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Banff National Park was granted its prestigious status in 1885, after railway construction workers discovered hot springs on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park is one of Canada’s most stunning areas of natural beauty. Uninterrupted vistas, clear rivers, crashing waterfalls, extensive pine forests and glacial plains define this divine location. Close to Alberta’s major cities, Banff National Park is easily accessible by road, making it the ideal spot for hikers, skiers, cyclists and keen wildlife spotters.
Banff — The small town of Banff is one of Canada’s top tourist destinations, thanks to its unique location at the heart Banff National Park and on the Trans-Canada Highway. Founded in 1885 as a commercial centre for the park, today Banff is a popular resort town and a centre of culture, boasting several art galleries and sites of historic interest.
Lake Louise — Besides Banff, the village of Lake Louise is the only other significant settlement within the boundaries of Banff National Park. Despite its diminutive size, it attracts visitors all year round due to its location on the shores of the stunning Lake Louise. It is a popular ski resort during winter.
Calgary — The largest city in Alberta, Calgary’s location 70 miles east of Banff National Park makes it the perfect base for visitors who like to mix natural wonders with cosmopolitan chic. Packed with art galleries, theatres and internationally esteemed fine dining, it has something for everyone.
Red Deer — With its vast swathes of parkland and gently flowing river, Red Deer offers a wonderful alternative to the bustle of Alberta’s bigger cities. It offers four-season sports and is earning itself a reputation for its delicious, no-fuss food.
There aren’t many locations you can visit and still see nature at its untarnished best, but Banff National Park is one of them. Of course, the Canadian Rockies are inescapable, but it’s definitely worth checking out Lake Louise to see for yourself just why these glassy waters are some of the most visited in the world. You could also take a tour to the Columbia Icefield, the largest remaining glacial plain in the Rockies. And wildlife enthusiasts might want to think about a wildlife tour in order to spot cougar, grizzly bears, elk and eagles, to name a few.
Trot out on horseback, visit the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary or discover the hidden gems of this vast alpine park with one of the many guided tours on offer. You could book a gentle amble along Lake Louise or take to the skies to see the park at its best on one of the numerous helicopter or gondola rides on offer here. If you like your experiences a little more nail-biting, why not visit the Glacial Skywalk? This glass-bottomed observation platform extends well beyond the cliff edge, offering unbeatable views of the Columbia Icefield right under your feet. Whatever you’re after you can find a life changing experience in Banff National Park.