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Banff & Lake Louise

Banff National Park

Banff National Park is unbelievably beautiful and Banff itself is a bustling, year-round town. Hike the surrounding trails, unwind in hot springs or catch the Sulphur Mountain Gondola.

Flanked on all sides by the Rockies, Banff offers an irresistible combination of perfect powder, luxury lodges, fine dining and lively nightlife. A thriving arts scene and proximity to Lake Louise and Kananaskis County add to its allure. Don’t miss the hoodoos, intriguing rock spires, in Banff National Park.

Nestled amongst the peaks of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is known as a traveler’s mecca for good reason. Whether by car, bicycle, hiking boots, skis, snowshoes or canoe, in Banff National Park you can enjoy year-round discovery of the 6,641 square km mountainous landscape.

As the first national park established in Canada and a coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site, what makes Banff National Park so special is its combination of vast unspoiled wilderness, mountain lakes like Lake Louise, and the gateway to it all: the Town of Banff.

In summer hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking and river rafting are just some of the activities to keep your adrenalin going. Winter in Banff National Park is peaceful, but exhilarating. Enjoy downhill skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, dogsledding, sleigh rides and more.

Banff National Park's Wildlife

The wildlife is an integral part of the ecosystem, and it’s always a memorable experience seeing animals in their natural habitat. You never know when you might spot a deer wandering down Banff Avenue on your morning jog, or catch an elk grazing by the road on the Bow Valley Parkway.

Banff National Park is home to hundreds of diverse species of wildlife. Look to the skies and you may see bald eagles circling overhead, or one of 260 other species of birds that live here. Grizzly bears and black bears roam the peaks and valleys, as well as moose, elk, wolves and cougars. Keep an eye out as you drive through the park’s mountain roads and you might even see bighorn sheep bounding up the hillsides.

When observing wildlife, it’s important to remember that we are visitors in their home. Be sure to give plenty of space and never give them food. In fact, it’s illegal to feed, touch or even approach wild animals. During certain times of year, areas may see closures to keep both you and wildlife safe.

You’re likely to see different animals depending on the time of year you visit. Bears start their hibernation in the late fall and reappear around the valley floor in the spring. Once the snow melts in the summer months, you’ll see them higher in the peaks before they return to the valley floor again for berries in late summer. Elk rutting (breeding) season is from late August until mid-October, and their calves are born in mid-May to early July. While they are beautiful to admire from afar, elk are more aggressive during these months and it’s important to keep your distance.

As you drive through the park, you’ll spot a number of wildlife bridges and tunnels. These crossings were created to help animals safely connect their habitats and migration routes without having to cross the road, keeping both animals and motorists safe. With 38 underpasses and 6 overpasses, Banff National Park has the most wildlife crossings in the world. By respecting these landscapes and the animals that call them home, we can help keep Banff National Park wild and thriving for many generations to come.

The town of Banff

Banff town offers a choice of accommodation, restaurants, boutique shops and activities to make your trip a memorable one. It is also vibrant, with a lively evening scene should you wish to enjoy drinks and great dining.

The history of this mountain town is also well preserved at a number of museums and heritage sites, while new memories are created throughout the year at world-class festivals and events.

The allure of Banff is also its close proximity to the park’s incredible attractions and best-kept wilderness secrets. With 1600 kilometres of trails, two gondolas, three ski areas, an exciting heritage and more dining options and activities than you have time for, Banff National Park is a premier destination for authentic hospitality and outdoor exploration.

Lake Louise

Lake Louise, located in Banff National Park is known for its sparkling blue waters and is situated at the base of impressive glacier-clad peaks.

The Lake is about 2.5 kilometres long and 90 metres deep. In the summer months this offers a surreal paddling experience and becomes one of the most scenic skating rinks in the world when winter falls. Year round, Lake Louise offers picture-postcard scenery and numerous activities and adventures for families, outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Known to the Stoney First Nation as Lake of the Little Fishes and called Emerald Lake by its first European visitor in 1882, Lake Louise was renamed in 1884 to honour Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, daughter of Queen Victoria.

The village of Lake Louise offers quaint dining and shopping options and is a five minute drive from the Lake. For over 125 years, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has been a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts, art lovers and history buffs alike.

PLEASE NOTE: Citing the increase in the number of visitors accessing Moraine Lake, Parks Canada has announced that the road to Moraine Lake will be closed to private vehicles from 2023. Visitors can access the lake on a private tour, via Roam public transport or the Parks Canada shuttle service from the Lake Louise.

Experience & Explore

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