In my work as the Canadian Rockies question answerer in chief, I find the vast majority of questions people have about Canmore, Jasper, Banff and the rest of the Canadian Rockies center around two main topic. Weather and their dogs. I like that.
Banff National Park offers great hiking, with the warmest weather in July and August.
It shows vacationers to the Canadian Rockies have both a practical and sentimental side.
Anyway, today’s question deals with the first category: weather.
I am planning on visiting the Canadian Rockies next year. I am trying to decide between August and September. I like the warmer weather and longer days in August. I am afriad September may be too cool. On the other hand, is August busy with tourists? Possibly September may be less busy? Should I stay away from August?
It’s a good question. The first thing you should know is that these factors are variable. The weather in the Canadian Rockies can change abruptly. You could happen to come on some cold August days, or some warm September days. Also, you never know with tourism, numbers can change anytime. So I’ll give you the official estimates first.
In August, the highs tend to hover around 22 C (71 F), with lows all the way down to 7 C (44.6 F).
In September, the highs are around 16 C (60 F), with lows around 3 C (37 F).
These are the averages for the town of Banff, Alberta. The temperatures will be much cooler when you reach higher elevations.
Here’s my opinion on the original question. August or September? If you want to have the best chance of getting out and seeing the park, I would come in August. Yes, you may have to deal with more people in the parks, but you can try to buffer that by visiting mid-week. If you visit in September though, there is a much great chance that a trail you had planned on visiting in higher altitudes may already have a blanket of snow on it. Also, if you really want to avoid the crowds, talk to Parks Canada officials about where you might some of the less busy trails.