Banff National Park is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, defined by a picture-perfect mountain landscape of rugged peaks, sparkling lakes and powerful rivers. Spanning 2,564 square miles (6,641 square kilometers), the park is part of the iconic Canadian Rockies mountain range. Enjoy hiking, fishing, skiing and wildlife watching, or simply relax in natural hot springs and admire the park’s majestic natural scenery.
Wander around Banff Town, the small resort village that most travelers use as their base for exploring the national park. This lively town is filled with boutique shops, buzzing bars and some good restaurants. Ride the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain for incredible views over Banff Town and the Bow Valley.
Relax in the Upper Hot Springs Pool while admiring the surrounding mountain views. These natural hot mineral springs were the attraction that first drew tourists to Banff beginning in the late 19th century.
Visit some of the park’s stunning glacier-fed lakes. Take photos of the immense Victoria Glacier looming over the turquoise waters of Lake Louise. Enjoy swimming, boating or fishing on Lake Minnewanka, the park’s largest lake.
In the warmer months, Banff offers over 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) of defined trails to explore. Take on one of the scenic trails running through the Sunshine Meadows, an alpine meadow set at an elevation of around 7,300 feet (2,220 meters). The Parker Ridge Trail is another favorite of hikers, offering incredible views of the Saskatchewan Glacier.
Winter in Banff National Park is all about skiing, with the park offering one of the longest ski seasons in North America. Enjoy heated chairlifts and more than 107 runs at Sunshine Village and head to the Lake Louise Ski Resort to try other winter activities like tubing and snowshoeing.
To reach Banff National Park, fly into Calgary International Airport, from where the park can be reached by shuttle bus or rental car. Banff Town is small enough to explore on foot and many hotels offer free shuttle service to the major ski areas.
The unparalleled natural beauty of Banff National Park is sure to amaze you.