Fall in Alberta’s mountain towns is the absolute best time to visit. After the labour day weekend, things slow down, the hiking trails are less crowded, hotel rates drop and the many tourists take their RVs home. And the fall weather is fantastic: mornings are crisp, afternoons are often warm and bright, and the changing leaves are spectacular. Before the snow flies, spend a day or two in the mountains with our suggestions for fall getaways.
Canmore’s Festival of Eagles
Every October bird-lovers flock to Canmore to watch the annual southern migration of the Golden Eagle. From October 17 to 18, the Festival of Eagles features talks, walks and birdwatching, plus a special keynote talk from adventurer Norm Hann. Stay overnight at the Lady Macdonald Country Inn in Canmore from $125 a night, including breakfast.
(canmore.ca and ladymacdonald.com)
Halloween Hall and Heritage Ghost Tour
Having opened in 1888, the Banff Springs Hotel is elegant, luxurious and a little bit spooky. From October 24 to November 1, the Halloween Hall and Heritage Ghost Tour package invites families to a Halloween getaway at the Springs. From $399 a night (double occupancy) enjoy a guided ghost tour, trick or treat through the spooky Halloween Hall and catch a scary flick in the hotel’s theatre.
Jasper’s Dark Sky Festival
In 2011, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada designated Jasper National Park as a dark sky preserve, which means minimal light pollution for maximum stargazing. From October 17 to 26, Jasper celebrates the annual Dark Sky Festival with daily (and nightly) events and activities including a night of music with Col. Chris Hadfield. Stay at Jasper’s Astoria Hotel from $110 a night including $50 meal credit.
(jasper.travel and astoriahotel.com)
Lake Louise Fall Festival
Fall in Lake Louise is so gosh-darn beautiful they created the Lake Louise Fall Festival to celebrate it. From September 6 to October 5 find a variety of events in the Lake Louise area including guided interpretive hikes, special presentations and special deals on hotels, restaurants and activities. Deer Lodge’s Hike the Rockies package includes one night and a gourmet boxed lunch for $105 per person.
Waterton Wildlife Weekend
Waterton celebrates its local wildlife September 19 to 21 with the Waterton Wildlife Weekend. Daily events include Bears of Waterton, a guided interpretive hike with expert Charlie Russel, Wildlife Photography Field Class, Riding Into Wildlife horseback ride and much more. Book a room at the Northland Lodge, the only B&B in the Waterton Lakes National Park, from $149 a night.
watertonwildlife.com and northlandlodgecanada.com