The All-Season Guide To Packing For Banff Weather
Stroll along the frozen lake shoreline with your guide on the Discover Lake Louise winter tour with Discover Banff Tours in the Canadian Rockies

The old saying in Banff goes, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 20 minutes.”

Alberta temperatures are notorious for their unpredictable fluctuations. I once got sunburned during my school lunch break, yet walked home the same day in a hailstorm. When travelling in the Rocky Mountains you never know what the weather will do next.

So what should you pack when you visit Banff? Here are a few tips.

Winter

Take an easy Banff snowshoeing tour with Discover Banff Tours in the Canadian Rockies

Winter brings huge dumps of the white stuff, making Banff a bucket list destination for many ski and snowboard enthusiasts. When you are properly dressed you will be able to enjoy the snowy outdoors in comfort.

To survive the chill, you will need warm boots that are waterproof and insulated. Wear thick socks underneath and your feet will stay cozy and dry.

A local tip – when walking in the snow, tuck your jeans inside your snow boots. Otherwise, when you take them off the bottoms of your pant legs will be soggy and cold.

Dress in warm layers. The temperatures can change dramatically in one day, so you will want to be able to add or remove layers. Remember, if it is -20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) or below there is a risk of frostbite, so cover up your hands and ears with gloves and a hat. A woolly scarf is a great accessory – wrap it around your face to keep your cheeks and nose warm.

Get waterproof ski pants. They’re essential whether you plan on snowboarding, tobogganing or making snow angels. Ski pants keep you from getting soaking wet as you play in the snow. When cotton jeans get wet they will wick heat away from your body and can cause hypothermia.

Winter weather in Banff is dry. Bring some moisturiser and lip balm so that your hands and lips don’t become chapped and raw. Need to rent warm winter boots or a winter jacket? We recommend Snowtips-Bactrax located on Bear Street in downtown Banff. If you mention Discover Banff Tours, you’ll even get a 10% discount on your rentals.

Spring + Fall – The Shoulder Seasons

Instagram Photo of the Banff Sign

In the transitional seasons of April to June and September to October the weather will be a confusing mix. You’ll experience lovely sunny days and wintry conditions – sometimes within a few hours. You may experience all four seasons in one trip, so it can be difficult to pack.

You won’t need the extreme snow clothing, but still bring different layers for whatever Mother Nature throws at you. A long sleeve shirt as an underlayer, with a mid-weight fleece on top is a good idea.

Add a lightweight waterproof layer if it starts to rain. Bring along a warm hat and a scarf. Or, buy yourself a souvenir “Banff, Canada” toque at one of the many tourist shops!

Banff's Best Deals

Discover Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Tour with Discover Banff Tours

Lake Louise Fall Tour

See iconic Lake Louise, famous for its jewel-like water nestled between rugged peaks. This stunning lake looks too beautiful to
1:00pm
4.25 Hours
Explore Banff on the Bow River horseback ride with Discover Banff Tours in the Canadian Rockies

Horseback Ride - Bow River Evening 1 Hr

A special 1 hour evening ride along the Bow River and past the historic Cave and Basin hot springs area
5:30pm
1 Hour

Grotto Canyon Icewalk + Sleigh Ride

Combo Package; chill with an ice walk into Grotto Canyon and then snuggle down on a snowy sleigh ride. Included:
8+
Dec-Mar

Afternoon Icewalk + Banff Gondola

Combo Package; spend an afternoon exploring a frozen canyon of ice, then soar to a mountain summit for views over
8+
Nov-Apr

Icefields Parkway: Jasper to Banff

This one-way tour from Jasper to Banff takes you along the famous Icefields Parkway through some of the most spectacular
8:30am
11 Hours

Icefields Helicopter Flights

See the Canadian Rockies on spectacular Icefields heli sightseeing flights with glaciers, icefalls, waterfalls, alpine lakes and 11,200 foot peaks.
Throughout the day
20 Mins, 30 Mins, 55 Mins

Tubing + Chairlift

Combo Package; slide down snowy slopes on an inflatable tube and soar to 7,000 feet on an open-air chairlift. Included:
6+
Dec-Apr

Raft + Chairlift

Combo Package; raft along the family-friendly Kananaskis River, then ride an open-air chairlift to 7,000 feet overlooking Banff. Included: Kananaskis
5+
Jun-Sep

Horseback + Gondola + Hot Springs

Combo Package; saddle up for a riverside ride, soar up to a mountain summit and soak in mineral hot springs. 
8+
Apr-Oct

Icefields Parkway: Banff to Jasper

This one-way tour from Banff to Jasper takes you along the famous Icefields Parkway through some of the most spectacular
8:30am
11 Hours

Private Banff Heli Sightseeing

Located on the south west border of Banff National Park, Marvel Pass has long been a favourite spot for that
Throughout the day
45 Mins

Halfway Lodge - 5 Nights

The ultimate backcountry trip, few folks ever get to experience a place like this with rugged scenery and quintessential mountain
6 Days
Thursday, Sunday

Sundance Explorer - 2 Nights

Rugged mountain scenery and an abundance of wildlife. And when the sun sets, you’ll be relaxing in pure backcountry lodge
3 Days
Monday

Sundance Overnight - 1 Night

Want to experience the unspoiled wilderness of Banff on horseback, but don’t have a lot of time? Then this 2
2 Days
Saturday
Visit Lake Louise in the evening on the Deluxe Lake Louise Tour
Limited Space

Deluxe Lake Louise & Moraine Lake

This evening tour gives you more time to wander and soak up the beauty of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake
3:30pm
6 Hours

Raft + Via Ferrata

Combo Package; raft along the family-friendly Kananaskis River, then take a guided climb up Mt Norquay's cliffs. Included: Kananaskis River
12+
Jun-Sep

Horseback + Gondola + Lake Cruise

Combo Package; saddle up for a riverside ride, soar up to a mountain summit and cruise on Banff's largest lake. 
8+
May-Oct
Big hit on the Kananaskis River in the Canadian Rockies
Limited Space

Raft 2 Rivers

Combo Package; experience whitewater thrills and a cliff jump on the Bow River, then raft the family-friendly Kananaskis River. Included:
12+
May-Sep

Raft + Cowboy Cookout Horseback Ride

Combo Package; raft through exciting whitewater rapids and then saddle up for a horseback ride to a barbecue dinner. Included:
12+
May-Sep

Raft + Horseback

Combo Package; raft along the family-friendly Kananaskis River, then take a horseback ride along the scenic Bow River. Included: Kananaskis
8+
May-Sep
See animals such as grizzly bears on a wildlife tour
Family Fun

Wildlife Tour + Chairlift + Lake Cruise

Combo Package; look for wildlife on a twilight tour, ride a chairlift to 7,000' and cruise Banff's largest lake. Included:
2+
Jun-Oct
See Lake Louise with Discover Banff Tours
Most Popular

Banff + Lake Louise Tours

Combo Package; experience the picture perfect viewpoints of Banff and the world-famous Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.  Included: Discover Banff
All Ages
Apr-Oct
Banff Sightseeing Gondola
Family Fun

Discover Banff Tour with Gondola

Experience the picture perfect viewpoints of Banff before soaring up to a mountain summit on the Banff Gondola for 360
8:30am
5.5 Hours
Sightsee over Banff from the Mount Norquay Banff Sightseeing Chairlift in the Canadian Rockies
Most Popular

Horseback + Chairlift + Hot Springs

Combo Package; saddle up for a riverside ride, soar to 7,000' on an open-air chairlift and soak in hot springs.
8+
Jun-Oct

Float + Chairlift

Combo Package; take a scenic float along the Bow River, then ride a chairlift up to 7,000' overlooking Banff.  
3+
Jun-Sep

Via Ferrata Skyline - 5 Hours

The Skyline Route includes an exciting high traverse on a sheer rock wall, a scenic ridgecrest trail walk and an “airy”
9:30am, 10:30am
5 Hours
Take a scenic river tour and float along the Bow River in the Canadian Rockies
Family Fun

Float Trips

A gentle one hour float trip through stunning glacial blue waters, towering mountain peaks and diverse wildlife along the Bow
9:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm, 5:00pm
1 Hour

Banff Alpine Heli & Hike

The ultimate hiking experience! Take a scenic helicopter flight to a secluded area high above the Bow River Valley for a
9:30am, 1:00pm
3 Hours
Great Divide Dogsled Tour in Lake Louise, Alberta
Limited Space

Lake Louise + Dogsledding

Combo Package; spend a day ice skating, snowshoeing and exploring Lake Louise's winter wonderland, with an iconic dogsledding experience. Included:
All Ages
Dec-Apr
See Banff's winter beauty on a group sleigh ride
Family Fun

Sleigh Ride + Hot Springs + Gondola

Combo Package; cuddle up on a sleigh ride, soak in mineral hot springs and soar to the mountain top. Included: Sleigh
All Ages
Dec-Mar
Try ice skating on a frozen lake on the Discover Lake Louise winter tour with Discover Banff Tours in the Canadian Rockies
Most Popular

Banff + Lake Louise Tours

Combo Package; experience the picture perfect viewpoints of Banff and Lake Louise as they transform into a winter wonderland.  Included:
All Ages
Dec-Apr
Try tubing at Alberta's largest tube park at Mt Norquay in the Canadian Rockies
Family Fun

Tubing + Hot Springs + Sleigh Ride

Combo Package; slide down snowy slopes, soak in mineral hot springs and cuddle up on a sleigh ride. Included: Tubing at Banff
4+
Dec-Mar
Johnston Canyon Icewalk with Discover Banff Tours
Most Popular

Morning Icewalk + Banff Gondola

Combo Package; explore a frozen canyon of ice in the morning, then soar to the top of Sulpur Mountain for
8+
Nov-Apr
See winter views over Banff at the gondola summit
Family Fun

Banff Tour + Gondola

Combo Package; tour the must see highlights of Banff, then soar to the mountain peaks for more elevated views. Included:
All Ages
Dec-Apr

Banff Tour + Icewalk

Combo Package; tour the highlights of Banff while looking for animals, then explore a frozen canyon of ice. Included: Discover
8+
Dec-Apr
Try snowshoeing on a guided winter hike with Discover Banff Tours
Most Popular

Icewalk + Snowshoe

Combo Package; explore a frozen canyon of ice, then stomp through fresh powder on a snowy forest trail. Included: Johnston
8+
Dec-Apr
Horseback ride through the Spray River

Horseback Ride - Spray River 1 Hr

Our guides will lead you past roaring Bow Falls where you will cross the tranquil Spray River, followed by a
10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, 4:00pm, 5:00pm
1 Hour
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
Guided alpine climbing on Mount Norquay's Via Ferrata Ridgewalker Route
Most Popular

Via Ferrata Ridgewalker - 4 Hours

To get a greater feel of heights, exposure and the full Via Ferrata experience, become a Ridgewalker on this half-day
8:30am, 10:00am, 1:00pm, 2:30pm
4 Hours
Cross a wire bridge on Mount Norquay's Via Ferrata Skyline Route in Banff in the Canadian Rockies
Limited Space

Via Ferrata Summiteer - 6 Hours

The “Summiteer” is the pinnacle Via Ferrata adventure and traverses an alpine ridge crossing a 3-wire suspension bridge over a
9:00am, 10:00am, 10:30am
6 Hours
Snowshoeing to Marble Canyon
Most Popular

Snowshoeing Tour to Marble Canyon

Your snowshoes crunch on fresh powder as you hike past Marble Canyon's 40-metre deep gorge.   This half-day Banff tour
8:30am
4 Hours
Horseback Ride to a Cowboy Steak Cookout with Discover Banff Tours
Family Fun

Horseback Ride + Cowboy BBQ Cookout

Ride along the base of Sulphur Mountain to a delicious cowboy BBQ cookout at 3 Mile Cabin. First you'll ride
11:30am, 4:00pm, 5:00pm
3 Hours
Class 4 rafting rapids fun on the Horseshoe Canyon in the Canadian Rockies
Limited Space

Horseshoe Canyon Whitewater Rafting

Calling all adventure lovers - there’s no better way to get the adrenaline flowing than big waves! Jump into a
8:15am
4 Hours
Ice skate on Lake Louise on the winter Discover Lake Louise Tour with Discover Banff Tours
Most Popular

Discover Lake Louise

A vast frozen lake surrounded by sparkling snow and an amphitheatre of snow-dusted mountain peaks - Lake Louise is postcard-perfect
10:15am
7 Hours
Toby Creek Adventures ATV Tour
Most Popular

Paradise Ridge ATV Tour

A full day ATV tour to Paradise Ridge with 4 wheel power at your finger tips takes you up to
9:30am
4.5 Hours

Paradise Mine ATV Tour

Visit the remnants of an early 1900’s silver mining town located high in the mountains at 8,000 feet on this
2:00pm
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

Via Ferrata Explorer - 2.5 Hours

Step out of your comfort zone and join your guide on the mountain on the Explorer Route climbing up to
9:00am, 10:00am, 3:30pm
2.5 Hours
Family Carriage Ride in Banff, Canadian Rockies
Family Fun

Carriage Rides

See the highlights of Banff in style on a private horse-drawn carriage ride tour or arrange a custom carriage ride
Throughout the day
15 Mins, 30 Mins, 1 Hour
Panoramic views over Banff on the Mount Norquay Banff Sightseeing Chairlift in the Canadian Rockies

Banff Sightseeing Chairlift

Take an 8 minute chairlift ride over a natural bear habitat up to 7,000 feet at Mt Norquay with breathtaking
Throughout the day
Open Ticket

Horseback Ride - Sundance Loop 2 Hrs

Ride along the Bow River, past the Cave & Basin hot springs and up to the Windy Knoll viewpoint. This
9:30am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm
2 Hours

Horseback Ride - Sulphur Mtn 4 Hrs

A half day ride that gives you a scenic introduction into the quiet backcountry of Banff National Park.   From
12:30pm
4 Hours
Banff Covered Wagon
Family Fun

Wagon Ride + Cowboy BBQ Cookout

Take a relaxing wagon ride along the Bow River and join the horseback riders for a BBQ cookout. After a
11:30am, 4:00pm, 5:00pm
3 Hours

Horseback Ride - Bow Valley Loop 3 Hrs

This ride offers the greatest variety of scenery from the Cave & Basin area to a thick, lush forest. As
10:30am, 1:30pm
3 Hours
Take a guided horseback ride along the Bow River with Discover Banff Tours in the Canadian Rockies
Most Popular

Horseback Ride - Bow River 1 Hr

A 1 hour horseback ride along the Bow River and past the natural sulphur hot springs flowing from the Cave &
9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, 4:00pm, 5:00pm
1 Hour

Maligne Valley Sightseeing Tour

Take an amazing guided interpretive drive up the Maligne Valley followed by a Maligne Lake boat cruise to the famous
8:30am
5.5 Hours

Ice Hockey - Calgary Flames

Listen to the roar of the crowd, watch the hockey players glide swiftly across the ice and cheer loudly for
Varies, approx 3 hours before the game
8 Hours

Private Sleigh Ride

Experience the classical romance of Banff's winter wonderland on a magical sleigh ride package for two complete with chocolates and
Throughout the day
40 Mins
Banff Trail Riders Public Sleigh Ride
Family Fun

Sleigh Rides

Join us on a sleigh ride through the Banff mountain meadows with your family, friends or loved ones for a
Throughout the day
40 Mins
Banff Snowshoeing Race with Discover Banff Tours
Family Fun

Snowshoeing Tour to Paint Pots

First time snowshoeing? This easy 3-kilometre trail through Kootenay National Park to see the historical Paint Pots is the perfect
1:30pm
4 Hours
See frozen waterfalls on the Grotto Canyon Icewalk with Discover Banff Tours

Grotto Canyon Icewalk

Explore the icy beauty of Grotto Canyon and see ancient native pictographs using special hiking crampons to grip the smooth
8:30am
4 Hours
Banff Evening Icewalks at Night with Discover Banff Tours

Johnston Canyon Evening Icewalk®

Your headlamp makes the frozen waterfalls of Johnston Canyon shimmer as you hike along the suspended catwalks in quiet darkness
6:30pm, 7:30pm
2.5 Hours
Johnston Canyon Icewalk with Discover Banff Tours
Most Popular

Johnston Canyon Icewalk®

Water cascades into this narrow canyon in the heat of summer, but in the winter the thundering falls freeze solid
8:30am, 1:30pm
4 Hours

Canmore Caves Explorer Tour

An introduction to the amazing world of caves, spending two hours climbing, crawling and squeezing through the infamous Rat's Nest
9:30am, 11:00am, 12:30pm
4.5 Hours

Canmore Caves Adventure Tour

Spend four hours underground as you climb, crawl, wiggle and slide through the water-worn passages of the infamous Rat's Nest
8:45am, 10:15am, 11:45am
6 Hours
Most Popular

Banff Helicopter Flights

A once in a lifetime experience to fly over mountain peaks, alpine meadows, pristine lakes and to the "Matterhorn of
Throughout the day
12 Mins, 25 Mins, 30 Mins
Discover Banff and Its Wildlife view from Surprise Corner
Family Fun

Discover Banff & Its Wildlife

Uncover the secrets of a historic mountain haven with a local guide leading the way as you gaze at stunning
8:30am
3 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
Family friendly rafting rapids on the Kananaskis River in the Rockies
Family Fun

Kananaskis Whitewater Rafting

You'll get splashed by the frothy swells of the rushing river but it won’t wash the smile off your face
1:30pm
4 Hours
See Elk on the Discover Banff and Its Wildlife Winter Tour
Family Fun

Discover Banff & Its Wildlife

Keep your eyes peeled for deer, elk, and bighorn sheep on this morning tour of the highlights of Banff (the
8:30am
3 Hours

Columbia Icefields Parkway Tour

Travel along the world famous Icefields Parkway Highway and see, touch and even taste an ancient glacier on this thrilling
8:00am
11 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

Summer

Banff Gondola View in the Summer
Photo Credit: Banff Jasper Collection by Pursuit

Banff is as sunny and gorgeous in the summer as it is harsh and chilly in the winter. When the July and August sun beats down on the Bow Valley, the temperatures can soar to the mid to high 20s. Yet, the mercury can plunge when the sun dips behind the mountains, so don’t forget a lightweight jacket.

Bring mostly shorts and t-shirts. However, also pack lightweight long pants to protect your legs from mosquitoes and from scratches when hiking in the brush. You’ll want to bring along sandals for those hot summer days, but also sturdy hiking boots for venturing out on the trails.

Sunblock, sunglasses, insect repellent and a hat are essentials. Plus, bring your swimsuit for splashing around in the Banff hot springs or a scenic local lake.

One thing that you really don’t have to bring while staying in Banff is exceptionally fancy clothes. Unless you are staying at the Banff Springs Hotel and are attending a wedding or a banquet, the dress code for Banff is quite casual. In the restaurants in the evenings you will be fine wearing jeans and other laid back clothing. There’s no need to bring your stilettos or your sparkly evening gown.

Bonus: Going Hiking?

Take a guided hike to Larch Valley with Discover Banff Tours

If you plan on going trekking on one of the mountain trails during your visit to Banff, what should you bring along?

First of all, make sure that you have good hiking shoes or boots with sturdy soles. The mountain trails are rocky and uneven and you don’t want to be hiking them in flip flops.

You should bring bear spray along with you, just in case.  However, ideally you should avoid encountering a bear at all. Hike in numbers or join a small guided hiking tour.  Make sure that you leave no food or other scented products like soaps and toothpaste out around your campsite at night. Also, make lots of noise while hiking, the bears will hear you coming and leave the area. Here are a few more tips on bear safety in the Rocky Mountains.

Bring along a small first aid kit as well, which is handy for patching up scratches and blisters. Also, bring plenty of water with you so that you can stay hydrated. The tap water is safe to drink in Banff, so you can bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up anywhere you go. However, don’t drink from the streams or lakes as you don’t know whether the water is safe or will cause stomach issues.

Shirts made from polyester and other sports fabrics are best for hiking. They wick the sweat away from your skin, unlike cotton which will become wet and will cling to you.

Also, don’t forget to bring your camera and a pair of binoculars in case you spot some wildlife during your hike!

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