A place you shouldn’t miss out on your travel bucket list is the Banff National Park! Dubbed as a dream destination by many of those who have been to the place. Stunning, majestic, remarkable!

Take every synonymous word from the dictionary to describe one of the most scenic national parks in the world.

Located in Alberta, Canada, spreading along the Canadian Rockies, the National Park was established in 1885 and is considered as Canada’s oldest national park. In 1883 after railroad workers discovered the hot springs in Banff, the Banff National Park came to be.

Today, the Banff National Park is part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The prestige itself that was given to a landmark surely should tell you that this place is worth a visit.

How to get to and getting around in Banff National Park

Road to Banff National Park
By car

Calgary is the nearest city to Banff and is the easiest way to get to the park is by driving from the city, taking about one and a half hours.

You can park your car in town and walk around to see all the sights. You can also get on the public transit to get to other Banff attractions.

By bus

The On It Bus from Downtown Calgary or Crowfoot LRT Station.

By train

Train travel through Rocky Mountaineer is the only direct way to arrive directly to Banff.

Entrance Fees and Best Time To Visit

Banff in Winter
To enter Banff National Park, you will need a One Day Pass which is valid until 4 pm the following day.

Entrance fees vary depending on age, from $8.30 (for senior citizens) to $9.80 (for adults aged 18-64). Entry for minors is free. A family or group arriving in a vehicle will cost $19.60. There are other fees if you plan on doing activities inside the park. The hot springs charge additional entrance fees.

Banff is a year-round travel destination. But if you are not a fan of winter, it is best to visit the place between June and October.

Summer is the peak tourist season so you may want to keep that in mind if you want to avoid crowds of people.

With the vastness of the Banff National Park, the trip wouldn’t last just a few hours. It may also depend on your interests and budget. If you want to experience Banff National Park in all its glory, including hiking and canoeing in the summer or skiing and snowboarding in the winter, it may take you five days.

Where to Stay in Banff

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
If you plan on staying for days, Banff Town offers lodging as well as near Lake Louise. Nearby is the town of Canmore which offers cheaper accommodations but you’ll have to drive for half an hour every day.

Up in the mountains, you will find the charming and luxurious Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

Reasons to visit Banff

If you are planning on your itinerary when you visit Calgary, here is a list of reasons why you should visit the Banff National Park and include it on your itinerary:

1. The beautiful town of Banff.

Banff Town

One special thing about the Banff National Park is that a beautiful town is confined within its boundaries.

Just before you get to all the main sight-seeing, you can already see the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains from the town.

Banff Avenue, which is in the center of the town, is lined up with shops, restaurants, and bars for you to enjoy. You will also find the Banff Lake Louise Tourism Bureau here where you can stop to get tips, advice, and information about the national park.

2. The breath-taking scenery.

Banff Scenery
Being called a “world heritage” site by UNESCO, you would expect nothing less but an epic scenery. The sheer scale of the park will leave your jaws dropping.

The landscape is spread throughout the magnificent snow-capped Canadian Rockies. Between the mountain peaks are rivers, valleys, forests, and some of the famous lakes.

You can ride the Banff Gondola to get a wide view of the landscape. Bonus: dining experience at the summit of the mountain!

3. The glacial lakes.

Moraine Lake
Banff National Park is widely known for its glacier lakes. The turquoise blue water, set against the evergreen forests and snow-capped mountains, is a captivating sight.

Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, and Lake Minnewanka are three of the most popular lakes.

The first easy stop from Banff is to Lake Minnewanka which is only a ten-minute drive from the town. The drive from Banff to Lake Louise along the Bow Valley Parkway proves to be a scenic one.

4. The famous Banff Upper Hot Springs.

For over 125 years, the Banff Upper Hot Springs has been a major reason for many visits to the Banff National Park. You can relax your body in the steaming mineral springs while you gaze out towards the lush forest and mountaintops.

The springs are 2.5 miles away from the center of the town and are accessible by taxi or the public bus service.

5. The drive to the Icefields Parkway.

Drive to the Icefields Parkway
A scenic drive on the 140-mile roadway linking Banff to the mountain town of Jasper is something you must experience. Although not a part of the Banff National Park, the Icefields Parkway is a beautiful experience for everyone who has 3 or more hours to kill and is looking for more photo opportunities.

You can walk on a 10,000-year old piece of ice, taking in the wonderful sight of the towering mountains, spectacular rock formations, and cascading waterfalls.

6. The amazing wildlife.

Wildlife at Banff
All over the Banff National Park, you will find the place is home to a wide array of animals. You’ll find deer, elks, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, black and grizzly bears, and coyotes among others.
While seeing these animals could be thrilling for you, keep in mind though to maintain a safe distance between yourself and these animals. After all, the park is their home.

7. The enjoyable adventure.

Hiking at Banff National Park
When you visit the lakes, you can enjoy various activities. For example, at Lake Louise, you can try horseback riding, hiking, and canoeing. The defined hiking trails will take you to lakes, alpine meadows, deep canyons, and glacier forests.

There are hiking trails in both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. But you may have to take note of guidelines and warning at the site since some of these trails are closed due to grizzly bears feeding around the area.

Aside from hiking trails and picnic areas, you can enjoy an hour-long cruise along the Lake Minnewanka. During the cruise, you will learn about its history and take close-up photos of the mountains.

Tip: A morning ride across the lake is recommended if you want to avoid long queues.

If you are a fan of skiing, the largest single ski area in Canada is found at the Banff National Park.

Hope these reasons have you convinced to pay a visit to Banff National Park.

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