Spring Trip Ideas
Spring is a time of rejuvenation in Banff and Lake Louise. As the days grow longer and sunshine warmer, the valleys come alive with birdsong and fresh growth, while snow lingers on the mountain slopes.
This season of transition offers a wonderful opportunity for you to find connection and relaxation amidst awe-inspiring natural beauty and vibrant culture. Take advantage of hidden gem hiking trails, fewer crowds, and some of the best skiing (and après ski) of the season, for an invigorating visit. It’s also the perfect time to nourish body and soul by slowing down, connecting with nature, and enjoying the simple pleasures.
Things to Do
Whether the spring weather brings sunshine or rain, there is a wealth of things to do for all ages and interests. Take a look at our insiders’ tips on what to do during your springtime visit.
Early Season Hikes
Spring is a beautiful time for hiking in Banff and Lake Louise - the air is cool and fresh, the views of the snow-capped peaks will stop you in your tracks, and you’ll have the trails largely to yourself. Locals have a number of lower elevation trails they enjoy during the spring. Some favourites include Tunnel Mountain (accessible right from the Banff townsite), Minnewanka Lakeside, the stunning Sundance Canyon, and the Lake Louise Lakeshore.
Depending on the snow conditions, you might want to rent ice cleats/micro-spikes from a local gear store to make sure you’re not slipping around. Before heading out, check the Parks Canada website for updates on trail conditions and planned closures.
Sunny days, great snow, and après ski on the patio make spring the locals’ favourite time to ski. Until mid-May, make the most of our three ski resorts which all offer fantastic terrain, a strikingly scenic setting, and a happening après scene. It’s the perfect recipe for a fun day out.
Rainy Day Activities
Although we’re blessed with a lot of sunshine here, we do get some rain in the spring. Here are some ideas for what to do when it’s wet out. Take a look at 11 Things to Do on a Rainy Day as well for more suggestions.
Visit a museum to learn about the history and culture of the area.
Take in a performance at the world renowned Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.
Soak in the restorative, mineral-rich waters of the Banff Upper Hot Springs.
Catch a movie at the Lux Cinema.
Visit the Bowling Alley and challenge your friends to a game or two.
Where to Stay
Banff and Lake Louise have accommodation options for everyone, whatever your preferences and budget. Stay in a classic backcountry lodge, enjoy epic views from your chalet, or soak up the peaceful energy of Lake Louise in the springtime. To explore all the accommodation options, please see our Places to Stay page.
A lodge is an ideal way to take advantage of the unique range of outdoor activities on offer during the spring. Why not ski in the morning then go for a hike in the afternoon? Skoki Lodge is a historic backcountry lodge located in the high alpine of Banff National Park. Access is via an 11km hiking or skiing trail starting at Lake Louise - a great opportunity to embrace a real adventure and a true getaway. Emerald Lake Lodge offers a secluded hideaway, surrounded by some of the most rugged and beautiful mountains you’ll ever see, but is only a short drive from Lake Louise. Another great option is Storm Mountain Lodge, famous for its exceptional food. Located remotely, and in the centre in Banff National Park, it is a perfect basecamp for spring adventures.
Stays on the Bow Valley Parkway
The Bow Valley Parkway runs between Banff and Lake Louise for 50 of the most scenic kilometres (30 miles) you’ll likely ever experience. There are some great options for accommodation along this winding road. Castle Mountain Chalets offer rustic chalet lodgings in a stunningly scenic setting, with all the conveniences of home, while Baker Creek Mountain Resort has cozy log cabins and lodge suites. Both are ideal options for families, couples, or groups of friends.
Lake Louise Hotels
Spring is a quieter season in Lake Louise and a wonderful time to take a break from the daily hustle. Skiing, hiking, and maybe even skating on the lake (if conditions allow) are all on offer during the spring months. There are plenty of options for where to stay in Lake Louise: Lake Louise Inn, Baker Creek Mountian Resort, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Deer Lodge, Mountaineer Lodge, Paradise Lodge and Bungalows (May 15 - October 4, 2020).
Make sure you check out our events calendar to see what’s going on while you’re in the area. There are many events taking place in Banff and Lake Louise this spring, whether you’re into practising yoga, running a marathon, eating gourmet dishes, or listening to music.
Events happening this spring:
The Banff Yoga Festival brings together teachers and practitioners of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness for a celebration of mind, body, and soul.
The Banff Marathon offers the opportunity to run through some of the most pristine and rugged landscapes in North America. There are full and half marathon distances on offer, as well as a 10K race.
Check the calendar of the world-renowned Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity to see what incredible music, film, arts, and drama programs and shows they have on offer in the spring.
Springtime in Banff and Lake Louise is a great time to nourish your body and soul. Surrounded by such majestic natural beauty, it’s hard not to feel uplifted and relaxed here. Take advantage of one of the many wellness events happening this spring, or create your own mini retreat.
Some suggestions for an inspiring and balancing visit:
Attend one of the many wellness events (including meditation, yoga, and mindfulness workshops) taking place this spring.
Soak in the Banff Upper Hot Springs, savouring the soothing mineral-rich waters.
Join a yoga class at a studio in the town of Banff.
Try “shinrin-yoku” (forest bathing), a Japanese practice of spending time in the woods, moving slowly with intention while soaking up all the sights, smells, and sounds.
Indulge in some well-earned self care at one of the many spa and wellness providers in Banff and Lake Louise: a deep tissue massage or spa treatment will be sure to leave you feeling pampered and refreshed.
Where to Eat
Banff and Lake Louise’s vibrant and diverse food scene features a distinctive taste of place which connects you to our people and environment. From cozy family meals to intimate romantic dinners, coffee as the sun rises to après on a sunny terrace: there are endless options for what and where to eat.
Check our locals’ recommendations for the 10 best places to après after your days’ adventures, whether you’ve been lapping up the spring snow, hiking, or simply soaking in the scenery.
If the spring time weather has you feeling on a health kick, you’re in luck when you visit here - there are many options for the health-conscious foodie.
Park Distillery creates award winning spirits in one of the purest places on the planet. You can tour their distillery and learn how they create small batch spirits from Rocky Mountain glacial waters - and maybe taste one or two along the way as well.
Read about the best ways to enjoy coffee or tea in Banff National Park for insiders’ tips on where to get the best cup of tea or coffee.
There are many easy options for getting around and exploring during your visit, whether you’re driving, planning a vehicle-free visit, or in an RV. Read on for more info.
We have gathered together here all our tips for getting around. Here are some of the highlights:
Take advantage of the extensive public transit and shuttle options to enjoy the scenery vehicle- and stress-free.
Purchase a Park Pass online before you arrive for express entry into the park.
Rent a bike or lace up your walking shoes for a fun and healthy way to get around the town of Banff.
Check out the Town of Banff’s parking page for a parking map, current capacity at Banff parking lots, and traffic cameras.
What to Wear
In springtime we see warm sunshine, occasional rain, and lingering snow: we recommend bringing layers of clothing and a waterproof jacket so that you have the clothing to deal with the changeable weather we can experience during the spring.
During springtime in the Canadian Rockies you might experience a range of weather. We often enjoy mild temperatures during the day, but the temperature usually drops at night and a good amount of snow lingers on the mountains and in the valley. The average high temperature at this time of year is 10°C (50°F).
We suggest bringing layers, so you can stay warm during the chilly evenings and mornings and take layers off as it warms up during the day. Warm gloves, a toque (that’s Canadian for a woolly hat), and sunglasses are a good idea as well.