Weather in the Canadian Rockies
Weather in the Canadian Rockies may be much different than what you are used to. The weather in high altitude like Lake Louise, Jasper National Park, Banff National Park, Golden and Canmore is subject to change without notice. In general, this means you should be prepared for the worst, although most of the time, you’ll be getting the absolute best.
General Weather Overview
The Summer climate (July/August) brings low humidity, warm temperatures and extended daylight hours lasting until 11 p.m. at the height of the summer equinox.
The Autumn season (Sept/Oct) sees a diminishing of daylight hours and warm days with cooling evening winds. The first snows being to fall on the Canadian Rockies sometime in November (though it can and does snow whenever nature dictates – we have had major blizzards leave several feet of snow in mid-summer).
The snow is usually staying for the winter by November with the first of several winter storms coming in from the Pacific heralding the arrival of ski season. Sometime during the month of December/January the Rockies usually experience a brief two week cold snap with temperatures plummeting into the low -30 degree C/F range but the average temperature during the winter months is around -12º C (6º F).
Luckily, throughout the winter months, Banff and areas west and south regularly receive a welcome weather phenomenon, known as Chinooks, which can produce spring-like temperatures in a matter of hours.
Spring begins sometime in March, but the snow stays until mid April when rain and warming temperatures melt winter away from the valleys – snow does not leave the mountain passes until mid-summer. May and June are the Rockies’ rainy periods, though we have awoke in May to foot of snow. While the average precipitation is relatively low during this time, snowmelt pushes the rivers to their crests.
The UV rating for Banff and surrounding area is usually high to extremely high throughout the year. Because of our altitude and the suns’ angle of incidence in our section of the world, people tend to burn much faster than usual — bring along sunscreen, a shade hat and a pair of sunglasses.
Elevations of prominent points and towns.
|Location||Altitude (meters)||Altitude (feet)|
|Kicking Horse Pass||1,650||5,340|
|Lake Louise (Village)||1,540||5,052|
|Lake Louise (Lake)||1,731||5,680|
|Bow Summit **||2,067||6.780|
** highest point on the icefield parkway between Banff and Jasper