With the summer season ending in this breathtaking part of the world, the town of Banff and its surrounding playground seem to take a collective breath. After all, it’s made it through the summer rush, and as nature prepares for another dramatic turn – winter – the autumn season comes into focus. Banff in fall combines the best of both worlds, with warm days and glimpses of the magic that awaits such as Hike Larch Valley, Drive along the Icefields Parkway, Go to Johnston Canyon,…
Our best true local tip – fall in the Rockies occurs between September and November.
Look at Some Golden Larches is the best experience in Banff In Fall
From the second week of September to the first week of October, you can see a unique type of tree – the Golden Larch – turn golden. Because these lovely coniferous trees can only be found at higher elevations, Banff and Lake Louise are two of the best places to see them.
Take a moment to stroke the soft needles, which will fall in a few weeks, just like the others, and grow green again in spring. Choose a trail to trek to one of the many places where you can sit and enjoy the beauty of the trees and surrounding scenery. You can choose from various lengths and difficulty levels to suit your time and ability.
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As the summer season ends, the wildlife begins to reappear. As the winter months approach, wildlife in Banff National Park is preparing for them. It is not necessary to travel far from town to see elk or a bear searching for the last mountain berries. Choose a trail, bring some bear spray, and see the wildlife this fall!
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Hike Larch Valley in Banff In Fall
While we have provided a general idea of hiking to see larches in the preceding paragraph, this hike is a must-do for anyone looking to immerse themselves in a setting where they are guaranteed to see these unique trees. This is undoubtedly one of the most popular hikes in the area for viewing the golden trees, so get an early start.
The trail begins at Moraine Lake, near Lake Louise, and is well-marked because it is heavily used during summer. The total elevation gains up to Sentinel Pass for the incredible views will be about 535 meters. The round trip to the pass and back will be 8 to 12 kilometers depending on how far you go.
This activity does not necessitate any prior knowledge. Choose from an hour to a four-hour horseback tour to see the breathtaking Bow River, Spray River, or Sulphur Mountain. Pony rides are available for younger children, and if you don’t want to get on the back of a horse, you can ride in a covered wagon and feast at a BBQ cookout. The scenery will take your breath away, and the horses are well-trained, so you can sit back and enjoy the view without worry. Banff Trail Riders provide daily services until mid-October.
Do Some Fall Golfing
A fall visit to this area would be incomplete without a round of golf at the Banff Springs Golf Course.
In its unique setting, this beautiful course will challenge experienced players. The 18-hole Stanley Thompson course and the 9-hole Tunnel Mountain course are available in Banff Springs. The 27 holes total over 7,000 yards in length (6,363 metres). Stanley Thompson, Canada’s master golf course architect, designed the original 18 holes at Banff Springs in 1928, so you know it will be fantastic. The fall season is ideal for strolling around this world-class site.
Go to Johnston Canyon.
This is a great place to spend some time along the Bow Valley Parkway at any time of year, but fall adds that extra oomph of nature that completes the atmosphere.
Some of the rushing waters can be seen from the bottom, but walk up the pathway to the lower or even upper falls for the best views. The tumbling waters of the canyon, set against the autumn colors, will take your breath away.
The Lower Falls are 1.1 kilometers away from the parking lot and take about 30 minutes to walk from there. The trail to the Upper Falls is slightly more difficult, ascending through the forest and out of the lower canyon. Johnston canyon in fall is awesome place!
Ride Some Gondolas, Banff In Fall
Autumn in the Rockies provides incredible vistas, with various colors splashed across mountain faces and reflected in glistening glacier lakes. The Banff Gondola offers a great experience to get to the top of Sulphur Mountain to enjoy the vistas and trails for a bird’s eye view of Banff town and the surrounding peaks.
Banff Lake Cruise
The stunning Lake Minnewanka can be found just fifteen minutes outside of town. A great way to relax and enjoy the fresh air and scenery, you may even see some wildlife as you skim across the water.
The heated boats are a great place to spend a fall afternoon simply taking in the scenery. To ensure parking, make reservations ahead of time and arrive early or take the shuttle from town.
Drive along the Icefields Parkway.
The stunning Icefields Parkway is breathtaking in the fall. Because the beauty of this region is unparalleled, even a short drive will take you past several photogenic pullouts and viewpoints. The Parkway extends to Jasper, but there are numerous places to turn around if you don’t want to drive 232 kilometers.
The colors of the leaves reflect on the many lakes, and later in the season, the contrast of snow with the autumn leaves may be visible. Hikes and glacier visits are among the many things to see and do along the Parkway.
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Visit a Few Museums
Not surprisingly, Banff is home to several excellent museums, each focusing on a different aspect of the area’s history. The Cave and Basin National Historic Site is Banff National Park’s birthplace. Visiting here will allow you to learn more about this unique cave, with its amazing waters and exciting history. It even has a type of snail that is unique to the world. Don’t miss the Buffalo Nation Luxton Museum, where you can learn about the area’s First Nations and their fascinating history and culture in this fort-like structure.