When Is Best To Visit The Canadian Rockies?
Planning the perfect trip to the Rockies can be a hard task for locals, even more so for visitors jetsetting from around the world. The stakes are high, as most vistors need to take time off work and book pricey airtickets across the globe, so ideally you would hit the nail on the head and have the perfect trip.
And we all know how weather can turn a perfect trip into a nightmare or a nightmare trip into a perfect vacation! There is a lot to balance beyond just weather though, including crowds, forest fire season, bugs, temperatures and of course the epic flora and fauna of the Rockies.
Here is a brief idea of each aspect in planning a great trip.
So, most people picture a perfect vacation as being shorts and t-shirt weather, but not too hot, with lots of sun and clear skies, but maybe a few fluffy little clouds, right? Well if planned right, this is attainable in the Canadian Rockies. May can be totally unpredictable, while usually sunny and warm in the valley bottoms, but with more frequent rain showers, lingering snow up high, and cooler temperatures passing through periodically.
June starts to take a very strong trend toward summer conditions, with the majoirty of the ridgetop snow disappearing over the month.
By the beginning of July you can count on pleasant 25 degrees C during the day and 10-15 degrees C during the night. (Nighttime temperatures are important if you are like us and camp in the Rockies).
July and August are really pleasant, which we will touch on more in the crowds section of this article.
Now September is an interesting month. The beginning of September is no different than August, while the end of the month can be no different than a horrible day in Antarctica. Most years the summery weather is very suddenly interupted by a swift and surprising jolt of frigid winter madness, usually for a week, right in the middle of September. Be warned!
Smoke/ Bush Fires
This one is easy.... the longer the weather has been dry, the higher the risk of there being bushfires, which can result in smokey conditions which generally bum visitors out. The best way to balance this is to visit in the first couple weeks of July, where the weather is dry and warm, but hasn't been dry for too long yet.
Always an important consideration. If you nail it, you can dodge the crowds, while still getting the good weather and avoiding the smoke. Luckily the crowds and the smoke are often at the same time, which makes things a bit easier. Peak crowds are from Canada day weekend until Labor Day weekend. To avoid crowds we recommend late June, and early September visits.
While bugs are not really an issue in the Rockies you can still factor them into your planning. Bugs don't like cold nights and they tend to like wetter conditions, so they seem to peak in late spring/ early summer when the nights get warm, but there are still wet enough conditions in the swamps and brush. The best possible time to beat the bugs is the beginning of September, right before the wintery blast hits.
Ready, Set, Go!
OK, so with all those factors considered, you can go about planning the perfect trip to the Rockies. I personally love the end of June, the first half of July, and the first two weeks of September. Local tip: after the wintery blast in September the weather is really impossible to predict, but for the risk embracing traveler, it can be really nice and summery into late October and even November.
We are careful to plan our guided hiking trips to ensure they fall within the best weather times, to maximize our guests experience.
See you in the mountains!