Ask a Mountain Man: Banff to the Future

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Banff, Alberta

This time of year, your old Mountain Man really starts to hanker for some warmer weather. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter in Banff and the Canadian Rockies, and I love winter activities here. But at some point, you sick of the snow, and then the mud, and just want things to be warm and comfortable when you step out of your cabin.

Yoho National Park holds some of the Canadian Rockies' most beautiful scenery.

Yoho National Park holds some of the Canadian Rockies' most beautiful scenery.

In my personal weather forecast for the coming weeks, there’s some encouraging signs on the horizon, but I’m trying not to get too excited. Weather prediction is notoriously difficult in this part of the world, and I’ve seen snow up to my eyeballs in the middle of summer, just ten minutes after I’d been skinny dipping in a local creek to cool off from the summer heat. No kidding (editors note: though possibly some exaggerating).

So anyway, yesterday evening I was hunkered down in my cabin beneath an assortment of sheep and buffalo hide blankets, two or three dogs piled on my feet for extra warmth that only a dog can provide. Through various almanacs, astrological charts, and Magic 8 Balls,I was trying to construct some picture of when, exactly, I could expect to be warm again, when I a letter slipped under my door. I reluctantly got out of my warm spot, retrieved the letter and read it. It’s contents  jerked me right out of spring, to an equally difficult time of year, fall. Late October in particular.

Dear Mountain Man,

My husband and I are planning a trip to Banff/Lake Louise towards the end of October (around Oct 27th). During this time will there still be tours around the area? What activities will be available then? 🙂 Thank you! Hoping for your reply.

Summer Skipper

Let me start off by saying that anytime of year can be great to visit Banff and Banff National Park, and you can always find something to do, no matter what time of year you come. That said, late October is difficult. We could be under a few feet of snow by then, or it could just be pleasantly cool out. You may catch the beginning of winter sports, and be able to go out for some interesting winter hikes, or it could be just warm enough for a normal hike at low elevations. But it’s impossible to predict. Also, most touring companies are shut down by that time of year, and don’t open again until December for their winter seasons.

So here’s my advice. You could A) visit Banff in late October as planned, and make sure to bring gear for any type of weather, and be prepared to do whatever activities the weather allows, or B) visit in early October, when companies like Jasper Vacations and White Mountain Adventures are still doing tours, and the larch trees are still in their golden glory. The weather that time of year is just a little more reliable than it is at the end of October, meaning you’ll have more options.

I hope that helps. Feel free to send any other questions, especially ones about summer.

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