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Banff in June

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Nottingham, United...
posts: 61
reviews: 1
Banff in June

I know this is a question answered many times elsewhere - but I see lots of conflicting answers so want to ask it in my own way...

I am planning a trip to N. America: (home is England):

- 1 week in Yosemite June 1st to 8th

- 1 week Banff 9th to 15th (rough dates)

These are the places I most want to see in N. America and combining them into one trip seems to work (nothing booked)

In Banff I want to:

- drive the ice fields parkway

- see beautiful glacial lakes

- hike some moderate trails

I have seen reports that say this is the best time of year to go:

- the ice fields parkway will be snow free and safe to drive

- the lakes will be melting and have surrounding mountains still capped with snow

- there won't be the crowds of July and August

But I have heard conflicting views:

- June is the wettest month in Banff

- expect muddy trails and cloud hiding the peaks

- the ice free lakes of July are more beautiful than the mix of ice and water on June

I'm travelled enough to know that spring weather is unpredictable in the mountains, but what are my chances of seeing Banff at it's best if I come for a week in June?

Many thanks,

Andrew

29 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 30,494
reviews: 38
1. Re: Banff in June

The last of the ice on the lakes melts away about your 9th of June, maybe a couple of days before, and the last of the snow on the trails will have gone.

The Icefields Parkway will provide stunning scenery, will be snow free and safe to drive. Go to Youtube and search for "Icefields Parkway summer" to get an idea of what the highway is like. There won't be the crowds of summer because school's in until June 28/29th.

It can snow some any time of year in the Rockies at 1400 metres elevation. And the general advice is to not book gondola rides until the day of when you can know what the cloud cover will be.

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Banff National Park
posts: 4,251
reviews: 71
2. Re: Banff in June

This wedding photographer blog http://blog.carmichaelphoto.com/ is a good way to see Banff, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake as they looked on particular dates. Just click on June 2009, June 2010, etc. to see June days in these locations. As you will see, the famous lakes are often still somewhat (or totally) ice-covered in the first half of June.

All the statements you have listed as pros and cons are true. So, really, it's your call.

Sardis BC
posts: 6
reviews: 29
3. Re: Banff in June

Personally, if I were to pick a time to travel in the Rockies, it would be in early September, when the crowds are gone but it's warmer than spring and everything has been melted for a few months. I think you would have a better chance of warm weather. It's really a crap shoot when it comes to weather. Having travelled through the Rockies many times in winter and summer....the mountains do look prettier with some snow.

Edited: 10:07 pm, November 09, 2013
Edmonton, Canada
Destination Expert
for Canadian Rockies
posts: 851
reviews: 1
4. Re: Banff in June

I agree that September is the best time, and the your pros and cons are accurate.

I've gone to Banff/Jasper the first week of June (or late May) the last two years. Generally the lakes were thawing, though Lake Louise was just icing out and the lakes at higher altitudes (Bow Lake etc.) were not yet thawed.

Generally lower level trails were still fine, though higher level trails were snowbound or snowy. The alpine trails along the Icefields were still too snowy to hike (like the ones near the Icefields), and there was lots of mud lower down.

Two years ago, I could not get past Mirror Lake and this year on June 2/3, there was still snow above Mirror Lake and Lake Agnes and at least a meter of snow out at the teahouse on the Plains of Six Glaciers. Getting out to the latter required hiking through some patches of snow still 1-2 feet deep - very doable, but not something you want to do without good boots. It depends on the temperatures - the snow can melt quickly if it's warm and sunny or hang out for a while if it stays cool.

Snow on the Parkway will not be an issue unless there's a really freak late season storm. Weather is totally unpredictable - I've had gorgeous sun and 25 C in late May and I've had rain and cold temps. However, no matter the time of year, I've rarely had a full day of rain (or snow).

There is still plenty to do in & around Banff and on the lower level trails in the various areas, but you aren't going to get the view of sparkling blue lakes or hike up to some of the nicer viewpoints. In June you may also run into trail restrictions due to bears and calving elk. No matter when you come, there will be snow topped peaks - no need to worry about that.

Have fun!

scotland
posts: 45
reviews: 4
5. Re: Banff in June

we wene mid September.and it was 25-30 c .the trees were turning .hardly any rain until the end of sept...

seattle
Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 14,558
reviews: 83
6. Re: Banff in June

I visit this area every month from may to Sept and have for the past 8 yrs. June is a great month. Your chances of seeing animals is greater in June than in the heat of summer. The lakes are recently ice free and less crowds. As far as color goes the lakes change monthly. In my opinion the best time to see the Rockies is when your there. The scenery changes throughout the summer. There really is no 'bad' month. If the sun is out its hard to beat the scenery of the Canadian Rockies.

Nottingham, United...
posts: 61
reviews: 1
7. Re: Banff in June

@MuftiMixandmatch - wow I loved watching the videos on YouTube - thank-you - so much so I am tempted to switch from doing a week in California to doing two in Canada (maybe try and get as far as Glacier NP, Montana)

@banff - thank-you I loved the wedding photos - not just for the shots of Banff, but for the memories of my wedding last year too

@kahlua55, @ksneds, @fchristine - thank-you for your replies - we have travelled to the Alps several times, but, from the photos I have seen the Canadian Rockies look more 'epic,' - rugged mountains and those beautiful lakes - I'm starting to feel that moving the trip to September may be a safer bet - but that means waiting three more months... I guess we can wait...

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 30,494
reviews: 38
8. Re: Banff in June

Sept is a new element in your question and I would support it. For some reason, rightly or wrongly, I always think of May, June as the earth still being embedded in the cold of winter. (We don't put bedding plants in the ground until mid-May on the coast here.) But Sept and sometimes Oct, as the earth still holding the embers of summer. Disclaimer: statements not based on science. lolol.

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Lake Louise
posts: 2,616
9. Re: Banff in June

June is a month of change in Banff National Park. The start of the month is cool and wet but the end of warm and for the most dry-ish.

Trails will be passable, lakes will be thawed and will display a unique colour of blue/green that is usually only visible a few weeks after they have thawed. For example Lake Louise is Blue during the first 2 weeks of June the rest of the summer is it Green.

If you are considering changing your dates to September please be aware, contrary to what others have said September is not that much slower than July and August. It may not be AS busy at the regular sightseeing places like the Gondola but the trails will be just as busy, weekends especially. Out of the 2 months June is a quieter month for attractions and trails.

The tea houses will be open in Lake Louise and the Icefields Glacier experience will be running.

Also note that both the Banff Gondola and Lake Louise Gondola do not accept reservations, both run continuously all day and you show up whenever you want.

Banff, Canada
posts: 152
reviews: 60
10. Re: Banff in June

If you can push it to the end of June the weather will be great. Early June will get you a lot of rain. Having said that as mentioned above early September is the best time to be here although you won't see as much wildlife. Bears are very active near the roadside during June.

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