What To Do In Banff In September
See Larch Valley with a Professional Hiking Guide with Discover Banff Tours

Looking for the best things to see and do in Banff in September?

September is a month to remember in the Canadian Rockies – continuing warm summer weather with crisp morning air creates a perfect (and slightly less crowded) environment for exploring as the leaves and weather starts to change.

1. See fall colours on a hike

As fall sets in, it’s the perfect weather for hiking. Our Lake Louise and Banff guided hikes explore the best accessible hikes in the area, showing guests the wild and rugged environments of Banff and Kootenay National Parks. Each of the hikes offers something different but seeing the larch trees change to a bright golden yellow around mid to late September on the Larch Valley hike is truly a special experience and one of our favourites at this time of year.

Take a guided hike to Larch Valley with Discover Banff Tours

2. See golden larch trees on an ATV tour

Another option for seeing the larch trees is on an ATV tour! While ATVs aren’t permitted in Banff National Park, there are fully guided ATV tours located just two hours from Banff on the edge of the Canadian Rockies. Our pick? Take the full-day ATV tour for free transport from Banff and lunch at an alpine cabin.

Toby Creek Adventures ATV Tour

3. Visit Moraine Lake before the road closes

While many lakes in the Canadian Rockies are accessible year round, the access road to Moraine Lake closes in early October every year. September is the perfect time to visit this famous lake! Parking is extremely limited and so if you’re not planning on driving in at the crack of dawn, you can see this iconic lake on the Discover Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Tour.

Instagram Photos at Moraine Lake

The best Banff activities in September

Private Wildlife Tours

Looking for a more in depth way to connect with Banff's wildlife? Book a private wildlife tour of Banff National
5 Hours
All Ages

Private Hiking Tours

Looking for a guide to lead your group on Banff or Lake Louise's hiking trails? Our private full-day hiking tours
10 Hours
All Ages
Hiking Lake Louise
Most Popular

Guided Signature Hikes

With hundreds of hiking trails how do you know which one to choose? Come with us! Our guides have picked
8:00am
7 Hours
Toby Creek Adventures ATV Tour
Most Popular

Panorama ATV Tours

Feel the 4 wheel power at your fingertips as you ride up to 8,000 feet with spectacular mountain views on
1:30pm
3 Hours
See elk and other animals on a Banff wildlife tour with Discover Banff Tours
Most Popular

Evening Wildlife Safari

Where do you find the animals of Banff when the sun goes down? Your guide will know! So keep your
5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, Varies seasonally
2 Hours

Discover Grizzly Bears

Meet Boo at the Grizzly Bear Refuge! Seeing a bear in the flesh is a thrilling moment that will stay
8:30am
10 Hours
See turquoise Moraine Lake and the Valley of Ten Peaks on the Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Tour with Discover Banff Tours
Most Popular

Lake Louise & Moraine Lake

See two of the world's most beautiful lakes including iconic Lake Louise - famous for its jewel-like water nestled between
8:00am, 1:00pm
4.25 Hours

4. See bull elk fight in rutting season

Every fall, the rut happens during breeding season as mature bulls gather cows and their calves into harems. During this time of year it’s common to see the elk bulls fighting over the cows, and also to hear their unique ‘bugle’ noise (sounds like a high pitched roar). Our daily Evening Wildlife Safari is a great tour to spot elk during this important time of year.

See elk rutting in Banff National Park on a wildlife tour
Photo Credit: Stevin Tuchiwsky @stevint

5. Dine at 6,900 feet

The Banff Gondola is the number one attraction in Banff, but did you know that the Banff Sightseeing Chairlift at Mt Norquay offers similar sky high views for almost half the price? Plus, there’s the Cliffhouse Bistro waiting at the top with charcuterie, wine and more. This 1950s tearoom turned modern bistro is one of the best mountain gazing lunch spots in Banff.

Dine at the Cliffhouse Bistro at Mt Norquay

6. Meet a grizzly bear

As the fall weather begins to cool, it’s a great time to see Boo the grizzly bear as he prepares for hibernation. The full-day Discover Grizzly Bears Tour takes you to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden to meet Boo, and includes a sightseeing Gondola ride up to Eagle’s Eye Restaurant, for lunch at Canada’s highest restaurant.

Grizzly Bear Refuge
Photo Credit: Resorts of the Canadian Rockies RCR

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Is September a good time to visit Banff?

Many refer to September as one of the best times to visit Banff, with continuing warm weather and less crowds it’s the perfect time to see the changing colours.

How long does larch season last?

There are a few short weeks when larches’ needles turn golden in fall, typically from late September to early October.

When can you hike Larch Valley?

The popular Larch Valley hike at Moraine Lake is stunning throughout the summer, but is truly spectacular in fall when the larches turn golden yellow in colour.

How can I hike Larch Valley?

The trailhead for Larch Valley is at Moraine Lake, which has extremely limited parking. Head in before sunrise to grab a parking spot or join a small group guided hike.

How can I see larch trees?

From late September to early October, larch needles turn a bright golden yellow which can be seen on hiking trails such as Larch Valley and on ATV tours.

Is the road to Moraine Lake open?

The road to Moraine Lake is typically open from late May to early October, although with limited parking it’s recommended to visit early in the morning, in the evening or on a guided tour.

What time of year do elk rut?

The elk rut occurs in fall, from late August to mid October, when male elk (bulls) vie for harems of female elk (cows) during elk breeding season.

Which gondola ride is better in Banff?

Banff Gondola is the number one attraction in Banff, but the lessor known Banff Sightseeing Chairlift at Mt Norquay offers similar sky high views for almost half the price.