Travel

Driving through the rockies in late October

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  • Jul 30th, 2020 7:35 pm
[OP]
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Jul 14, 2006
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Driving through the rockies in late October

Would late October already be a (potential) snow season? I've done drives through AB and BC many times in the summer, however this is the first time I'd be going this late in the year. Thinking of a Calgary/Banff/Kelowna/Vancouver route.
6 replies
Deal Expert
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May 10, 2005
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Ottawa
Yes, end October is definitely snow season in the Rockies LOL
Deal Guru
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Mar 23, 2008
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Edmonton
Sure, it's snow season. But it's not like the highways shut down entirely from October to March. Just takes common sense and a willingness to abort if need be. Which may not be an option if you're flying into Calgary or something.

I've done the drive from Edmonton to Calgary to Radium/Invermere multiple times in the winter to go skiing. AFAIK, the worst part of your trip would likely be the Kelowna->Vancouver leg. The Coquihalla in particular is notorious for bad winter conditions. You can chose to take Highway #1 (TransCanada), but it's a single lane each way, which has it's own challenges. But it is a much lower elevation road, which typically means less snow.

C
Jr. Member
Mar 6, 2019
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Calgary
As others have mentioned snow is definitely a possibility in Oct on that route. It is early in the potential snow season so often a day or two leeway can make a difference. I've driven it a few times around Thanksgiving and also in the Christmas period and only adjusted my dates one time.

As mentioned there's the Coquihalla summitt/pass (Merritt-Hope) but also Rogers Pass (Golden-Revelstoke) and Kicking Horse Pass (Lake Louise-Field) to watch out for. Kicking Horse is just a downhill if you're just going the west direction. Hence the BC October to April winter tire requirement. If you're flying and renting a vehicle that's something to check for beforehand.
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Jul 7, 2017
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SW corner of the cou…
There's potential for snow any time of the year (even in early July ~20 years ago - and even these past few weeks). That having been said snow in late October usually isn't too severe and is usually cleared away in a few hours.

If you have flexibility, check the weather forecast along a few key points and adjust your schedule accordingly. For Kelowna to Vancouver, I usually check what the weather is doing in Hope (beginning of the mountains and elevation climb from the west), Merritt, and Kelowna. If coming from Banff, Banff obviously, as well as Field, Golden, Revelstoke and Salmon Arm/Sicamous. If there's precipitation and the temperature forecast is <5C in any of those places, you can be pretty sure road conditions won't be pretty on the highways in the mountains.
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Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
8330 posts
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SW corner of the cou…
Just an addition to my above comment. Always better to adjust your travel for good (or at least decent) weather and road conditions, especially if it is a rental (not necessarily you causing any damage but damage from small flying rocks used in place of sand). Vehicle may not come with "winter" tyres too. Also not sure about where your snow driving experience is from but speed, momentum and gravity aren't always your friends (not that they are anywhere it snows but especially in the mountains).
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China

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