Accommodations in the park range from remote mountain huts to resort hotels. Banff, Alberta is a destination city with the typical wide range of year round hotels, inns and B&Bs found at any resort. In the outlying towns and villages you can find inns, places to park RVs, and well equipped camp grounds. Away from the paved roads there are mountain huts suitable for winter trekking and wilderness camp sites. There is truly something for every body.
For those looking for the wild life the 2500 square mile Banff National Park has a wide variety of terrain and the associated flora and fauna. Bare mountain peaks, alpine meadows, deep valleys, white-water rivers, glacial lakes, hot springs, and dense forests can all be found in the park. Most of these areas are readily accessible from the roads and trails that can be found through out the area.
The mountains, streams and rivers combine to form plenty of impressive water falls that can be reached by reasonable walks. Cascade Falls at about 300 meters tall can be seen from the Trans-Canada Highway as you approach Banff from Calgary. Ice climbing can be done at Johnston Canyon Falls, Professor Falls, as well as at Cascade Falls. The Sideways Falls in the Big Bend Area are named for the noticeable sideways flow of the falling water and spray. Other notable water falls include Panther Falls, Bow Falls, and Silverton Falls.
A wide variety of walking and hiking trails can be found in the Banff Park. Sightseeing trails range from the short, 1.1 km paved walk way to the base of the Lower Johnston Falls, through the 3 km trail from Banff to the Bow Falls and the 4.3 km trail from Banff up Tunnel Mountain to a spectacular overlook. For the slightly more adventurous there is the 4.7 km trail from the Lower Johnston Falls to the Upper Falls and the green-blue, spring-fed Ink Pots. For the serious backpacker there are numerous trails leading to wilderness campsites. For those that like to do their climbing sitting down, there is the gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain.
Don’t forget the literary and cinematic sites to be found in Banff in late October through early November. This is when the city holds the Banff Mountain Festivals. The Mountain Film Festival screens 50 of the 300 competitors in the field of adventure films, including the Radical Reel series, focusing on extreme sports. At about the same time the Mountain Book Festival showcases adventure and travel writing, inviting international authors such as Andy Kirkpatrick, a winter mountain climber, and Leo Houlding, a British free-climber.
Each year more than 4 million people visit Banff National Park. They are attracted by a wide variety of attractions, both natural and man made. They can stay in the city of Banff and take expeditions to the wild life or stay in town and take in the night life. They can take off for back country camping in summer or winter. They can even make a day trip from Vancouver, Edmonton, or Calgary. In short, there is something for everyone in Banff.