If you’re visiting Banff this fall, I have two things to tell you:
- I am very jealous and cannot wait to live vicariously through your Instagram photos, and
- You should probably prepare yourself for snow
This time three years ago Alex and I were in beautiful Banff, and it was one of my favourite trips to date. About a week before we were to fly out, we closely monitored the weather; snow is a real possibility at any time of the year in the mountains of Western Canada.
The day before our departure was Thanksgiving, and that morning we saw snow in the forecast for Banff. We decided to pop into SAIL for waterproof hiking boots on the way to a family dinner, and thank goodness we did: the day we arrived in Canmore, AB, we got the most beautiful dusting of snow.
…And then a huge dumping of it every other day we were there.
It was magical.
Since I have walked in those snowy tracks before, I thought I would share some tips on what to pack if you’re visiting Banff in the fall.
what to pack if you’re visiting Banff in the fall
waterproof hiking boots
Buying those waterproof hiking boots last minute proved to be a smart decision for us. We honestly could not have done much without them. I considered bringing my Sorel boots, but wanted to make sure I’d have footwear that was comfortable to walk and hike in all day, and that would keep my feet warm and dry. I got a version of these Salomon boots at SAIL.
If you want extra waterproofing, look for Gore-Tex in a boot to ensure you stay dry from external moisture like rain and snow, but also from sweat while you hike.
For dinner and other times when you’re not trekking through snow, bring a casual pair of boots, too. I still recommend bringing a pair that can withstand a little bit of snow. It gets pretty slippery, so keep that in mind if you’re bringing a heeled boot.
Even if you monitor the weather before you go, the weather will change at the last second in Banff. It’s also important to take elevation into consideration – the higher you climb, the colder it will be. With this in mind, bring a couple coat layers. I brought my insulated ski jacket which happened to be the right weight for this time of year, but I do wish it was a bit more waterproof. I recommend bringing a puffer coat for warmth, and a waterproof shell to layer up and stay dry.
Warm gloves or mittens are a must for a fall Banff trip. Even if the weather is around zero (not super cold by Canadian standards), your hands will inevitably get cold if you’re outside for an extended period of time.
Don’t forget wool socks, a couple toques, and a scarf, too.
all the layers
Layering will come in handy, especially if you’re planning on doing some hiking. You will feel a range of temperatures as you explore Banff, so make sure you’re dressed appropriately. I recommend wearing a thin and tight base layer under a fleece sweater. That way you can remove or add a layer based on how active you are at any moment, and at any time of day.
Again, the weather in the mountains is unexpected, so make sure you have some cold weather essentials on hand at all times. Which brings me to…
Bring a water-resistant daypack or get a separate rain cover to keep the contents of your bag dry. In your backpack, make sure to always have an extra pair of gloves, socks, and a base layer, just in case. (And please don’t forget a first aid kit, flashlight, and snacks. You can never be too prepared.)
With these items, you’ll be fully prepared for any weather that comes your way in Banff! Above all, enjoy all the beautiful weather you’ll experience – it truly is an incredible place, and snow just makes it that much more magical!
Are you planning a trip to Banff this fall? If you’ve been, what season did you visit in?