Banff National Park, Alberta
Recently, the folks in the office have been getting lot of questions regarding Spring trips to the Canadian Rockies, particularly asking about Banff National Park. I’ve pasted three of the questions below. Names have been changed to avoid any long-term damage risked by being associated with a mountain man.
Car-full in spring
Hello, I am planning to make a trip to Banff with some friends from the 28th of April until the 3rd of May. We would like to do camping with tents but we are not sure which campgrounds are open and allow tents during this period. Could you please provide me with the names of the camping grounds that are available for us? A second question concerns the entrance fees of the park. What do you pay per day for a car with 4 or 5 people? I thought it was about $20 a day but I can’t find it anymore on the internet.
Springing to Seattle
I am planning a trip to Seattle and hoped to come back thru Canada and visit the Banff area around May 10th. Is Lake Louise frozen then? Is is too early in the season to come for spring scenery? What can I expect? Thanks for your help.
I was looking a the activities link on the webpage and it divides the activities into winter and summer. I am going to the rockies on the May 6, 2009. Is that considered Summer?
One thing I can tell you with certainty is that summer in the Canadian Rockies does not start in May. Sometimes it starts and ends in August. But to be honest with everyone, Mountain Man is pretty acclimated to all sorts of Canadian Rockies weather, and may not be the best judge for visitors.
So, to answer these questions, I turned to my old buddy, Gordon Stermann, owner of the tour company White Mountain Adventures. As you’ll see, there’s plenty to do in and around Banff that time of year. Here’s what he had to say:
“May is a tricky month in Banff. While there is no snow in town, there will still be lots of snow up in the mountains. The best hikes are low valley hikes such as Johnson Lake, Spray Fire Road, and Rundle Riverside Trail or mountain trails that get a lot of sun exposure such as Tunnel Mountain (easy) or Cory Pass (very difficult).
Road biking is good, some mountain biking trails along Tunnel Mountain are good, rafting the Kicking Horse is open, float trips on the Bow River are open, horseback rides should be running as well.
The Lake Louise area may still have snow and the lake will be frozen until first week of June. Roads such as Moraine Lake and Takakkaw Falls have opening dates sometime in May. May is an excellent month for driving tours since there is lots of wildlife to see. Also, May and June are the best months for wildlife. Here’s an idea for you.”
So there’s a pretty good rundown of Springtime in Banff. If you’re still looking for answers about park fees and camping, they’re linked in the questions above. Enjoy Spring, and remember, no matter what time of year you come to the Canadian Rockies, be prepared for the possibilty of cold or wet weather.