Banff National Park, Alberta, AB T0L, Canada
GPS: 51.497022999925, -115.92740575554
Banff National Park is located in western Canada, some 100 km from the city of Calgary. It is part of the Canadian Rockies, a huge mountainous region spread across the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. This 1,200 km long mountain range houses a total of four national parks linked together by a network of panoramic roads: these are Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho national parks, all border residents with Banff National Park. Associated with the protected areas of British Columbia, they together form the Parks of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks stretching for nearly 23,000 km. This high mountain landscape, covered with snow and glaciers, is listed as Unesco World Heritage.
Created in 1885, Banff is the third oldest national park in the world, after the Yellowstone National Park (proclaimed in 1872 in the United States) and the Royal National Park (established in 1879 in Australia). This territory, with an area of 6,600 km², constitutes the country’s first protected natural area and the most visited national park in Canada. It quickly aroused the curiosity of the public after workers from the Canadian Pacific Railway company discovered in 1883 a cave containing hot springs from Mount Sulphur (Cave and Basin National Historic Site). Already known for centuries to Aboriginal peoples who use the site to heal or improve their well-being, this thermal heritage was updated at the time of the gold rush. The authorities decide to create a national park to promote the development of tourism in the region while carrying out actions to conserve its fauna and flora. Building on its growing success, Banff National Park became one of the national emblems with the Fairmont Château Lake Louise, a luxury hotel built in 1890 on the banks of the sumptuous Lake Louise.
Endowed with vast wilderness surmounted by dazzling points of view, Banff National Park brings together in one place an incalculable number of natural sites: peaks of 3,000 meters above sea level, mountain passes, cashed canyons, ice fields, dense forests, large valleys, Alpine meadows, limpid rivers, waterfalls, limestone caves, circuses and glacial lakes with mirror effects in a beautiful setting. The mountainous lands of Banff National Park offer more than 1,600 km of hiking trails and interpretation tracks as well as a lot of varied outdoor activities to take advantage of its sublime landscapes in any season.