4.8
28 votes

Banff National Park

Improvement District No. 9, Alberta T1L 1C3 Canada

1
Video
$$
$$$$
Reasonable
Open Now
Wed 9a-7p
  • Pet Friendly
  • Wheelchair
    Accessible
  • Public
    Restrooms
  • Outdoor
    Seating
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“come explore Canada's oldest national park!”

In the fall of 1883, three Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers stumbled across a cave containing hot springs on the eastern slopes of Alberta's Rocky Mountains. From that humble beginning was born Banff National Park, Canada's first national park and the world's third. Spanning 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 square miles) of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers, Banff National Park is one of the world's premier destination spots. Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park, established in 1885 in the Rocky Mountains. The park, located 110–180 km (68–110 mi) west of Calgary in the province of Alberta, encompasses 6,641 km2 (2,564 sq mi) of mountainous terrain, with numerous glaciers and ice fields, dense coniferous forest, and alpine landscapes. The Icefields Parkway extends from Lake Louise, connecting to Jasper National Park in the north. Provincial forests and Yoho National Park are neighbours to the west, while Kootenay National Park is located to the south and Kananaskis Country to the southeast. The main commercial centre of the park is the town of Banff, in the Bow River valley. The Canadian Pacific Railway was instrumental in Banff's early years, building the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise, and attracting tourists through extensive advertising. In the early 20th century, roads were built in Banff, at times by war internees, and through Great Depression-era public works projects. Since the 1960s, park accommodations have been open all year, with annual tourism visits to Banff increasing to over 5 million in the 1990s. Millions more pass through the park on the Trans-Canada Highway. As Banff is one of the world's most visited national parks, the health of its ecosystem has been threatened. In the mid-1990s, Parks Canada responded by initiating a two-year study, which resulted in management recommendations, and new policies that aim to preserve ecological integrity. Archaeological evidence found at Vermilion Lakes radiocarbon dates the first human activity in Banff to 10,300 B.P. Prior to European contact, aboriginals, including the Stoneys, Kootenay, Tsuu T'ina, Kainai, Peigans, and Siksika, were common in the region where they hunted bison and other game.With the admission of British Columbia to Canada on 20 July 1871, Canada agreed to build a transcontinental railroad. Construction of the railroad began in 1875, with Kicking Horse Pass chosen, over the more northerly Yellowhead Pass, as the route through the Canadian Rockies.Ten years later, the last spike was driven in Craigellachie, British Columbia.

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Reviewed by
Greg Newkirk

  • Expert
  • 314 Reviews
  • 347 Helpful
July 07, 2014
Rated 5.0

Banff should definitely be at the top of anyone's National Park bucket list, because it's arguably the most beautiful park in North America. Spectacular views no matter where you look; lakes, glaciers, forests, rivers, and all the diverse wildlife that comes with it. The Icefields Parkway is a must visit, as are the Hot Springs.

If you're planning on spending a few days in the park, know that the Inns at Banff are much like your standard hotel, but don't let that fool you. If you're smart, you won't be spending much time in the hotel anyway - you're really paying a reasonable price to be so close to everything.

A few tips - the summer months can be pretty unpredictable, so *always* be prepared for rain. It can disappear just as quickly as it arrives, so just be ready for it - it won't ruin your trip.

If you're a skier, your best bet is to show up between Easter and June when the crowds (and prices) are low.

9 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Jade Heilmann

  • Blogger
  • 25 Reviews
  • 25 Helpful
November 25, 2014
Rated 5.0

Banff is a MUST stop in Canada. You can't say you've seen Canada until you've seen the Rockies, Jasper, and the IceField Parkway. Plus Banff has so much culture and great nightlife.

Check out our video of just one week between Jasper and Banff and all the wildlife we encountered. :)

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
cherisewilsonlevesque

  • 2 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
July 11, 2018
Rated 4.0

Beautiful

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Reviewed by
Haley

  • 28 Reviews
  • 40 Helpful
April 26, 2017
Rated 5.0

Banff was an incredible experience and I would recommend it to everyone! I went in early September and it was absolutely beautiful. Top sites - Lake Louise/Lake Agnes Tea House, Mistaya Canyon, and Icefields Parkway. Way a very relaxing trip of driving, sight seeing and hiking. It was like nothing else. I would definitely recommend renting a car to have the ease of rearranging plans and stopping at a moments notice to look at elk or an off road attraction.

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Reviewed by
SurfRatVT

  • 23 Reviews
  • 15 Helpful
May 16, 2016
Rated 5.0

There is a ton of things to do here. Plan ahead and find what certain site's operating hours are. Lots of things to do in and around town.

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Reviewed by
jeffrey.deemer

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
July 31, 2015

I thought this was one of the most beautiful places I was able to visit, extremely beautiful!

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Reviewed by
TheHippie

  • 23 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
January 18, 2015
Rated 5.0

So much to see, so little time. If you love the outdoors, this is a paradise!

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Banff National Park

Improvement District No. 9
Alberta
T1L 1C3 Canada

Hours

Open now until 7:00 pm
  • Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm

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  • Pet Friendly
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
  • Outdoor Seating

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