Banff National Park is located in the town of Banff in Canada. It is the first national park that was designated in Canada and is the star of the park system in the country. Banff National Park was Canada’s first designated national park and covers over six thousand square kilometers in the Rocky Mountain wilderness. It is a part of the much bigger Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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The park contains three thousand-meter peaks, high-altitude meadows full of wildflowers in various colors of rich hues, glacier-fed lakes a brilliant shade of blue. It also encompasses the town of Banff and the Lake Louise village.

The Banff National Park provides fantastic opportunities for camping, skiing, hiking, and scenic driving. There are hundreds of kilometers of various trails ranging from short hikes on the shores of lakes, and the bottoms of valleys to trails that cross mountainous passes and run along lakes for backpacking. Visitors can explore the world-famous Icefields Parkway. The parkway is a scenic drive that runs parallel to the Continental Divide, where bighorn sheep, bears, and mountain goats can be sited.

Things to Do

The Banff National Park offers opportunities for several outdoor recreational activities.

Wildlife Watching- The Park offers visitors the opportunity to explore and photograph the wildlife of the Rocky Mountains. The best times for this are early morning and late in the afternoon. The Banff National Park has several rules and regulations that must be followed for wildlife watching. Check them out on the Park’s website.

Boat Tour- Tour the Banff National Park by boat from Lake Minnewanka. The tour is an hour panoramic tour that is interpretive.

Canoeing- The Park offers opportunities for visitors to tour the park by canoeing on Two Jack Lake, Vermilion Lake, Johnson Lake, and Lake Minnewanka in the Banff area, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in the Lake Louise area, and Herbert Lake, Bow Lake, Hector Lake, and Waterfowl Lake on the Icefields Parkway. Canoeing opportunities are also found on the Bow River.

Hiking- The Banff National Park offers a variety of trails for hikers to enjoy. The park offers more than a thousand miles of trails that are maintained of various difficulties.

Backpacking- The Banff National Park offers visitors the chance to go backpacking through the alpine setting of the Rockies. The backcountry experience offers the opportunity to see some of the parks other natural attractions that most visitors don’t see. There are several options for camping while backpacking including campgrounds, rustic trail shelters, alpine huts, and commercial lodges.

Camping- Peak season at Banff National Park offers 2,462 sites within fourteen campgrounds. These campgrounds offer various services. The campgrounds and their amenities are listed on the Banff National Park website.

Ski Touring- Explore the peaks and slopes of the Banff National Park on skis or splitboards. Some of the best sites for backcountry skiing include Rogers Pass and The Rockies.

Cross-Country Skiing- Visitors to the park during the months of November through April will enjoy the scenic skating and trackset options that are available in the Lake Louise, Castle Junction, and Banff areas.

Mountain Climbing- The Banff National Park offers mountain climbing opportunities for those of all levels from straightforward glacier walks to Grade VI mountain tests that are never repeated. Every season offers new routes to explore.

Ice Climbing- Banff National Park is home to some of the best mixed ice climbing and waterfall routes in the world.

Swimming- The town of Banff offers several facilities for public swimming since the glacier-fed lakes are usually too cold to swim in.

Scuba Diving- The town site in Lake Minnewanka is the best-preserved example of the historic Canadian Village. Most of the scuba diving in the park is done at Lake Minnewanka and Two Jack Lake.

Banff Park Museum- The museum is the oldest natural history museum in western Canada. It houses vintage taxidermized bears, birds bees, and bighorn sheep. It is also home to over five thousand historic zoological and botanical specimens. It also the oldest federal building in the Canadian National Park system.

Educational Opportunities

The Banff National Park offers a variety of educational activities for the whole family during the summer months. They vary summer to summer. These activities are designed to teach visitors to camp, geocache, and sharing local stories the explain the history of the area.

Xplorers Program for Kids- This program is geared toward kids ages six to eleven and offers opportunities to hike, bike and use a gps. Xplorer members and their families learn neat facts about Banff National Park by working activities in the Xplorers Booklet during their visits to the Lake Louis and Banff areas.

30 Victoria Street Gatineau, Quebec, Canada J8X 0B3, Phone: 819-420-9486

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