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Old 06-09-2019, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Boston, MA
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I'm heading to Glacier National Park in Montana and Banff National Park in Alberta in two months. Being August, it's a tricky time of the year as places at or close to sea level ought to be warm - shorts and T-shirts weather. I've never been to these two parks before and am not acclimated to such places. What about locations high up in elevation though (like over 5000 feet high)? Does it really get very cold up there? I just want to make sure I don't unnecessarily over pack for my trip. What should I bring?

-Jacket? (and how heavy of a jacket? A full winter parka or a light spring/autumn windbreaker?)
-sweatshirt or sweater?
- thermal underwear? (seriously can't be that cold during that time of the year right?)

Also will sneakers do? We're not doing any strenuous hiking, just basic sightseeing from a car.
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Old 06-09-2019, 11:19 AM
 
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Banff National Park in July/August is warm and the most you need for outdoor evening clothing is a sweater/hoodie and light rain jacket. Good walking shoes are needed if you want to hike around. Layering is the solution : cotton, wool, cotton. Be sure to ride the gondola to the top of mountain, or hike up and ride down.
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:09 PM
 
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My husband and I went to Glacier in August three years ago.

Most days were fine with a light jacket or long sleeves in the higher elevations, but we did have one day where it was in the 30s and freezing rain. Neither of us were prepared for that, so weren't able to much that day.

Otherwise I wore long pants and a tank top most days. I wore hiking shoes, but if you're planning on hopping out of your car at a few spots, tennis shoes will be fine.
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:25 PM
 
Location: SoCal
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Pack some long sleeves, beginning of August there could be slight snow. We were there in late July.
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Forest bathing
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When we were in Glacier a few years ago, there was an intense thunder and lightning storm.
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewbieHere View Post
Pack some long sleeves, beginning of August there could be slight snow. We were there in late July.
It can snow at any time in the Banff area, but it isn't necessary to travel with winter gear in the summer. The snow melts quickly, and layering provides the best options for traveling light and being prepared.

"While these areas may not see 10 centimetres of accumulated snow on the ground, Environment Canada said the heavy, wet June snow may cause tree branches to break. The snow could also have a significant impact for those travelling through the area or heading to the mountains to camp for the weekend."

June 6, 2019
https://globalnews.ca/news/5362911/a...ff-kananaskis/
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Looking over your shoulder
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I agree with Sundaydrive00ís post.
It can get cold is windy at Glacier. Youíll want to have long sleeves and a light jacket for higher elevations or near any of the lakes. The night and early morning are cold when the sun isnít out and behind the mountains. I remember one early morning when the sun was just starting to come up over the tops I stepped out of the lodge to get some pictures. The wind coming across the lake was cold and unbelievable. I couldnít stay out there more than a minute in just long sleeves. Itís a good time of year however to visit the area, youíll love it.

This picture was taken at Many Glacier Lodge looking across Swiftcurrent Lake in the early morning hours of 6:00AM Sept 7th. This is on the east side of the mountain range accessed from Babb and St Mary area. The wind and cold on the east side seemed far worse than the west side of the Natíl park.
Attached Thumbnails
Appropriate clothing at Glacier and Banff in August-manyglacierlodge.jpg  
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:58 PM
 
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Best precaution in event of inclement weather is a long sleeve heavier grade t shirt and light to medium weight water repellent jacket.
I have not been to Glacier NP, but have been to Banff and it was June. I hiked up from the resort area past the first set of falls at Moraine Lake and up to top of beehive formation. This was additional 2200' feet above the lake and the winds were bitter cold as I wrapped around (got sick) but it was worth it as the view down to the emerald green lake is fantastic.

Since I was doing it as side trip from work travels all I had was a light weight jacket and no hood/hat, so, barring some bad weather and winds, the aforementioned should be fine unless you are going into the highest elevations.
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Brew City
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Layers.

I've been to Glacier in late September with beautiful weather, Late May (one of the earliest openings) with decent spring weather, and in July with terrible weather. And every time and weather in between.

I've been in Banff with torrential downpours in August.

Consider what you will be doing in the parks. Are you planning to visit the Columbia Icefields? (You should). If so, you'll want pants, and a jacket at a minimum.

Unless you're planning to just drive around or explore the valleys you will run into snow. Not that you'll be cold like in winter.

Are you tent camping? If so, long underwear isn't out of the question.

For what it's worth I used to live in MT.
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
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Thanks for all of your replies! I was concerned I'd encounter a New England winter while on our trip which is why I'd like to plan ahead. No we won't be doing any strenuous hiking as neither I nor the rest of my family are experienced at it (I hiked up a mountain only once in my life - wearing ordinary sneakers and only slept in a tent once in my life too). I'd be interested in taking snapshots of mountains and lakes from the comforts of the side of a road, similar to what we did at the Columbia River Gorge three years ago. So it looks like some long sleeves and a light to medium jacket, maybe add a pair of gloves and a light winter hat. That sounds doable. BTW is August really dry up there? How much rain should I anticipate?
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