Best time to visit Banff & Jasper National Parks

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Banff & Jasper National Parks

Best time of year to visit Banff & Jasper National Parks

Although Banff seems to be a year-round destination with three seasons (cold winter, warm summer, and transition spring and autumn), June to August and December to March are deemed to be the best time to visit Banff. Crowded and warm summers offer stunning views of Moraine and Vermilion Lakes, as they are frozen for most of the year. Hiking and biking is another pure pleasure for nature lovers. Winter is a prime time for skiing, snowshoeing, and skating. Christmas and New Years are the busiest times, getting less crowded and cheaper towards March. Bring sunscreen, as no matter the season, the sun is ruthless in alpine regions. A transition period from April to May is great for witnessing Banff's abundant wildlife and exploring Columbia Icefield, but hiking and driving is limited in some areas. Choose October if you are a passionate stargazer—Jasper Dark Sky Festival won't last forever.

23 THINGS TO DO IN BANFF & JASPER NATIONAL PARKS (SEPTEMBER 19 - SEPTEMBER 28)

Northern Lights

Northern Lights

September–April • nature

National parks are an ideal place to view aurora borealis

Rocky Mountaineer Train

Rocky Mountaineer Train

April–October • activity

This is more than just a train!

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

late June–early October • nature

It's not a 20 dollar view, it's a million dollar view!

Vermilion Lakes Sunrise & Sunset

Vermilion Lakes Sunrise & Sunset

all year round • nature

Everything that happens at Vermilion Lakes becomes an unforgettable experience

Glacier Skywalk

Glacier Skywalk

May–mid-October • activity

Treat yourself to an adrenaline boost high above the ice

Miette Hot Springs

Miette Hot Springs

early May-early October • activity

Nothing is more relaxing than soaking in the hottest mineral pools of the Canadian Rockies

Takakkaw Falls & Twin Falls

Takakkaw Falls & Twin Falls

mid-June–September • nature

The most picturesque part of Yoho National Park

Columbia Icefield, Athabasca Glacier

Columbia Icefield, Athabasca Glacier

mid-April–mid-October • nature

A giant one kilometre wide and six kilometre long tongue of the Athabasca Glacier hidden beyond the mountains

Alberta Highway 40

Alberta Highway 40

mid-June–November • activity

One of the greatest and wildest drives in Canada

Lake Minnewanka Cruise

Lake Minnewanka Cruise

late May–early October • nature

Untouched natural beauty all around you

Bow Falls

Bow Falls

June–August (all year round) • nature

Take a trip to an unusual waterfall famous for its colour

Banff Gondola

Banff Gondola

late January–early October • activity

Marvel at the unrivalled snowy view while soaring to the top of Sulphur Mountain

Hector Lake

Hector Lake

July–September • nature

A turquoise-colored lake just two hours away from Calgary

Wildlife in Banff National Park

Wildlife in Banff National Park

all year round • nature

Over 50 different species feel at home here

Tunnel Mountain Hiking

Tunnel Mountain Hiking

April–October (all year round) • activity

Tunnel Mountain, with no actual tunnel, is a popular hiking destination

Grassi Lakes

Grassi Lakes

May–November • nature

Beautiful emerald-colored lakes in the Canadian Rockies

Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking

May–October • activity

Let’s be honest: biking in Banff is all about the scenery

Icefields Parkway

Icefields Parkway

June–September (all year round) • activity

Drive through the wildest and most remote parts of Banff and Jasper National parks

Parker Ridge Trail

Parker Ridge Trail

June–October • activity

A scenic route at Columbia Icefield area, the largest icefield south of the Arctic Circle

Big Beehive

Big Beehive

June–September • activity

A much photographed mountain in Banff National Park

Lake Agnes Tea House

Lake Agnes Tea House

early June–mid-October • activity

Stop by the oldest teahouse in Canada

Cascade Mountain Hike

Cascade Mountain Hike

July–September • activity

The epic Banff mountain with magnificent views

Chester Lake

Chester Lake

July–October • nature

A small but very beautiful lake in the Canadian Rockies

19 THINGS TO DO OUT OF SELECTED DATE RANGE

Frozen Abraham Lake

Frozen Abraham Lake

out of rangeDecember–mid-March • nature

The stunning bubbles under the surface of this frozen man-made lake could be rather dangerous

Lake Louise Ice Magic Festival

Lake Louise Ice Magic Festival

out of rangeJanuary 20–31, 2021 • event

Canada's most scenic and beautiful ice festival

Jasper Dark Sky Festival

Jasper Dark Sky Festival

out of rangeOctober 15–24, 2021 • event

Celebrate the stars in the second largest dark preservation site in the world

Skating on Lake Louise

Skating on Lake Louise

out of rangemid-December–mid-April • activity

Visit one of the world’s most incredible skating rinks

Santa Claus Parade Day

Santa Claus Parade Day

canceledNovember 21, 2020 • event

Why not get into the Christmas mood in the Canadian Rockies

Banff Marathon

Banff Marathon

out of rangeJune 20, 2021 • event

Say yes to one of the most beautiful and amazing running experiences!

Skiing & Snowboarding

Skiing & Snowboarding

out of rangemid-November–late May • activity

Don't miss the best time for skiing

Hiking

Hiking

out of rangeJuly–mid-September • activity

Imagine the wild and boundless landscape of the Canadian Rockies spread before your eyes

Tonquin Valley Hike

Tonquin Valley Hike

out of rangelate August–early September • activity

Canada's premiere alpine destination with beautiful lakes

The Great Divide Trail

The Great Divide Trail

out of rangeJuly–mid-September • activity

This great corridor along the Canadian Rocky Mountains divides two of Canada's provinces

Dog Sledding

Dog Sledding

out of rangeDecember–April • activity

Glide across a fresh snowy powdered valley with the jingling sounds of husky collars and the soft thuds of their paws

Banff Christmas Market

Banff Christmas Market

out of rangecanceled in 2020 • event

A cozy and magic weekend-long celebration

Johnston Canyon Ice Walk & Climb

Johnston Canyon Ice Walk & Climb

out of rangeDecember–mid-April • activity

Choose this once-in-a-lifetime experience only available in Canada

White Water Rafting

White Water Rafting

out of rangemid-May–mid-September • activity

Join the thousands of visitors who have already made their vacation unforgettable

Banff Yoga Festival

Banff Yoga Festival

unconfirmedlate May 2022 • event

Absorb all the mindfulness in the world among stunning mountain views

Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival

Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival

out of rangeOctober 30–November 7, 2021 (in-person live events and online film program) • event

Nine days filled with stories of remote journeys, expeditions, and adventures expressed in films, books, and photographs

New Year's Eve in Banff

New Year's Eve in Banff

out of rangeDecember 31  • event

What would you choose—an active or relaxing New Year’s celebration in the Canadian wilderness?

Bourgeau Lake

Bourgeau Lake

out of rangelate June–early September • nature

A beautiful spot in the Canadian Rockies

Mount Temple

Mount Temple

out of rangemid-July–August • activity

A prominent peak of the Canadian Rockies with the stunning view of Lake Louise

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