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What is the best time of the year to visit the Canadian Rockies?
I have to admit, when I saw this question, my first thought was: Does this imply there’s a BAD time to visit the Rockies?
Of course not!
Sure, the weather can get a little extreme, especially in the cold months of winter. These are mountains … and that’s just the way I like it. But these mountains are alive in the winter! You can ski, of course … there’s world-class skiing to be found in Banff and in Jasper.
That, however, is just the start of the winter delights. If you have never been out on the Columbia Icefield, then you are in for a grand adventure. Where else can you literally walk on the source of no less than eight glaciers? I particularly recommend hitching a ride on the snowcoach.
And if you’re out sightseeing in winter in the Jasper area, you absolutely MUST see the Athabasca Falls, because in winter, they don’t fall. They shimmer, completely frozen.
Heck, I could fill up this column – and a dozen more – with the wonders of a Rockies winter. Truth be told, I do like a good mountain winter. But the parks are just as splendid the rest of the year, too. If you like wildlife, for example, you should visit around the beginning of spring and middle to late autumn, when the parks are vibrant with life.
In the summer months, Banff and Canmore are alive with festivals and celebrations, and the shores of Lake Louise throng with visitors.
Come the end of summer, one of my particular favorites is Medicine Lake. I am quite taken with a lake that sometimes doesn’t exist! It is quite a sight to see, this empty basin when all the water drains away.
So, when’s the best time to come to the Rockies? Whenever you’ve got a chance, I say. You know best what you want out of your vacation. But I can promise you, whatever it is you’re looking for, you will find it here. So come when you can. Because I think the best time to visit the Rockies is every moment you can spend here.
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