Located in Alberta, Banff National Park is open year round with the peak season being between July and August every year. 6,641 square kilometers in size, Banff is easily accessible by car. The Trans Canada Highway runs right through the park. Banff National Park is only 128 km west of Calgary, Alberta.
Canada's first national park, Banff Park was originally discovered by Canadian Pacific Railway Constructions workers who came upon warm mineral springs in a cave on Alberta's Rocky Mountains in the fall of 1883. Banff National Park now serves over four million visitors annually.
Banff National Park offers a series of extensive trails that takes you directly to a variety of attractions and scenic viewpoints. Lake Louise is one of the most popular spots in the park, but the land also consists of forests, mountains, valleys, meadows, glaciers and rivers.
There is a variety of species of wildlife in Alberta's Banff National Park including Canada lynx, badgers, moose, caribou, mountain goat, deer, the gray wolf, red fox, black and grizzly bears. Parks Canada warns visitors that Banff is "Bear Country" and you should be sure to review their guidelines regarding safety on the trails and in the park. Pay special attention to any notices provided by the park regarding weather and wildlife conditions.
To use the facilities (including picnic areas, scenic drives, viewpoints, etc.) a Park Pass is required. Fees from this pass are used to maintain and improve facilities for all visitors.
There are thirteen campgrounds throughout the park for which a camping permit must be purchased. You can make campground reservations through the Banff National Park Reservation Service. Some campgrounds offer disabled access, showers and dump stations. Be sure to check the Parks Canada website for details on which campgrounds the services you require are offered.
There are also several hotels in the Banff area that offer visitors all the luxuries of home if they prefer not to stay outdoors overnight. There are many sites online that offer more information about local facilities if you search for hotels Banff Alberta. Be sure to check online for a variety of sites that offer information on accommodation, activities and attractions in and around the park, as well as transportation to and from Banff.
Warm and sunny days prevail during the summer months so visitors to Banff National Park can enjoy climbing, hiking, camping and biking, as well as wildlife and bird watching. During the winter you can skate, ski (alpine or Nordic), snowboard or track animals. Banff Tourism can offer information on additional commercial activities such as boat tours, horseback riding, spas, ice walks, rafting tours and sleigh rides.
There are some historic sites located right in the park that can add an enlightening and entertaining element to your visit to Banff. Visitors can learn more about the history of the park and enjoy the interactive displays of the Cave and Basin National Historic Site of Canada or the Banff Park Museum National Historic Site of Canada.
Banff offers something for everyone.