The mountains that surround Banff National Park have provided a source of hunting and a home to Native Americans for thousands of years. The hot springs now so famous in Banff, Canada were considered a sacred, magical place. Hunters and gatherers, whose identity is long since lost, came first. Other nomadic Indian tribes followed. Still later, European explorers, railway surveyors and others representatives of man's "progress" followed suite, all leaving their mark in Banff for better or worse.
The earliest settlers in Banff arrived nearly 12,000 years ago. Based on existing evidence, Archaeologists feel that primitive hunters and gatherers wandered into the Bow Valley by accident, possibly hot on the heels of whatever animals they were hunting. This is more than conjecture. A primitive campsite unearth on the shores of Vermilion Lake in the early 1980's has shed the best light on this hypothesis.
The Stoney Indian tribe called Banff and it's surrounding mountains a home during the mid 1600's. Indians, not just the Stoney Tribe, traveled based on the migration of animals. So, following their food source of bison, caribou and other animals, the Stoney Indians found a good location in Banff to mark as their hunting grounds and home.
And what a home it was: covering nearly 2600 square miles of valleys, glaciers, virgin forest and more, the area that evolved in Banff, Canada was a premier destination spot long before the white man decided to call it his own. These days tourists can have their pick of where they want to stay, and if it concerns hotels Banff offers visitors the historic Banff Springs Hotel where they can spend the night.
If you're not looking for hotels Banff has much more to offer in its natural surroundings. The Banff National Park is a hiker's paradise, showcasing over 1000 miles of trails of all levels of difficulty. More trails in fact, than any other mountain park in the Canada.
Trekkers and hikers can pick from an excursion as simple as a one-hour saunter up a gently slopping mountain, to a backpacking excursion that can last a month or more.
It's easy to see that Banff has a menu for different tastes. If one desires hotels Banff offers several from one to four stars. If visitors want to stay in touch with the natural surroundings and not hotels Banff offers hikers a place to sleep under the stars in any area of their choosing. It seems silly to consider that - with such stunning natural beauty - visitors would choose to stay in a hotel Banff has it all to offer though; four-star luxury or virgin wilderness. Take your pick; you're bound to find something to your liking.
Banff, Canada is also the location to a number of outstanding geological features: besides the famous hot springs, the Castle Guard Caves represents Canada's and the Park's longest cave system. Banff also is home to the last remaining herd of herd of the endangered woodland caribou.
Banff National Park: A nature lover's paradise where a real life fantasy can be played out amongst the flora and fauna that is fast disappearing from Canada and the United States.