A Fall Guide to Banff & Lake Louise

A Fall Guide to Banff & Lake Louise

The season of golden larches is arguably one of the most beautiful times of year to visit Banff and Lake Louise. Whether you’re interested in the endless fall activities (hiking, biking, paddleboarding), or simply enjoying the incredible fall foliage, autumn is an amazing time to discover more of Banff National Park and take advantage of all the warm-weather activities before the winter months arrive.

Banff Avenue

Heading into the town of Banff is a perfect stop on your fall road trip. Only until September 12 pedestrians can roam on the three-block closure of Banff Avenue. Take your time strolling, browsing local retailers, lounging on patios and sampling specialty cuisine as you drink in the magnificent views of Cascade Mountain.

Banff Ave - Summer 2020
Banff Ave

Hiking in the Larches

Photographers from all over travel to Banff National Park in the autumn to capture the colorful foliage of the larches set against the majestic backdrop of the towering peaks. The short-lived nature of this season makes fall a truly magical time of the year for Banff and Lake Louise. Check out the list of the best larch hikes in the Rockies.

Lake Louise Summer Gondola
Lake Louise Ski Resort – Photo by Jason Macqueen

Biking the Parkway

Moving at a slower pace, you can engage more deeply with your surroundings. This summer has been especially unique. A section of the Bow Valley Parkway (1A) has been closed to cars and will remain so for a limited time this fall. From the town of Banff travel west past Vermilion Lakes and connect to Legacy Trail and Bow Valley Parkway. Once on the parkway continue to travel west exploring the interpretive spots and look-outs all the way to Castle Mountain Junction. Want to try it on an e-bike? Learn more about planning a full day of exploration on the 1A.

1A Entrance – Photo by Sarah Magyar

There are many routes to choose from, read up on what kind of cycling adventure you have always wanted to try. Pack a lunch and enjoy the ride!

Paddleboarding

Fall just might just be the best season of the year for stand up paddle boarding. Paddling without the summer crowd offers peace and quiet, which makes for an unforgettable water adventure. From snow-capped mountains, glaciers, and emerald-green water, Banff National Park has it all. Our SkiBig3 Adventure Hub specialists will set you up with an inflatable SUP that includes a pump, backpack and PFD, so you can roam the park with ease. To help you find your next SUP oasis, we’ve put together a list of epic stand-up paddleboarding locations you absolutely need to see experience.

Photo by Will Lambert

Lake Louise Ski Resort

Gorgeous views, larches, wildlife, alpine lakes, and glaciers, hiking and sightseeing in Lake Louise is an iconic fall attraction. There are a variety of things to explore, but if you are looking for an enriching adventure, escape the crowds at Lake Louise Ski Resort Summer Gondola. There are endless possibilities for everyone. You can spend the entire day hiking, sightseeing, relaxing on patios, and exploring the wildlife interpretive centre.  A day here will connect you closer with nature and give you a rewarding fall adventure. Make sure to visit before winter preparations begin! Summer operations end September 20, 2020. 

Lake Louise Summer Gondola

Mt. Norquay

This is the best place to experience Banff above the clouds in the fall. Just minutes from the town of Banff and a peaceful chair ride up leads to impressive views of the Banff National Park. Sightseeing and taking in the views in the new outdoor seating is the best way to relax before the snow arrives. Take your time and make sure you stop in at the historic Cliffhouse Bistro for one of the best mountain gazing lunches. Looking to get your adrenaline pumping? Italian for “the iron way”, Via Ferrata offers assisted climbing experiences on the cliffs above Mt. Norquay with an expert guide.No matter what adventure you choose at Mt. Norquay, it is the perfect place for an off the beaten path experience.

Mt Norquay Sightseeing
Mt Norquay Sightseeing

Where to Stay

With so much to do in Banff National Park, you will need more than a day or a weekend to fit it all in. Try visiting midweek when it is quieter, and you can find better prices and value-add offers on accommodation packages.

Talk to our in-destination Reservations Team today to plan a personalized trip, or book your lodging, rentals and experiences online. With a flexible change policy and no risk cancellation options, we recommend taking advantage of all Banff National Park has to offer this fall before the snow starts to fly once again.

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