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Rain and cold the entire week

San Diego...
Level Contributor
39 posts
20 reviews
Rain and cold the entire week

We will be in the Canadian Rockies from Sept. 5 - 13, 2014. Weather prediction for all but the first and last days are rain and low 60s. How shall we plan our days? Our previous itinerary had us doing all outdoors things.

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
22,170 posts
132 reviews
1. Re: Rain and cold the entire week

For starters, the weather forecasts are not terribly accurate here, especially more than two or three days in advance. So I don't think you should put much stock in what the forecast is saying now, a week before your arrival. Secondly, even if the forecast was for better weather, you should still have warm layers and rain protection for most outdoor activities like hiking - the weather can change very quickly especially at higher elevations. Low 60s is pretty good weather more a lot of activities!

(And by the way, the forecasts are for the townsites, which are at lower elevations... temperatures up higher will be cooler.)

Edited: 29 August 2014, 00:17
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
32 posts
1 review
2. Re: Rain and cold the entire week

I will be in Canadian rockies from Sep 4th to Sep9th. The weather during these days is much better than I thought before according current weather forecasts. It is normal that temperature will be much lower in Sep than Aug. That is Canada.

Edited: 29 August 2014, 00:55
Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
8,331 posts
4 reviews
3. Re: Rain and cold the entire week

+1 to KRP

Weather forecasts for the mountain areas are notoriously unreliable. I've had plenty of weekends this year where the forecast was dismal where it turned out to be just fine. Or forecasts that changed practically daily over the course of the week.

The weather can also vary widely not only by elevation (rain in Canmore, snow on the mountains 1000m above), but by area. It can be sunny in Canmore and pouring rain in Banff; the difference is often more pronounced between locations on opposite sides of the continental divide (i.e. Banff and Jasper vs. Yoho).

And yes, low 60s is great weather for much of the weather year - that and sun is pretty darn good by mountain standards. Remember that summertime lows in the mountain valleys can get down into the 30s and snow on higher mountain elevations is not uncommon right through the summer (there was 5-10cm in the last couple of days in the mountains above Lake Louise...).

As krp says, regardless of the forecast, you need to bring good rain protection (jacket for starters) and lots of warm layers. Strongly suggested to also have at least a thin hat & mitts/gloves. It's been well cold enough for hat & gloves in the mornings at places like Canmore and Lake Louise.

Destination Expert
for Algonquin Provincial Park
Level Contributor
4,219 posts
4. Re: Rain and cold the entire week

The "I'm going to the Rockies and the forecast is for rain" thread seems to come up a lot, perhaps because the weather changes so fast and frequently in the mountains that most days do have some rain in the forecast... maybe it should be added to Top Questions?

To recycle a reply I gave on one such thread:

Weather changes very quickly and often in the mountains. You might have rain every day, but you'll have sunny weather on the same days. Pack full rain gear for each hike, don't shy away from doing them. I attended an outdoor wedding in Lake Louise a couple of summers ago, it started raining during the procession to the altar, someone held an umbrella over the violinist and she kept playing. The rain stopped during vows. The next day I drove up the Icefields Parkway through a heavy rainstorm, which stopped in time for me to hike Wilcox Pass in full sunshine.


As for the temperature (and based on Google's conversion telling me that low 60s in fahrenheit means mid to high teens), if you're doing outdoors stuff like mountain hikes, it kind of doesn't matter what the temperature is at the townsite since as ksneds says it'll be different at each altitude anyway. Nice and cool is good for such hikes if you don't want to sweat through all your clothing. Always dress in easily-sheddable layers of course.

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Banff National Park
Level Contributor
6,978 posts
124 reviews
5. Re: Rain and cold the entire week

In case you really do encounter rainy days, this TA page (Banff - Rainy Day Activities) may be helpful:


Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
22,170 posts
132 reviews
6. Re: Rain and cold the entire week

Today, the high temperature in Jasper townsite was 65F. I was out hiking today, above Maligne Lake. We did a bunch of ridge-walking, up to almost to 8000 feet; it was a drizzly, windy, cold day and it was nowhere near 60F (probably under 40F where we were). I've been a little spoiled lately, with the beautiful hot weather we've had all summer, but today was more typical hiking weather, and although I was feeling a bit chilly at times, I had the gear for the weather and it was a great day out.

Level Contributor
81 posts
45 reviews
7. Re: Rain and cold the entire week

We just returned home from Lake Louise yesterday and I was worried like you are about the weather. We had quite a bit of rain and 50 degree temperatures and still had a great time! I'd suggest bringing a raincoat, rain pants, fleece, sweatshirt, hat and light gloves, depending on how cold of a hiker you are. Like the previous posters mentioned, even on days that were classified as "rain" in the forecast, the sky changed a lot and there would be periods of sunshine. The other thing I noticed is that the glacier fed lakes, such as Louise and Moraine, are still their beautiful blue color even when the sky is gray. Your pictures will still turn out. As long as you don't mind doing some activities in the rain, you will be fine.

I have the Weather Underground app on my phone. The hourly forecast was not always accurate but the weather radar is and you can use that to determine how long the rain will take to move through the area. Cell service is very good at Lake Louise and at the village, not very good at Moraine Lake, Trans-Canada a few miles west of town or on the Icefields Parkway.

8. Re: Rain and cold the entire week

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