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Best time to visit Banff

Find out the best time to make the most of your visit Banff, no matter your budget or itinerary.

From nature lovers to adrenaline junkies looking to conquer the ski slopes, Banff is a treat for everyone. With three ski resorts and plenty of wildlife sightings all year round, the best time to go is highly dependent on what you want to see or do.

The best time to visit Banff

The best time to visit Banff is in September, when you can avoid the crowds and the high prices but still enjoy fantastic weather.

If skiing is your activity of choice, December-April is the snow season, though travelling earlier or later during this season will save you a pretty penny.

Travellers on a budget can mosey their way on in during the shoulder seasons of September-November and May-June.

And if you're after warm weather and long daylight hours, make your trip between July and August.


Overview

Banff is a year-round destination, but there are four distinct seasons to make it easier to decide when the best time for you to visit is.

Winter: This falls between November and May and is when the ski resorts are open. If you're not a skier, this is also the time when the lakes are frozen enough to skate on.

Summer: Like with the rest of the country, this is June to August is the busiest and most expensive time to travel to Banff. In return, you get to enjoy crisp weather and up to 16 hours of daylight.

Spring and autumn: These seasons fall between May and June and September and October respectively. We recommend visiting in September when the school year begins and the weather is still enjoyable for outdoor activities.


The best time to visit Banff for...

  • Camping: Camping is a summer activity and most campgrounds get booked up quickly once they open, which is around the third weekend of May. Plan ahead for the best deals.
  • Wildlife: You can spot wildlife all year round but we recommend coming in late May and early June for the elk, deer and sheep calving seasons.
  • Skiing: Ski season starts from mid-November until the end of May. We recommend hitting the slopes in March, as you get more daylight hours and the best snow conditions.
  • Northern Lights: Your best bet to catch the elusive Northern Lights is during the dark, clear nights between February and April. Just head away from the city and be patient.
  • Hiking: July to September is perfect for hiking as this is when the trails are free of snow and mud. The weather is pleasant and there are fewer mosquitoes.
  • Ice skating: Outdoor ice skating on lakes is possible from November or the beginning of December when the lakes are frozen but the weather is clear of snowfall.

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