There's a lot of goodness in the "shoulder season" in Banff and Jasper—that time of year between summer and winter, when the rush of visitors from around the world calms. For locals, it's a time to catch up with friends, to enjoy the quieter side of life and to relax before the winter rush.
October days in the Rockies can be either sunny and warm or snowy and crisp. Or a combination! Regardless of the weather, Banff and Jasper in October are full of fun.
Here are some of the things we most look forward to:
- Open Top Touring: Take 90 minutes of your day to discover Banff in high style. The newest attraction in town, Open Top Touring, will take you to the best views in the area on board a 1930s-themed vehicle. Have your camera ready, you won't want to miss all the opportunities to snap that perfect shot. Tours run daily until October 12.
- Deluxe dining: In the evening, the pace slows as the sun sets and our culinary team puts on a savoury show in Sky Bistro. Choose from one of six winemakers’ dinners featuring Canadian wineries paired with harvest-inspired menus. And with the darker evenings, it’s prime time for sunsets and stargazing!
- Last chance to see the larches: You can measure the progress of fall here by the number of golden needles left on the larches. Depending on weather, hiking season can stretch into the end of October. It's not too late to hike among golden trees, the only evergreens that change colour and shed their needles. Head to Taylor Lake, Healy Pass or Rockbound Lake. Be sure to check Banff National Park's trail report first, and bring hiking boots that'll stand up to snow and muddy conditions.
- Thanksgiving: Held on the second Monday of October each year, Canadian Thanksgiving is a traditional time to gather with friends and family and enjoy good food. This year, Farm & Fire in Banff and The Pines in Jasper will have a dedicated Thanksgiving dinner available from October 9-12 for you to recharge after a day full of adventure and celebrate the best of the season. Their farm-to-table approach and wood-fire techniques will bring the family together for a memorable evening. it's also a chance to squeeze in one more bike ride on the Legacy Trail, one more climb at Guide's Rock or one more hike up Tunnel Mountain.
- Getting stoked for winter: As much as we're sad to say goodbye to the glorious days of summer, Banff simply excels at winter. Just about everybody who lives here is nuts about snow (why else would you live here?). That makes October the month for those pre-ski butterflies. We start talking about our favourite runs, buying our passes, sussing out new gear—and counting down to opening day!
- Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival: Banff's biggest annual event is going virtual this 2020. Mountain lovers from around the world will be able to enjoy from the comfort of home the screening of those epic films, listen to authors and fill up with inspiration for their future adventurers.
- Quiet time: If you have the flexibility to travel outside of the busy summer months, you'll find better rates, fewer people and a more relaxed vibe in Banff in October. Some awesome deals include:
- Kids go free at the Banff Gondola. Until October 8, that’s every day before 10 AM. Then, starting October 9 the offer is extended until 12 PM, daily.
- Check out our packages and great rates at the Elk + Avenue hotel and the Mount Royal Hotel.
- Spirit Island in the Shoulder Season: At the Maligne Lake Cruise in Jasper, we’re staying open later into the autumn this year. Cruise the emerald waters of the world’s second-largest glacier-fed lake until October 8. With dustings of snow across the mountain tops, head out mid-afternoon for prime photo ops.
What do you most love about October in the Canadian Rockies?