Reflecting the simplicity of the nature, the Banff National Park is the first among all the national parks discovered in the Canadian rockies of Alberta. The findings of this national park was traced by three railway workers in 1883.
Starting off with the discovery of the natural hot water springs, this national park is indeed a hidden gem amidst the scenic beauty of Canada. Settled at the Canadian Rocky Mountains and declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this ancient treasure is surrounded by monolith mountains which are as old as 120 million years.
Making it a great destination for enjoying the arsenal beauty and adventurous activities, here’s a guide that’ll take you through the length and breadth of Banff National Park.
Wildlife In Banff National Park
There are around 53 species of mammals found in the vicinity of Banff national park. The visitors can easily spot an elk, deers, bighorn sheeps, and tiny animals like the Columbian ground squirrels and the chipmunks. The grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, and rarer cougar are some of the rare species which can be spotted once in a while around the park.
Best Time To Visit Banff National Park
The climate in Banff National Park remains at peak for the entire year. Throughout the year, this nature’s getaway has something to give to the travelers of all types.
Winter: The snow settles around the region in the beginning of November and also welcomes the ski enthusiasts as the ski resorts open their doors. By the end of November and the starting of December, the lakes around the national park start to freeze, and by the end of December the entire region is majorly covered with snow and the temperature falls to minus 20-degree Celsius. As the snow covers the land, the days in the Canadian Rockies also shorten to just 9 hours of daylight.
Spring: Unlike other regions, the spring arrives a little late in the month of June. Meanwhile as the weather in Winters are unbearably cold, the land experiences the spring season at its best as the greenery blankets the region.This is the best time to enjoy the warm afternoons while experiencing the thrilling activities in the region.
Summer:The summer season in the Banff region will give you a perfect chance to experience the thrill of hiking and biking which are very popular in the region. After a season of heavy rainfall and thunderstorm, August gives a great chance to witness the beauty of the place.
How To Reach Banff National Park
Settled at the province of the Alberta in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, this national park is very easy to reach;
By Air: The Calgary International Airport is the nearest airport from the Banff National Park. An easily accessible route from the national park, the airport is well connected with the top airlines like the WestJet, Canada, American Airlines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines and the Northwest Airlines. From the airport there is an easy availability of car rentals to reach the national park.
By Car: Enjoy a pleasant drive amidst the roads of western Canada which connects to the Banff National Park via the Trans Canada Highway. The Banff national park is located at a distance of 109 kms from Calgary which is a 1.5-hours drive. To enter the national park one has to purchase an entry pass for $9 per day per person and $18 per day per car for about 2 to 7 people.
By Bus: For the travelers looking out for a bus service to reach the national park, there are buses which connects from Calgary and Jasper Town. There are also some tour guide companies which offers shuttle services till the hiking trails.
Route Maps To Reach Banff National Park
Distance from Canmore to Banff National Park: 8 kms
Travel Time: 10 minutes
Distance from Lake Louise to Banff National Park: 29 kms approx.
Travel Time: 24 minutes
Distance from Golden to Banff National Park: 73 kms approx.
Travel Time: 52 minutes
Distance from Calgary to Banff National Park: 109 kms
Travel Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Key Attractions In Banff National Park
1. The Town of Banff
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Settled inside the Banff National Park, this little town is a place filled with serenity which comes alive with the view of the gigantic mountains. Along with the sight of the nature’s untouched beauty, the downtown street are lined with brightly lit restaurants and bars for you to give a relaxing getaway experience.
2. Sulphur Mountain
The name of the mountain derived from the two natural hot water springs which can be found on the lower slopes of the mountain. With the picturesque view of the snow blanketed mountains, the huge ridges calms the adrenaline rush. The mountain can be explored by taking a ride on Banff Gondola or hiking on the mountain slopes.
3. Lake Louise
Lake Louise is the perfect reflection of beauty settled amidst the Banff National Park. This turquoise lake is a home to grizzly bears and hiking trails along with the rusty tea houses.The surreal beauty of the lake and its surroundings invigorates that inner artist hidden inside.
4. Johnston Canyon
Carved out naturally from the limestone bed hundred years ago, this place creates a dramatic exposure. With the view of the overhanging canyon walls and the waterfalls, the Johnston canyon makes a perfect location for families and the travelers to calm down their adrenaline rush.
Things To Do In Banff National Park
1. White Water Rafting
For that adrenaline hit, Banff has some of the fascinating sites to experience white water rafting. Just in the vicinity of the Banff National Park lies the Kananaskis River and the Horseshoe canyon which gives a splendid experience of rafting over the gushing waves.
2. Banff Gondola Ride
The Banff Gondola will take you on a ride to enjoy the aerial view of the Canadian Rockies and the Banff National Park from a height of 7486 ft. Alongside the ride, enjoy the top view from the summit of the Sulphur Mountain along with the hiking trails and enjoy a delectable meal while embracing the view from the height.
3. Cave and Basin Historical Site
Get on a journey to discover the historic architecture and the underground caves which reflects the past of the Banff National Park. This site is one of the treasured and enclosed region around the national park which gives the visitors an insight about the formation of the park.
4. Banff Lake Cruise
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Experience the bliss of cruising on the emerald green water of the Lake Minnewanka and see the beauty of the Canadian rockies from a different perspective. While gliding through this 28 kms lake, absorb the information about the history of the place.
5. Banff Upper Hot Springs
While around the Canadian Rocky Mountains, a visit to the Banff Hot Water Springs at the lower regions of the mountain is something you cannot miss. Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO,this place is a perfect location to relax soaking the feet in the warm water while being surrounded by the pristine peaks of the mountains.
Starting off from the easy trails to the multiple days of scenic view at the backcountry epics, the Banff National Park and Lake Louise hiking experience will give you the panoramic view of the region. The exotic lakes, adventurous mountain passes and hike to the frozen lake will take you to a dreamy escape, away from the hustle bustle.
Hotels In Banff National Park
1. Skoki Lodge
This lavish lodge is settled at the alpine ranges of the Skoki valley which gives an aerial view of the downside town and the breathtaking mountains. An eleven kilometre walk from Lake Louise to the valley makes it a great place to stay for the hikers.
2. Baker Creek Mountain Resort
Bringing you close to the nature, the Baker Creek Resort is a mountain resort which will give a cosy stay experience amidst the snow covered ranges.Just in the vicinity of Lake Louise and Banff National Park, this resort will let you enjoy a surreal stay in the Canadian Rockies.
3. Rimrock Resort Hotel
Settled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies and in the vicinity of the Banff National Park, this palatial resort will give you a luxurious stay experience amidst the nature’s beauty. Take a break from all the stress as this resort offers fine dining experience along with a relaxing spa.
Frequently Asked Questions About Banff National Park
Q: Is backpacking possible in Banff National Park?
A: Yes! The Banff National Park and its surrounding regions have plenty of places segregated for the travelers who are willing to go for backpacking. Amidst the 1100 kms of trails, there are many valleys which can be a great resort for the adventure junkies.
Q: What are the things to do in Banff National Park when traveling with family?
A: The vacation in Banff National Park will give you the chance to enjoy many fascinating experiences like a picnic amidst the picturesque valleys, skiing, festivals, shopping, hiking and much more.
Q: Are the bears in national park dangerous?
A: The bears are the real threat in the region as when they feel threatened around people, they tend to attack. Black and Grizzly bears are usually found in the backcountry areas and they inhabit front of the Canadian Rockies.
Q: What is the best way to explore the Banff town and National Park?
A: The Banff National Park can be explored easily by foot or one can also take a rented car to visit the nearby attractions. There are also some buses which runs between Calgary and the Banff town.
Well that’s quite an exhaustive guide for the adventure enthusiasts who’ve been dreaming of exploring Banff National Park. Hence, for those who’ve explored the city life of Canada, visiting this exotic national park settled in suburbs of Alberta is a must to spend a relaxing vacation amidst the enormous mountains of Canadian Rockies.
Good luck with the Grizzly bears!