Waterton Lakes National Park

Description of what  is open in Waterton Lakes National Park through the winter.

Kananaskis Country

Highwood Pass , Highway 40 from Kananaskis Lakes southwards, is closed to vehicles from December 1st to June 15th.  Cycling is permitted, however.  It’s a favourite cycling route in late May and the first half of June, when cyclists have the road to themselves.

Banff and area

Sulphur Mountain Gondola : Open year-round.

Lake Minnewanka Loop : Open year-round.

Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy #1A)
: Road stays open year-round. In order to protect wildlife during the spring calving season, driving on the eastern stretch of this road, the segment between Johnston Canyon and the junction with the TransCanada Highway (Hwy  #1) near Banff townsite, is restricted.  From March 1st to June 25th, motorists are requested to keep off the Bow Valley Parkway from 6.00 p.m. to 9.00 a.m.  The small handful of commercial facilities along the Bow Valley Parkway remain open, however.

Johnston Canyon : Open year-round.  However canyon ice walking is best done with a guide who knows which areas are safe and provides you with appropriate equipment such as cleats for your boots.

Lake Louise and area

Moraine Lake : Road closes any time from the beginning of October onwards and opens in late May.  Road is a cross-country ski trail in winter.

Lake Louise : The 5 km (3 mile) road from the village of Lake Louise to the lake of Lake Louise stays open year-round.

Yoho National Park

Spiral Tunnels : The viewing point 8 km east of Field  on the TransCanada Highway closes from October to April.  The viewing point on Yoho Valley Road is closed from early October to late June.  

Takakkaw Falls : Yoho Valley Road closes to vehicles from early October to late June.  The road becomes a ski trail in winter.

Natural bridge over the Kicking Horse River , just off  Emerald Lake Road : Open year-round.

Emerald Lake
: Open year-round.

Icefields Parkway (Hwy #93)

Icefields Parkway : In theory the road is open year-round.  In practice it occasionally closes for up to three days at a time because of ice storms, avalanches, etc.  Also note that, while the road is open, all of the facilities along it are closed in winter.  From about the beginning of November through the end of March, there are no restaurants, gas stations or flush toilets.  Also note that cellular phones do not work along much of the Icefields Parkway.  Therefore you should take extra care to be self-sufficient – with blankets, food, etc. – in the event that you break down and are on your own for a while.  See the Canadian government's recommended precautions for winter driving.

Peyto Lake : The parking lot is not kept clear of snow, and the viewing point becomes inaccessible.

Columbia Icefields
: The Ice Explorer rides onto the Athabasca Glacier close from October 15th to April 15th.

Sunwapta Falls : Accessible year-round , sometimes at the cost of clambering over mounds of snow.

Athabasca Falls : Accessible year-round, sometimes at the cost of clambering over mounds of snow. 

Jasper National Park

Mount Edith Cavell : Road is closed from early October to mid June.  Angel Glacier / Cavell Meadows hiking trail is closed until mid July.  The drive is worth doing even when the hiking trail is still closed, because the views overlooking the Astoria River Valley are pretty.

Jasper Tramway : Shuts down from just after Canadian Thanksgiving (second Monday in October) till mid April.

Maligne Canyon : Open year-round.  However “canyon crawling” is best done with a guide who knows which areas are safe and provides you with appropriate equipment such as cleats for your boots.

Maligne Lake : Road is open year-round.  Cruises to Spirit Island usually stop just after Canadian Thanksgiving (second Monday in October) and resume in the latter part of May.

Miette Hot Springs : Road closes just after Canadian Thanksgiving (second Monday in October) until early May.

Wells Gray Provincial Park

near Clearwater, British Columbia


Helmcken Falls
: Road is open for most of the year.

ROAD AND TRAIL REPORTS

As roads and trails are shutting down in the fall and re-opening in the spring / early summer, you can check conditions at :

Mountain National Parks Road Condition Report

Banff National Park Trail Report (condition of hiking trails)

Yoho National Park Trail Conditions Report (includes Yoho Valley Road that leads to Takakkaw Falls)

Jasper National Park Trail Reports

 

INFORMATION CENTRES

Also, when you’re in the area, you can find out the current status of side roads and hiking trails if you ask at the Information Centres in Banff townsite, Lake Louise village or Jasper townsite.
 

DAYLIGHT HOURS

In addition to winter closures, be aware of short winter days.  In the middle of winter, there are as few as 7½  hours.  Sunrise is as late as 9.00 a.m. and sunset is as early as 4.30 p.m. 

Day-by-day sunrise and sunset times for Banff