snowboarding, scrambling, camping, biking, and trail running. Conservation is a deep fundamental in his life, and he aims to inspire others to care about our natural world. You can learn more on the about us page.

If you have found the content on this site helpful to your trip planning please consider supporting The Banff Blog. You can say thanks directly by buying us a coffee. All support is much appreciated!

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