October in the Rockies

Old Jul 25th, 2013, 07:35 PM
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October in the Rockies

Just in the planning stage of this years trip. We live in Oregon and thinking of a driving trip north to the Canadian Rockies (Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper). Vacation is planned for two weeks in early to mid October. Since we are driving we are thinking we will be able to change plans depending on the weather conditions. Looking for guidance of how realistic it is to drive in the Rockies in October?! I know most of the colored leaves will be gone by then, but sill spectacular scenery! Oh, we are in our 60's drive an SUV, probably not a lot of heavy duty hiking, more just sight seeing. Thoughts?? Thank you
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 07:39 AM
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at times, accommodations in jasper can be tough...I would make sure I had a reservation when visiting there. October can be a fabulous time in the rockies. pack, thinking layers as you could have lots of different weather.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 06:04 PM
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How comfortable are you driving in snow. a very real possibility
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Old Jul 27th, 2013, 08:10 AM
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It's not likely that there will be snow in early October except possibly at higher elevations. There could still be some brilliant yellow leaves around on the birches and poplars, especially at the beginning of the month. The weather can be very changeable in October, but "normal" is pleasant warm days and chilly frosty nights, but expect and be prepared for anything.
Just as an example, we spent the last two weeks of October last year in Jasper-Banff, the third week was rainy and cool, snow fell during the last week and the scenery was spectacular. No problems driving.
In previous years, the weather has been much warmer - no snow at all and sunny days. And this is for the end of the month, not the beginning.
Note that the Thanksgiving long weekend is on October 12 to 14, so make sure you have accommodation for those days. Most tourist locations slow down after that, some close. For some cabin-type accommodation (especially in Jasper), their season ends that weekend and they close for the winter.
Happy travels!!
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Old Jul 29th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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The trees in the Rockies are mostly evergreen (pine/fir), so there really isn't a fall colour change the way you'd expect with deciduous trees. As Borealis mentioned, the birches and poplars go yellow, but for the most part, you only see a scattering of yellow amongst the green evergreens.

The larches are a confirous tree whose needles turn yellow and drop in the fall. The best place to view them is Larch Valley. The hike to Larch Valley is described as "Moderate: 4.3 km one way; 535 m elevation gain; 3.5 to 4 hour round trip" (http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/ban...e.aspx#moraine).

If you're planning on visiting Moraine Lake, you may want to consider this hike. You'll also have great views of the "Ten Peaks" on it.

However, the road to Moraine Lake is closed in early fall because of avalanche conditions. Check with the visitor centre when you arrive to see if it's still open and also if the larches are still worth viewing.

Also, there are sometimes restrictions on the hike in the fall that you must be in groups of no less than 4 persons for safety reasons. The area is frequented by bears in the fall as they eat as much as possible before the winter hibernation. Again, the visitor centre will be able to advise you.
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