Discover Banff National Park, Alberta

If you’re looking for stunning mountain scenery and outdoor adventures, Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, is the place to be. Encompassing over 6,000 square kilometers of pristine wilderness, it beckons travelers with its blend of unspoiled landscapes and diverse wildlife in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

Renowned for its majestic mountain peaks, turquoise lakes, and pristine wilderness, Banff captivates visitors with its awe-inspiring beauty and abundant outdoor adventures. As Canada’s oldest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Banff holds a special place in the hearts of nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and wildlife lovers alike.


Top 3 Facts About Banff National Park


Oldest National Park in Canada

Banff National Park, established in 1885, holds the distinction of being Canada’s first national park and the third oldest national park in the world, following Yellowstone in the United States and Royal National Park in Australia.


Glacial Landscape

Banff National Park is home to over 1,000 glaciers, which collectively cover approximately 7% of the park’s total area. These ancient ice formations sculpted the park’s iconic landscapes, including rugged peaks, deep valleys, and turquoise lakes.


Wildlife Haven

The park provides habitat for a wide range of wildlife species, including iconic Canadian animals such as grizzly bears, black bears, elk, moose, wolves, and mountain goats. Banff’s diverse ecosystems support over 56 species of mammals, 280 species of birds, and numerous species of fish and reptiles.

Camping and transportation in Banff National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Banff National Park

Planning a trip to the stunning Banff National Park? It’s easier than you might think!

By Air:

  • Fly into Calgary International Airport (YYC). It’s the closest major airport, about 1.5 hours away.
  • From there, you can rent a car, grab a shuttle, or hop on a bus to cover the 120 kilometers (75 miles) to Banff.

By Car (From Calgary):

  • Take the Trans-Canada Highway (HWY-1) west.
  • The drive is scenic and well-maintained, so enjoy the views!
  • Don’t forget to stop at the park gates to purchase your Park Pass.

By Car (From Vancouver):

  • If you’re coming from British Columbia, it’s a longer drive, but the sights are worth it!
  • You’ll be taking the Trans-Canada Highway eastward.

Places to Stay Near Banff National Park

  • Tunnel Mountain Campgrounds: Located just minutes from the town of Banff, Tunnel Mountain Campgrounds offer three separate campgrounds: Tunnel Mountain Village I, Tunnel Mountain Village II, and Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court. These campgrounds provide a range of amenities, including fire pits, picnic tables, washrooms, showers, and access to hiking trails.
  • Two Jack Main Campground: Situated along the shores of Two Jack Lake, this picturesque campground offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and easy access to water activities such as fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. Amenities include fire pits, picnic tables, washrooms, and food lockers.
  • Lake Louise Campground: Located near the iconic Lake Louise, this campground offers a serene setting surrounded by towering peaks and pristine forests. It provides amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, washrooms, and food storage facilities. Reservations are highly recommended during the peak summer season.

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Public Bus


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Best Time to Go to Banff National Park



Summer is all about those postcard-perfect Banff shots. Think about:

  • Hitting the hiking trails, like the Valley of the Ten Peaks, amidst blooming wildflowers.
  • Planning a tour of the famous Moraine Lake – just get there early to beat the crowds and find parking!

Don’t forget to buy your park pass if you plan on fishing or other recreational activities.



Winter turns Banff into a snowy wonderland ideal for:

  • Winter sports: downhill skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing at hotspots like Lake Louise Ski Resort.
  • Soaking in the warmth of the Banff Upper Hot Springs after a day in the snow.

Expect plenty of ice, so pack gear for ice climbing or snowshoeing.



Spring in Banff is a season of rejuvenation. With the snow melting, you might:

  • Engage in wildlife watching: It’s the mating season, so keep an eye out for elk, mule deer, and other animals re-emerging.
  • Enjoy hiking on trails that become accessible as the weather warms up.
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As the leaves turn golden, Baniff transforms once again. Highlights include:

  • Photography opportunities due to changing colors and soft light, particularly in early fall.
  • Quieter trails for hiking and mountain biking, giving you a more solitary experience with nature.

Must-See Attractions

See all

Lake Louise

Known for its turquoise waters and breathtaking mountain backdrop, Lake Louise is one of Banff’s most iconic destinations. Visitors can enjoy scenic walks along the lakeshore, canoeing on the pristine waters, and hiking trails leading to panoramic viewpoints such as the Lake Agnes Tea House.

Moraine Lake

Another stunning glacial lake, Moraine Lake captivates visitors with its vivid blue waters and surrounding Valley of the Ten Peaks. The iconic view from the Rockpile Trail is a must-see, offering one of the most photographed landscapes in Canada.

Banff Gondola

Ride the Banff Gondola to the summit of Sulphur Mountain for panoramic views of the Bow Valley and surrounding mountain ranges. At the top, visitors can explore the interpretive center, boardwalks, and hiking trails.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Banff National Park

Plan Ahead

Fees & Park Pass

A daily fee is required to enter the park, but consider a park pass if you’re staying longer for the best deal.

Pack Appropriately

Pack Appropriately

Conditions can change rapidly in the Rockies. Prepare for everything from sunny skies to sudden snowfalls, even in summer.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

Always keep a safe distance from any wildlife you encounter. Animals in the park are wild and can be unpredictable if approached. Current alerts regarding wildlife can be found on the park’s official website or at visitor centers.

Stay Informed

Stay Informed

Before heading out on any trails, check for up-to-date trail conditions and possible closures due to maintenance or safety concerns.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Banff National Park

Banff National Park is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. For a day trip, don’t miss a scenic drive along the Icefields Parkway, or take a serene kayak trip on Lake Louise. You might also love exploring the many hiking trails, like the popular Johnston Canyon walk.

Absolutely, Banff is a wildlife wonderland! Keep your eyes peeled for majestic elk, bighorn sheep, and if luck is on your side, you might even spot a bear from a safe distance. Remember, these are wild animals, so admire them respectfully.

Whether you’re looking for luxury or simplicity, Banff has you covered. Choose from upscale hotels, cozy bed and breakfasts, or lodges right within the park. Don’t forget to book early, especially during peak seasons!

Get closer to nature by camping in one of the park’s many campsites. Options range from backcountry wilderness sites to fully serviced campgrounds with all the amenities. Be sure to reserve your spot!

Grab a park pass before you head out to explore Banff. You can purchase a day pass or the annual Discovery Pass for extended exploration. Pro tip: buying your pass online can save time at the park entrance!

Banff’s splendor shines year-round, but each season offers something special. Summer for vibrant hikes, winter for powdery ski slopes. A typical visit could last a weekend or several days, giving you the chance to soak in the park’s beauty at your own pace.

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