The mountains are snow-capped, the ski hills are open, and the cozy factor takes complete hold of these quaint alpine towns.
November is one of the quietest times in the Canadian Rockies, which gives you the most room to roam. Find wide-open trails, eat at exclusive restaurants, and see the wonder in an early-season snowfall.
Here’s what you can expect to see, do, and experience in Banff and Lake Louise in November.
If you’re all about the sweater weather, now is the time to head to Banff and Lake Louise. While the snow is falling, the daytime temperatures haven’t yet dropped consistently into the negatives, so you can still enjoy the great outdoors without bundling up from head-to-toe.
Banff Daytime 1°C (33.8°F)
Banff Overnight -8°C (17.6°F)
Lake Louise Daytime 1°C (33.8°F)
Lake Louise Overnight -13°C (8.6°F)
November usually offers more snow, so expect to see it creep down from the mountaintops and into the valleys below.
What to Pack
The days grow shorter as we approach the winter solstice, and the nights get cooler, so come prepared with layers.
You’ll want to pack proper closed-toe footwear like boots with a good grip to stay warm and upright on your visit. Wool socks are a go-to to keep your feet dry, and we recommend bringing extra pairs in case there’s wet snow.
In town, you’ll want long pants, knit sweaters, warm jackets, a toque (beanie), mitts, and a scarf. Locals often wear multiple layers, including long underwear and undershirts. You could tough it out with less, but we would rather you enjoy your trip than spend it shivering in the streets, though there are lots of shops, restaurants, and cafés to warm up in.
On the trails or the ski hill, you’ll want waterproof gear like snow pants, a winter coat (parka), a neck warmer, and gloves or mitts.
What to See and Do
Longer nights lead to cooler temperatures that start to freeze moving water. Johnston Canyon is quietest at this time of year but also the most magical. The lower and upper falls begin to ice over, and you’re still likely to see the water rushing through the glassy layers.
Wildlife can be harder to spot in November as they prepare for winter, so we recommend booking a tour at Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary through Discover Banff Tours for guaranteed sightings. They rescue hybrid wolf-dogs (and some coyote mixes, too) and allow you to get up close and personal with them on their interactive tour — something that isn’t possible with their wilder relatives.
Finally, if you want to get some of the most stunning views, take a helicopter ride. You’ll soar high above the peaks, and, depending on the tour you choose, you may land and have time to explore areas rarely visited on foot.
Each year, Banff and Lake Louise are hosts to two iconic events.
This year, the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival comes to you with select in-person screenings at both the Banff Centre and the Lux Theatre. Back by popular demand, you can also enjoy the festival virtually. If you choose to watch it virtually, we recommend watching it from your hotel while overlooking the mountains that inspired the adventures themselves. Catch a film from October 30-November 7, 2021.
In the theme of mountain culture, adventures go hand-in-hand with good food. Taste for Adventure takes place from November 1-28, 2021, where 15+ restaurants bring you fixed-priced menus from the region’s top chefs. These specially crafted menus are only available during the event, so don’t miss out!
New this year: the more you eat, the more you can win. Check out the weekly prizes up for grabs.
Some early-bird skiers and snowboarders visited in late October to catch the first day, but November brings more consistent snow. Head to Banff and Lake Louise this month to make the most of our 7-month ski season.