Banff National Park Canada
The elements that make the Canadian Rockies a year round dream destination are all right here in Banff National Park, a beautiful 90 minute drive west of Calgary. Established in 1883 after three railway workers stumbled onto a thermal mineral spring, it became Canada’s first national park in 1885. Today it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The park protects 2,564 square miles of mountains, glaciers, lakes, rivers and forests within the Canadian Rockies. Located in the province of Alberta, it is surrounded by protected forests, parks and wilderness areas on all sides, including Jasper National Park to the north.
Nestled in the heart of the park, the town of Banff and nearby hamlet of Lake Louise have all the creature comforts and are your gateways to year round adventures.
Top 10 Most Popular Attractions in Banff National Park Canada
1. Moraine Lake
A spectacular sight, Moraine Lakeâs blue waters are surrounded by towering mountains, including 11,500-foot Mount Temple, the third highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Known as the Valley of the Ten Peaks, this area offers hiking, paddling, and dramatic photographic opportunities. Moraine Lake, can sometimes feel crowded in summer. If you go, arrive early to enjoy canoeing (rentals available), as well as hiking before the crowds arrive. Best time to visit is before 11 am or after 5 pm. The road is closed between mid-October and mid-June.
2. Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway connects Lake Louise and Jasper, parallelling the Continental Divide through some of the most wild and remote parts of Banff and Jasper national parks. Stretching for about 143 miles between Lake Louise and the town of Jasper, the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) delivers more magnificent scenery. En route you’ll pass forests, river valleys, mountains with peaks reaching 10,000 feet and Peyto Lake, the bluest in the Canadian Rockies. The color results from how the fine particles of ground rock, called rock flour, scatter the sun’s rays. Bighorn sheep, elk, mountain goats and ravens can often be seen. Take your time driving this route in summer and stop for picnics and short hikes.
3. Bow Lake and Bow Glacier
Bow Lake is one of the more scenic and accessible lakes for fishing. The turquoise blue water is the source of the Bow River. From here you can view the majestic Bow Glacier.
4. Banff Gondola
The eight-minute, enclosed gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain, elevation 7,486 feet, gifts you with panoramic views. At the summit, stroll the Banff Skywalk along the ridge to Sanson’s Peak Meteorological Station or try the more difficult South East Ridge Trail hike. If you don’t want to walk, take in the view from the restaurant’s observation deck, a good spot to base yourself with toddlers. Arrive early to avoid the long lines for the lift in summer.
Get Around and Things to Do In Banff National Park
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