Jasper National Park in September – Pros and Cons

If you are thinking about visiting Jasper National Park in September and wondering if it is a good time to visit, you are in for a treat.

All-in-all, the only major trade-off is the likelihood of cooler weather in September compared to July and August – though a given September day can be warmer than an August one.

Visiting Jasper National Park in September offers several advantages compared to the peak months of July and August while still being somewhat of a peak month like its cousin June.

Here is a list of pros and cons of Jasper National Park in September:

Pros of visiting Jasper National Park in September

Pros Why this matters
Less visitors than the peak months of July and August
  • Shorter lines at attractions like the Spirit Island cruise, Athabasca Glacier Snocoach rides, the Jasper Tramway or Miette Hot Springs
  • Less traffic
  • Less of a chance of waiting at popular restaurants
  • Less people camping
Lower prices for hotels compared to peak months
  • With slightly lower prices, you might be able to afford to stay longer.  For example, I just looked at prices for a Pyramid Lake Resort hotel room and the numbers I was seeing for September were around 15% less than August.
Less visitors compared to peak months means more hotel room availability
  • More hotel room availability, especially for last-minute booking, means more flexibility in planning your trip.
Less kids in the hotel swimming pool
  • Kids are back to school in September.  If you stay at a hotel with an indoor pool, you’ll hopefully be able to enjoy a little more peace and quiet.
Still a great time for hiking, canoeing, rafting and other outdoor activities
  • Dress warm, have fun.  September is a great time to visit.  Just be aware of the weather variability, especially at higher elevations where is gets cooler and snow can accumulate.
Fall foliage
  • Jasper sees fall colors at the end of September and early October.
  • The Jasper Tramway is a great way to see panoramic views of the valleys below.  (I believe the Tramway season ends around Thanksgiving in Canada – 2nd Monday of October.)
  • Hiking is another way to experience the leaves changing color in Jasper National Park.
Wildlife
  • Elk rutting (mating) season begins mid-September.  You may hear male elk bugling sounds.  (Keep your distance.  Elk are known to be aggressive and dangerous during mating season and every season Jasper National Park visitors sustain injuries from elk.)

Cons of going to Jasper National Park in September

Cons Comments
September’s average weather can be cooler than June, July and August
  • September average high temperature is 19C/66F and the low is 3C/38F.  In comparison, August’s high is 27C/80F and low is 7C/44F.
  • September averages 12 days of precipitation, 1 day less than August, so it is still rolling the dice as to how much rain you may encounter.
  • Predicting the weather in Jasper National Park is hard.  Be prepared for anything and variation within the park (i.e., Jasper Tramway might have snow even though it is warm at your hotel.)
  • Dress warm, wear layers.  You may experience a beautiful afternoon and hike short-sleeved, then need to wear a jacket and gloves in the evening.
  • Plan for a few indoor days (make a reservation for tea at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, go for a swim at the Jasper Aquatic Center, check out the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum, stroll through Jasper townsite.)
Potential snowfall
  • This is Jasper National Park.  I’ve seen flurries in July!
  • The Jasper Park Information Centre on Connaught Drive in Jasper townsite has the current trail conditions.  It is good to check on the conditions prior to hiking.  Parks Canada also offers a trail condition report for Jasper National Park online.
Not cold enough for winter sports
  • The ski season gets going in late November.
Too cold to swim in lakes
  • This is true pretty much year round.  The water is cold!  Stick to heated swimming pools or Miette Hot Springs.
Some facilities close in September
  • Several Jasper campgrounds close as early as September 5, though the large campgrounds tend to be open until early October (Canada’s Thanksgiving).

Hope that covers it.

Anyone else know of more pros or cons?  Leave a comment and I’ll add them.

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