Banff National Park in Alberta has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. Sparkling lakes, dramatic mountains, rolling hills of pine trees, wildflower and waterfalls, not to mention it’s rich wildlife. Established as a national park in 1885 it is Canada’s oldest national park and attracts millions of visitors every year.
Although I could think of a million, here are 7 reasons why you just have to put Banff on your bucket list:
1. The Mountains
The sheer beauty and magnificence of the mountains have been capturing the hearts of travellers since the dawn of time and the Canadian Rockies showcase some of the best in the world. Banff town is situated amidst Mt. Rundle, Cascade Mountain, Sulphur Mountain and Mount Norquey, so no matter where you look your eyes are soon greeted by magnificent snow kissed peaks. Waking up and opening your curtains to these kind of views surely never gets old.
2. The Wildlife
Unfortunately I didn’t get to spot any in my brief time here, but Banff National Park is abundant with wildlife! It has 53 species of mammals roaming it’s green forests, with deer being know to wander right into town and surprise drunken backpackers on their way back home!
If you keep your eyes peeled on the drive from Banff up to Lake Louise, this is meant to be a good time to spot animals such as deer, elk and even bears and moose. To reduce animal fatalities on this busy highway they have put a fence all along it, with animal overpasses and underpasses. These animal crossings allows the wildlife to cross safely and roam free. Clever right!
3. Lake Louise
By far one of the greatest attractions of Banff National Park. Lake Louise is that place on all the Canadian Rockies postcards. You know the one of the magical emerald lake, overshadowed by great snowy mountain peeks? Unreal. Except of course this time of year it’s all frozen over! The frozen lake however brings it’s own enchanting beauty, you can walk on it!
Walking across the lake really is an amazingly unique experience. I went from one side to the other and the whole time was in such awe of the mighty surroundings of the mountains. Towards the far side of the lake, on the right hand side, there is a spectacular frozen waterfall. You can spot a few ice climbers clambering up its emerald face and just stand and take in all of nature’s wonder.
TIP: If you’re by a water hole, have a spare bottle of water and a handy Australian nearby who doesn’t mind standing on thin ice, then grab yourself some Lake Louise water for the finest, freshest drink imaginable! 💙
4. The People
Banff is very much a tourist and a party town. Backpackers, weekend trippers, winter sports enthusiasts and the odd local all mingle together in a bustling hub of enjoyment. Whether it be a quiet few down the Irish Bar, cheap beer at your hostel wateringhole or a night of boogying at the Dancing Sasquach, there’s something for everyone here.
Due to Banff being greatly targeted at tourists, the hostels, tour groups and skii trips are filled with travellers all year round and a great place to chat and meet people from all over the world. Well when I say all over the world… I mean Australia, you guys were everywhere! 😂
5. The History
As Canada’s oldest national park, Banff has a rich history of how it was first found and explored, as well as its development and battles with protecting it’s unique nature. If you take any of the tours (I used Discover Banff) then the guides are very informative about this kind of history.
6. The Outdoor Sports
This is the big one. Visitors arrive in flocks during the winter season to make the most of the mountains skii and snowboarding season. Lake Louise Skii Hill is a particular popular area, with views overlooking the lake and buses leaving regularly from the town.
Aside from skiing and boarding, you can also try dog sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, hiking, ice climbing, ice skating and more. During the summer kayaking, canoeing, fishing, golf and more hiking trails all open up to enjoy.
7. The Hot Springs
The closest hot springs to Banff are the popular Banff Upper Hot Springs. If you’re coming from the centre of town these heated pools are just a quick drive from Banff Avenue, hop on the 1 Roam bus toward Sulphur Mountain if you don’t have a car.
In the daytime there is a lovely view across to Mount Rundle and in the evening it’s a good way to ease those achey muscles after an adventurous day.
So there you have it, 7 pretty good reasons to grab that bag and get yourself to Banff! It certainly doesn’t disappoint I promise. 😊🗻🌲