bad weather pictures

Safe hiking: Four weather forecasts to plan outdoor trips in Alberta

It’s likely drilled into your head to do a weather check before heading out on your adventure (or at least, it should be!) but when adventuring in the mountains, a basic weather forecast may not be giving you the best information. Learn about the best weather forecasts to plan outdoor trips in Alberta.

Mountain weather can be quite complex. It can be raining cats and dogs on one side of the mountain, and sunny blue skies on the other. This means not being prepared can make for an uncomfortable, inconvenient, or downright dangerous experience. How can you get more precise weather forecasts  for your upcoming adventure?    

The beginning of an adventure with a beautiful weather forecast.

4 mountain weather forecast apps and tools    

The beauty of modern day technology is that we have a lot of information available to us. Modelling systems from satellites and remote sensing have changed our lives and give us an incredible amount of information to work with. So, what weather forecasts can you use to plan outdoor trips in Alberta?

Here are four common and highly useful weather forecast tools you can be checking when you’re planning your adventure (and remember, check more than just the temperature when looking at the weather forecast!):

  1. The Weather Network: This is a useful resource to get a quick forecast for the town closest to your adventure, but The Weather Network is not great for precision, especially if you’re heading into the backcountry.

  2. Environment Canada: This forecast tends to be updated often and when the weather changes suddenly, it does a decent job of reporting the sudden change. It’s often quite accurate and will give an hourly breakdown for the upcoming 24 hours. We like to use this forecast right before we head into the backcountry to check the 24-hour forecast or if our other forecasts show us something alarming.
  1. SpotWX: This forecast is incredibly powerful, as you can select the exact spot where your adventure is taking place to give you great precision. The downside is that it’s rather complex and can be difficult to navigate for beginners, but if you’re going out into the backcountry without a professional guide, we encourage you to invest the time and effort to learn how to interpret the information.
  1. Mountain Forecast: This tool is user-friendly and breaks down the weather forecast based on different elevations and specific locations. You can choose a mountain close to your adventure for better precision.
A few minutes before the weather started to turn with no warning.

Tips before you go on your next hike

You’ve checked the weather forecasts to plan outdoor trips in Alberta ahead of your day trip, so now what? Don’t hit the road just yet. Consider the following prep checklist before going on that hike:      

  1. Think about what you’ll want to have in your backpack based on reading the weather forecast.
  1. Review the weather for the day following your hike, as well, especially if you plan on having a big adventure. This will help you be prepared if something goes sideways during your trip.
  1. Always be prepared for the weather to change suddenly in the mountains.
  1. Check more than one forecast to make sure you’re getting the most accurate information.
  1. Review the forecast the morning of your adventure.

Next time you plan your adventure, take some time to really evaluate the forecast to make sure you’re equipped to deal with any weather conditions. Play safe out there!

Want to learn more about backcountry safety and knowledge? Join us on one of our backcountry education courses.

Golf ball-sized hail, not in the forecast. Weather in the mountains is not entirely predictable.

Comments 2

    1. Post

      Thank you, Laura. Stay tuned for more. We are working hard to bring more content to help others get outside safetly and responsibly.

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