Alberta Banff National Park

How to Enjoy Banff National Park in the Spring

June 25, 2022
Lake Louise in the spring

Thinking about visiting Banff National Park in the spring? It’s a great time to visit, but do realize that you won’t be able to see many of the beautiful turquoise lakes; that’s because the lakes are still mostly frozen! However, that should not deter you from visiting Banff in the spring, especially since you’ll be able to enjoy the scenery beautiful without the packed summer crowds. Read on for my recommendations on how to enjoy Banff’s great outdoors in the spring.

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

In May and even June, Lake Louise is still mostly frozen, but is open to visitors (Moraine Lake, meanwhile, is still closed). From Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise you can take a short, brisk hike along the Lake Louise Shoreline Trail and see the thawed shoreline, revealing the beautiful turquoise water that’s yet to fully come in the summer.

View of Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

As you hike further away from Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, you’ll most likely hit some heavily-packed snow along the trail. Should you continue further, you’ll eventually be able to see the Lake Agnes Tea House, which is about 1-2 hours away depending on your hiking speed, but only open starting in early June.

Emerald Lake

Canoeing at Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake is about a half-hour drive west of Lake Louise and is one of the few lakes that’s fully thawed with the green and blue water that the Canadian Rockies are known for. I would recommend renting a canoe to fully enjoy the experience ($80/hour, last canoe goes out at 4:45pm). The water is so clear that you can even see the bottom of the lake in some areas!

Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon Lower Falls

Johnston Canyon is about a half-hour drive northeast of Banff. Here, you can do a fairly easy hike through well-maintained trails and bridges to see some deep canyons and gushing waterfalls. At the lower falls, you can even go through a cave to see the waterfall up close! (Note: it’s a tight viewing area so you’ll probably need to wait in line to do so.) From there, you can hike up a little less than a mile to see the upper falls.

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls

At the viewing area, you can look straight down to see how far down the falls drop (it’s pretty far down!). Those who want a more challenging hike can do the stunning trail to Ink Pots, which is about 1.25 miles away from the upper falls.

Tunnel Mountain

Tunnel Mountain, Banff

Tunnel Mountain is in the town of Banff and is a great way to start your visit in Banff or to end on a high note (literally). Locals call this hike “easy,” but because it’s steep incline at the beginning of the hike, I would say it’s more of a moderate hike. Tunnel Mountain offers a panoramic view of the city and its surrounding mountains, including a up-close view of Mount Rundle.

Summary

There is so much to see and do in Banff in the spring and my suggestions here are just the tip of the iceberg. While it may still feel like a late winter, you’ll get to enjoy everything without going through crowds or waiting in line just to take a picture!

Have you visited Banff National Park in the spring? Let me know about your experience!

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