Canadian Rockies Weather

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Written by Madison Valois posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Canadian Rockies Weather
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Typical Weather in the Canadian Rockies

Weather

Weather patterns change quickly in the mountains, but all weather is stunning in the Canadian Rockies.

Weather patterns change quickly in the mountains, but all weather is stunning in the Canadian Rockies.

CANADIAN ROCKIES – The weather in the Canadian Rockies is always changing, be it from valley to valley or hour to hour.  Temperatures vary greatly from day to night and often predictions can be wrong from one day to the next.  The best thing to do is dress in layers that allow you to respond to the changing conditions.  Always bring a spare jacket in summer, even if it seems impossibly hot.  You will be surprised at how cool it can get when you’re up high in the mountains.

Though the weather is mostly unpredictable, there are some basic statistics for the Banff region that apply to Lake Louise and Jasper as well as other areas throughout the Rockies.

July

Average daily high:                  73F, 22C
Average daily low:                    43F, 6C
Highest high (in 70 yrs)          4F, 34C
Lowest low (in 79 yrs)            28F, -2C

October

Average daily high:                    48F, 8C
Average daily low:                    29F, -1C
Highest high (in 70 yrs)          79F, 26C
Lowest low (in 79 yrs)             -7F, -21C

January

Average daily high:                   22F, -5C
Average daily low:                     4F, -15C
Highest high (in 70 yrs)           54F, 12C
Lowest low (in 79 yrs)            -60F, -51C

April

Average daily high:                   48F, 8C
Average daily low:                    25F, -3C
Highest high (in 70 yrs)          78F, 25C
Lowest low (in 79 yrs)            -17F, -27C

Best Time to Go

Misty mornings give way to beautiful sunny afternoons in the Canadian Rockies.

Misty mornings give way to beautiful sunny afternoons in the Canadian Rockies.

If it’s hiking and beautiful scenery you are looking for, plan your vacation travel between June and September.  During this time the mountain lakes have thawed and turned a breathtakingly deep turquoise.

Busy season in Banff, Lake Louse, and Jasper is July and August.  As busy as it gets, it is always easy to get away from fellow visitors due to each park’s ample supply of big nature.  If you are looking for a supremely tranquil visit, go in June or September when the crowds thin.

September is a gorgeous time of year to visit the Canadian Rockies.  With the leaves changing to their brilliant hues, it is a pleasure to view the aspen trees around Banff and the larches around Lake Louise.  The autumn comes a little later in Jasper due to its lower elevation.  There you will find the colors at their best in the beginning of October.

October is the month where mountain side roads begin to shut down for the winter.  Though the weather is mostly pleasant, blizzards are known to occur during the month, so come prepared.  You can still get to most of the scenic landmarks in the area until Canadian Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on the second Monday of October (Columbus Day in the U.S.).  The resort areas will be quiet, service will be more attentive, and if you don’t mind moody weather, you may find this to be the best time to enjoy the surrounding landmarks.  By the middle of October, however, most things have closed.

November is the quietest month in the mountains as summer resort travel is over and winter resort travel has not yet started.

December through April, and sometimes into early May is the time when downhill skiers flock to the Canadian Rockies.  From February to April, ski season is in high swing.  In Alberta, Family Day falls on the third Monday in February, making that particular weekend quite busy.  Banff is busy as well, due to the two-day teacher’s convention that is normally scheduled around that time.  Kids are out of school and many Calgary families take the opportunity to go skiing.

May is a transitional month where snow storms can change to summery weather on a dime.  The mountain lakes begin thawing at the end of the month, but still do not have the turquoise patina that you will find in June.

Daylight Hours in the Rockies

The long days of summer average between 14 and 16 hours of daylight.  In the autumn there are on average 10 hours of daylight, and in the winter, just under eight hours.  Once March comes around, the light increases to 12 hours a day.  Summer light is ideal for getting in the most sightseeing possible and autumn allows for some of the best photo ops at dawn and dusk.  Animals are often more active at these times, so besides taking pictures of the dazzling scenery, make sure you keep your eyes open for the wildlife that surrounds you.

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