Banff National Park - Alberta, Canada
Banff and Lake Louise
( Banff National Park activities and adventures include golfing, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, backpacking, rock climbing, horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking, cycling, rafting, birdwatching, wilderness camping, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing and more! )
Banff National Park
Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park and one of the country's most visited year round mountain recreation parks. Established in 1885, Banff National Park runs along the same lines as the Continental Divide, the provincial border between Alberta and British Columbia, Canada and includes the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Banff National Park is considered a national wilderness treasure and a top activity destination in Western Canada. There are two resort villages located in the park; Banff, Alberta and Lake Louise, Alberta. Both provide services, accommodations, tours and guides. Both are on the door step of nature providing easy access to year round activities.
Banff National Park was first created to protect the local wildlife and the mineral springs near the village of Banff, Alberta. Since then the park has grown to include over 1,500 kilometres of recreation trails, alpine teahouses, ski mountains, many day use areas, scenic picnic sites, mountain resorts and more.
During the summer and winter months Banff National Park provides endless opportunities for outdoor activity. There are many tours, guides and instructors available for guided tours and there are trail maps, sport shops and equipment rentals for self guided tours.
Some of the summer activities include hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, mountain biking, cycling, camping, golfing, river rafting, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, boating, flightseeing, sailing, rock climbing and caving.
During the winter months, the snow accumulates and the temperatures drop, transforming some of the recreation trails and gravel roads into cross country, snowmobile and snowshoe routes. In the nearby alpine mountains commercial ski hills entertain downhill skiers and snowboarders. Heli skiing is enjoyed in the remote mountain ranges and on glaciers.
The Banff National Park, summer and winter, provides some of the most stunning wilderness mountain views of glaciers. The Waputik Glacier and Icefield is the largest glacier measuring 80 square kilometres. The Columbia Icefield is the most visited glacier in the park with regularly run tours. Other glaciers and icefields include the Victoria, Peyto, Bow, Crowfoot, Saskatchewan, Wenkchemna, Horseshoe, Hector, Lefroy and Lyell.
While in the wilderness exploring or driving the roads in the Banff National Park please keep an eye out for wildlife and be aware at all times while exploring. Wildlife in the park cross the same roads you drive, follow the same hiking trails you walk and visit the same lakes and rivers you paddle. Never approach wildlife and never feed wildlife.
The park is home for many species including some very large ones like grizzly bears, black bears, moose, cougars, wolverines, wolves, caribou, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, mule deer and elk. And it is home to some smaller species of wildlife like foxes, marmots, pikas beavers, porcupines and squirrels.
The Banff National Park is an alpine mountain park. The weather changes quickly in the mountains. The temperatures tend to drop quickly the higher elevations you explore. It is important to plan and prepare well. Always dress in layers, bring lots of liquids and wear good footwear and use trusted equipment when exploring in the mountains. Would not want to be stranded in the wild.
Banff National Park requires all who stop in the park to pay an admission price for a park pass. Alberta park rangers, especially during the summer, check for park passes.
How to Get to the Banff National Park
From Alberta: The north entrance to the park is via Highway #93 (Icefields Parkway). First travel to the mountain resort village of Jasper, Alberta in the Jasper National Park and then travel south on Hwy #93 to the Banff Park. The central entrance to the park is via Rocky Mountain House, Alberta on Highway #11. The south entrance is via Canmore, Alberta and Kananaskis Country traveling along Highway #1.
From British Columbia: From Golden, British Columbia, Canada travel Highway #1 east through Yoho National Park to the Banff National Park. From Invermere and Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia travel east on Highway #93, through Kootenay National Park to the Banff National Park in Alberta.