Canadian Rockies – The Best Time To Go……….
I have been asked this question a few times the last few days since re released our fabulous Tailormade itinerary to the Canadian Rockies featuring Rocky Mountaineer and Alaska with Holland America Line for April 2018 and for the rest of the summer so I thought I would clarify a few hints and tips if this is a trip you are thinking of booking. So when is the best time to go? I guess the answer is mainly featured around what you would like to see and experience, although I can guarantee you an amazing holiday anytime from April through to September.
As you may know I went to the Rockies at the end of April this year and did a 6 night land tour with Rocky Mountaineer featuring two days onboard the wonderful Rocky Mountaineer train, a trip of a lifetime so from personal experience here is a month by month guide of when to go , what to see and the what to wear.
April is the start of the season for Rocky Mountaineer so to travel at this time, the weather is mixed . I travelled Vancouver to Calgary and a wonderful time of year to go. The weather in Vancouver and Calgary was extremely warm, warm enough for light clothing . In fact the evening in Vancouver I didn’t even need a jacket. The weather only starts to change as you enter the Rockies themselves. Snow is still quite prominent in the Rockies until the last week of May so if you travel before then you will see stunning snow capped mountains and frozen lakes. Banff and Lake Louise saw a huge amount of snow at the end of April so it truly was the most stunning winter wonderland as we travelled though Jasper, Lake Louise and Emerald Lake! Warm clothing , gloves and hats were needed at this point. We even managed a fun snowball fight on one of the Glaciers.
You still see wildlife at this time as the animals are just coming down from the mountains out of hibernation to feed on the lower grounds. We saw black bears, Elks , Eagles and many Dall sheep throughout our journey. It was so picturesque as you can see from my picture of Lake Louise! I would definitely go back at this time of year.
This was the view from my window early May this year at the Fairmont Lake Louise
June is the start of breeding season when the young are born so you may see more wildlife during these months . Early wildflowers can also be seen together with Grizzly Bears! As this is still a quiet time in June the animals are still feeding in the lower grounds but this may change in peak times due to the crowds so they may head up back the mountains during July/August. Of course when you are on the train no crowds wonderful scenery and always an opportunity to see the bears and so much more.
The weather can reach up to 24 Degrees C in June and July, so summer casual clothes are the order of the day and most importantly on any trip to the Rockies Sun Glasses are a must ! Also remember that the Rockies can have more rainfall in these months too , when a say rainfall for them this means just the odd shower or two so a waterproof jacket is also a must.
June is still quite a quiet month in the Rockies so a wonderful time to go to avoid huge crowds. The lakes eg. Lake Louise and Emerald Lake will be thawed by late June so if you want to take advantage of the stunning turquoise waters then a good time for you to go.
The weather again is quite warm again in August , and although busy as the height of the season the scenery at this time of year is stunning. Elks, Mule Deer and White -Tailed Deer are in abundance, if you experience the Sulphur mountain Gondola like I did the big horn sheep can also be spotted. It is also said that on the Road to Lake Louise Grizzly bears can be spotted with their cubs. If you have the chance to stay at Fairmont Lake Louise the wildlife around the Lake is also in abundance throughout the summer months eg. squirrels, chipmonks and a whole host of different birds too. In September you will notice that bears and other animals are still on the lower grounds as they feed and stock up ready again for hibernation.
The Rockies are one of the most stunning places on earth and memories made here you will never forget. A lot of the wildlife you see can also be by luck rather than judgement so my advice would be to always have your camera ready as you never know what you will see and when. Its an experience though when you do catch a glimpse of a bear. I was lucky enough to see momma bear with her 3 cubs at the said of the road as we went past on the train , unfortunately I was too slow to take a picture, 🙁
So I guess to recap the there is always a good time to visit the Canadian Rockies. If you are looking for a winter wonderland then April and May, if you are looking for wildflowers turquoise waters the from Late June onwards. Animals have there young in early June and well bears are in abundance throughout the year.
I have added the link for our Rocky Mountaineer trips below so if you are looking to experience this then please do let me know.
Cheers Holly x