Updated: Sep 21
( Photo Credits: wikipedia )
Banff National Park is one of the Canada’s oldest national parks in the state of Alberta. It is a nature’s paradise on earth with its fantastic and picturesque landscapes. It is full of amazing wilderness which covers 2,564 sq. miles (6,641 sq. km) area of astonishingly mountain ranges, glaciers, lakes, and rushing pristine water of the rivers.
Banff is a very small beautiful town with thousands of visitors hanging out day and night. The streets of the Banff Township are always crowded. People can see the gorgeous view of Rockies right from the middle of the town. Mount Rundle is a signature peak of the Banff town which towers over Banff Avenue from the south side.
It is a postcard perfect place for the photographers and others as well. The small town of Banff is cosmopolitan, so you can see people from different ethnicity. The famous Fairmont Hotel is worth to visit. It was first built in 1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. In the middle of the historic buildings, there are many shopping malls with various International brands; however the prices are very high.
However, Banff is beautiful in any season, but visitors are abundant in the summer months. In Banff National Park, visitors can also simply enjoy the natural beauty, it is great for the rafters, bikers, and even horseback riders.
Banff hosts one of the world’s biggest TV events, known as Banff Television Festival every summer. It is organized every year in the Banff Center.
There is Banff Arts Festival, take place every year from June to August which includes the live outdoor theater, jazz workshops, and art displays.
The famous Playbill Series, runs throughout the summer and it includes live performances by the famous pop, jazz, and world class musicians.
Planning & Getting There
Fly to Calgary, Alberta. From Calgary Banff is less than 2 hours drive. Renting car is actually best to enjoy the place at your own pace. If you are not renting car, do call the Banff airporter in advance. Banff airporter runs every 2 hours from Calgary International Airport. It offers door to door service.
One can also travel from Jasper to Banff. Jasper is located in western Alberta. It is less than 4 hours drive from Banff. This drive is highly recommended as it is considered as one of the most scenic drive.
There is a Greyhound services which operates buses from Calgary to Banff.
There are lots of tour operators in Banff which takes you to beautiful spots in and around. Discover Banff and Brewster Coach Tours are most famous tour operators in this region.
Places to go around:
There are lots of beautiful places to go around in Banff National Park. Few of the major attractions that you don’t want to miss are mentioned below:
1. Lake Louise
It is one of the most photographed lakes in Canada surrounded by breathtaking views of mountain. It was discovered by Tom Wilson in the year 1882 and today attracts over 100 million visitors. It is also a home to a famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise resort hotel which offers a grand luxury since 1890. It was first built by Canadian Pacific Railway.
2. Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake is a very short drive from the famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel. It is a glacier fed lake situated in the Valley of Ten Peaks. The lake’s best feature is its color. The distinctive blue color of the lake is due to the refraction of light from the rock flour which is continuously deposited in the lake. One can never be tired of looking at this beautiful lake.
3. Bow Lake
Bow Lake is a very small lake in western Alberta, Canada. It is located on the Bow River at the altitude of 1920 m. It looks best in the early morning and when wind is silent. The reflection from the mountain falls on this lake which enhances its beauty.
4. Columbia Icefield
It is the largest ice cap on the south of the Arctic Circle. It covers about 325 square kilometers of area. A bus tour takes you to the Icefield where you can walk on the glacier and feel it. It is an awesome experience.
Things to do:
Gondola ride is one of the best ways to view the majestic mountains of the Canadian Rockies. It is a 8 minutes ride which takes you the summit of Sulphur Mountain. The views are very much amazing during the sunset. There is a giant interactive compass located at the top of the Upper Summit Terminal. With this compass you can find out the distance as well as direction to your home city or other cities around the globe. Isn’t it interesting?
The Banff National Park area also offers some of the best white water rafting. There are many companies which offer a memorable experience of rafting to adventurous families. If you are adventurous and fun loving, then don’t miss this chance.
At last but not the least, if you are ever planning to visit Banff National Park make sure that you have at least a week time to enjoy its natural beauty thoroughly.