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Banff National Park

Visit Banff National Park, Canada

Established in 1885, Banff National Park is the oldest National Park in Canada and is a gateway to the Canadian Rockies. It encloses a vast 2,564 square miles (6,641 square kilometres) of stunning landscapes, and has around 930 miles (1,500 kilometres) of hiking trails. The trails take you through breath-taking scenery, past glaciers, rivers, waterfall and lakes, home to a number of rare creatures including cougar and lynx.

The largest and arguably one of the most picturesque towns in all of Canada is Banff. Also one of the highest towns in Canada, Banff is situated at 4,800 feet (1,463 metres) above sea level and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Banff is one of the most visited towns in Canada all year round, known for its hot springs and incredible vistas, it also offers incredible snow in the Winter, perfect for skiing and snowboarding.

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Some of the most famous attractions in the vicinity include the 8,041 feet (2,451 metres) tall Sulphur Mountain, so-called because of the hot springs discovered on its lower slopes. There are cable cars that run all the way to the observation decks at the summit, offering marvellous views over the surrounding area. The emerald-coloured Lake Louise, named after Princess Louise, a daughter of Queen Victoria - whose husband was the Governor of Canada between 1878 and 1883, is also another popular tourist spot. The beautiful lake's unique colour is caused by rock flour, which is mixed in to the water as it melts during glacial activity.

Our guide to Banff National Park
Local sites to see

Icefields Parkway

Linking Jasper National Park and Lake Louise in Banff National Park, the Icefields Parkway is 143 miles (230 kilometres) long. The road passes through some of the world's most wonderful scenery, including the Sunwapta Falls, the Athabasca Falls and the Columbia Icefield - which is home to the Athabasca Glacier. Continuing towards Lake Louise, the route then passes the dramatic Parker Ridge before reaching the Saskatchewan River Crossing. Although the point is named after just one river it is actually situated at the confluence of three; the Mistaya and the Howse Rivers also flow past this point.

Icy Strait Point

Situated at the mouth of Glacier Bay, Icy Strait Point was first 'discovered' by European explorers in 1794. At that time this location was virtually unnavigable, surrounded by actively retreating glaciers; yet as some of these are amongst the fastest-retreating glaciers ever recorded they have since moved a little further inland from this site. Today, the bay still has more actively calving tidewater glaciers than anywhere else in the world. From the time that this area was charted by explorers, it was noted just how many very rare species of flora and fauna could be found here. Some of this magnificent region became a National Monument in 1925, and by 1979 this celebrated Biosphere Reserve was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The National Park was created at the same time, and it now encompasses almost 600,000 acres of marine ecosystems and other unusual landscapes. Many very rare species of flora and fauna can be found here; black-tailed deer, Canada lynx, sea lions and bald eagles are just some of the creatures that have been spotted.

Best time to visit

Summer Months

May to September are the warmest and driest months and you can explore the miles of trails through the stunning scenery. Due to the high altitude, some of the region's lakes will remain frozen until mid-June, and some of the higher trails may still be closed due to snow.

Winter Months

During the winter months the temperatures plummet, and for those who enjoy wintry sports and activities, the snow is incredible.

Expert Opinion
"Without a doubt Banff National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Canada. Every time I go back I am amazed at how stunning it is."- Beverley - Canada Tour Manager
Beverley - Tour Manager in Banff

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