A weekend trip to Banff in November: Things to pack and Places to visit

Are you planning a weekend getaway to Banff in November? November is a laid-back and pleasant time to visit the Canadian Rockies. It offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and relaxation, including non-busy trails, delicious dining experiences, and the magic of early-season snowfall. However, as you prepare for your trip, remember to pack wisely to ensure you have everything you need to stay comfortable while enjoying the attractions. In this blog post, we will discuss what essentials to pack for your weekend trip to Banff in November and highlight some must-visit places during this time of year.

What to Wear:

When exploring the town of Banff in November, it's important to dress appropriately for the chilly weather. You may notice that many locals tend to opt for the cozy comfort of heated apparel. With their advanced heating technology and adjustable settings, heated apparel allows you to stay cozy and enjoy outdoor activities for longer periods without the need for piling on multiple layers.

For outdoor activities like hiking or hitting the ski hill, make sure to have waterproof gear. Snow pants, a winter jacket, vest, hoodie, a neck warmer, and gloves or mitts are essential to protect yourself and stay dry. Having the right gear will allow you to fully enjoy the trails and slopes without worrying about getting wet or cold.

Merino Wool Winter Accessories:

Given the chilly temperatures in November, it's important to pack suitable cold weather gear. Keep your head and hands warm with breathable, durable, and soft SmartWool winter accessories: hats, head bands, gloves and mittens made of merino wool and polyester blend. Of course, you can’t forget about Kombi hiking socks that ensure your toes stay cozy warm in winter and cool in summer thanks the 3 Fiber Tech and the antimicrobial Merino wool blend.

What to pack:

  • When preparing for a weekend trip to Banff in November, it's crucial to have a durable backpack that can hold all your essentials. Whether you plan to go hiking or explore the town, a reliable backpack will make carrying your belongings much easier. Additionally, remember to pack a well-stocked medical kit with items like bandages, pain relievers, and most necessary medications.

  • Given the slippery conditions of the roads and trails in Banff during November, we would highly advise to consider packing Microspikes. These traction devices can be attached to your shoes or boots, providing stability and preventing slipping on icy or snowy surfaces.
  • If you plan to take breaks during your hikes or simply want a comfortable seat while enjoying the breathtaking views, a Klymit seat cushion is a great addition to your backpack. This lightweight and compact pad will insulate against the cold ground, ensuring your comfort during moments of rest.
  • The chilly weather calls for cozy moments with a warm beverage in hand, whether it's a steaming cup of coffee or a comforting hot chocolate. The Kuma tumbler is designed to keep your drinks hot for hours, allowing you to savour every sip while enjoying the beautiful sights and activities that Banff has to offer. Its durable construction and leak-proof lid make it the perfect companion for your outdoor adventures.

What to see:

  • Sulphur Mountain

One of the highlights of visiting Banff in November is the opportunity to hike Sulphur Mountain. Renowned as one of the most popular hikes in Banff National Park, Sulphur Mountain offers a stunning ascent with breathtaking views of the Bow Valley.

While the trail can get crowded during the summer months due to its proximity to Banff town and the availability of the Banff Gondola, November presents a unique advantage. With fewer visitors, you can enjoy the hike and the boardwalk at the peak without the usual crowds. To navigate the trail effortlessly in November, consider equipping yourself with a pair of microspikes and hiking poles. These accessories will provide stability and ensure a smooth climb to the top, allowing you to fully appreciate the beauty of Sulphur Mountain. Make sure to pack plenty of water - Sulphur Mountain is a real leg-burner!

sulphur mountain

  • The Spirit of Christmas Store

A local favourite, the Spirit of Christmas store is your one stop shop for all things Christmas. The Spirit of Christmas store is not just Canada's largest year-round Christmas store; it's a magical place where you can experience the joy of the holiday season and discover treasures that will make your celebrations even more special!

  • Santa Claus Celebration of Lights

A festive day of holiday activities and entertainment to kick off the Christmas season in downtown Banff is the Santa Claus Celebration of Lights. This full day of cheerful celebrations on Banff Ave includes talented local and Albertan artists performing on the main stage, surrounded by whimsical street performers, "Santa's Workshop," and more magical activities for the whole family to enjoy.

As the sun begins to set, the highlight of the event is the main show, where Santa and Mrs. Claus lead their dancing elves and all the performers down Banff Ave. The culmination of the event is the lighting up of Banff, with Santa hosting the ceremony. This magical moment, accompanied by special guest appearances, is not to be missed and marks the start of the Christmas season in Banff.

  • Banff Christmas Market

The Banff Christmas Market is a must-visit during the holiday season! Located at Warner Stables, this market, held over three weekends starting in mid-November, is the perfect place to do some holiday shopping. You'll find a wide array of unique gifts, goodies, and treats inspired by the Canadian Rocky Mountains and mountain culture. Whether you're looking for a special gift for a loved one or a little something for yourself, this market has it all. Don't miss out on this opportunity to find the perfect gift that truly captures the essence of this stunning region!

  • Banff Hot Springs

After a day out on the town, it’s time to unwind and relax. There’s no better spot to do so than the Banff Hot Springs. Located at the top of Sulphur Mountain, the Banff Hot Springs offer breathtaking views overlooking the valley and a chance to and unwind after a day of exploring the town or hiking in the mountains. The warm, mineral-rich waters can help relieve any muscle tension, allowing you to feel rejuvenated. Whether you choose to visit during the day or at night, the Banff Hot Springs provide a refreshing experience that will leave you feeling revitalized.

  • The Banff Sweet Shoppe 

Located in Banff, the Banff Sweet Shoppe houses the best candy in the West (or so we like to think). Make sure to grab a chocolate bar or delicious trail mix as a reward for your hike!

  • Lake Louise

In November, Lake Louise transforms into a winter wonderland, with the lake typically freezing by mid to late November. If you're fortunate, you might even have the chance to ice skate on the frozen lake before snow covers it, which occurs every few years, creating a stunning scene resembling frozen blue Kool-Aid.

November also marks the opening of Lake Louise Ski Resort, offering early-season skiing opportunities. Additionally, this time of year is considered the local season in Banff National Park, with the summer tourists gone and the holiday tourists yet to arrive. It's a peaceful and serene time to visit Lake Louise or Emerald Lake and enjoy skiing at the resort.


As you get ready for your weekend trip to Banff in November, packing the right essentials will ensure your comfort and enjoyment during your stay. From a sturdy backpack and cold weather gear to essential accessories and gear, being well-prepared is important. Enjoy the beauty of this winter wonderland and create unforgettable memories in the heart of the Canadian Rockies!


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