When to Go
While the Canadian Rockies can be visited year-round, there are two influxes of visitors—one in the warmer months and the other in winter. Summer (late June–mid-Sept.) is definitely high season, especially the school holiday period of July through August. Simply said, the weather is unbeatable. The season is dominated by long, warm—and sometimes hot—days, everything is open, and there’s plenty to do and see. Crowded parks, high prices, and difficulty securing reservations are the downside of summer travel.
Late spring and early fall are excellent times to visit the Canadian Rockies for two reasons: you’ll avoid the crowds, and you’ll save money. Spring (mid-Apr.–late June) is notable for long days of sunlight (in late June it stays light until after 10 p.m.) and a sense of optimism for the upcoming warm months.
Fall (mid-Sept.–Nov.) can be delightful, especially September, with lingering warm temperatures and a noticeable decrease in crowds immediately after the long weekend (at the beginning of the month). While fall colors in general lack the intensity of those in the eastern provinces and New England, larch turn a brilliant yellow throughout high alpine areas in late September.
Local ski resorts begin opening for the winter season (Dec.–mid-Apr.) in late November. The best snow conditions are January–February, although for enthusiasts looking for a combination of good snow and warmer weather, March is an excellent time of year to visit.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition