Banff is a picturesque town in Alberta, Canada, located within a National Park of the same name. There are soaring mountains, impossibly blue bodies of water, hot springs, and activities to do year-round. It’s a resort town (though, if you’re lucky, you can find beautiful Banff homes for sale) that just so happens to be the highest point, elevation-wise, in all of Canada.
Banff National Park is the crown jewel of Canada’s National Park System and one of the world’s oldest national parks, established in 1885. With so much natural beauty, it’s not hard to see why the area is such a hotspot for those who love the great outdoors.
Along the Water
Lake Louise is a turquoise-hued paradise also known for the enormous Victoria Glacier that feeds the lake.
In summer or winter there’s much to do, be it sleigh rides and dog sledding, hiking or paddling. The Paradise Lodge & Bungalows are rustic properties that are perfect for a scenic stay in Banff. Lake Minnewanka is a 13-mile-long glacial lake with stunning jewel-blue waters. It’s great for picnicking, fishing, and hiking shoreside, while water-adventurous folks will enjoy diving, canoeing, and boating.
Scenic boat cruises can be booked and one of the most popular activities is actually scuba diving during which the submerged resort village of Minnewanka Landing can be seen. Water lovers will also enjoy the Upper Hot Springs, which are kept at a steady 98 to 195-degree Fahrenheit.
Taking in the Views
Banff may be the most elevated town in Canada on its own, but its got the Banff Gondola to help visitors see things from an even higher point of view. Four-person enclosed gondolas raise visitors to the summit of Sulphur Mountain in an eight-minute trip that affords views of six mountain ranges. Disembark at the top and enjoy fare at Castle Mountain Coffee or the award-winning Sky Bistro.
The Cave and Basin National Historic Site is the birthplace of Canada’s national parks, and has a heritage building that celebrates this with interactive exhibits and displays. Walk through the cave into the basin to see and smell the water seeping through the rocks, taking in yet another blue pool of warm mineral springs. You can also explore after dark by a lantern-lit tour.
One Step At A Time
There are a plethora of hiking trails in Banff National Park that are fit for hikers of all experience levels. Start off slow with the Marsh Loop or Sunshine Meadows trails, advance to the intermediate Sulphur Mountain or Harvey Pass trails, or challenge yourself with the Alymer Pass and Cory Pass Loop. The trails offer views of the mountainside both from summits and right in front of you in the way of wildlife, and many are hikeable in both the cold and hot weather.
Horseback riding is another popular to get around and take in the view. Banff trail riders follow the same historic routes of the original explorers of the Canadian Rockies and offer a comfortable experience for riders of all levels.
Timberline Tours at Lake Louise offers small-group tours of mountain passes, glaciers, and alpine meadows from introductory rides to day-long trips, as well as overnight excursions.
Last Updated on October 16, 2021