Banff- the oldest National Park of Canada has always created curiosity among the visitors, largely due to its extensive and interesting history. Stretched in an area of 2,564 square meters, Banff boasts serene beauty. From the majestic snow-clad mountains to sparkling alpine lakes, visitors experience enough breathtaking moments in Banff National Park.
Banff National Park is West of Calgary in the Canadian province of Alberta and is visited by thousands of people around the year. With some best views of the Rockies and waterfalls to behold and multiple adventurous activities, it makes one fine destination to make the most out of the holidays.
Banff National Park History
Banff was established in 1880, keeping tourism in mind, unlike other mountain towns that began mining settlements. In 1870, the ambitious Canadian Pacific Railway construction started where three workers- Thomas McCardell, William McCardell, and Frank McCabe hit upon a series of natural hot springs. Today, they are popular as Sulphur Mountains.
It doesn't take much time to recognize these hot springs (Cave and Basin) as a potential tourist attraction. It prompted the Government to create a reserve and protect them along with the surrounding areas. In 1887, it was named as 'Rocky Mountains Park of Canada' and later renamed Banff National Park. It was Canada's first and world's third national park.
Soon, hotels started building in the area and promoted as international resorts and spas, attracting tourists worldwide. Providing easy access to stunning mountains, beautiful lakes, and valleys, both Lake Louise and Banff continue to draw tourists.
Due to the exceptional beauty and striking mountain landscape, the Banff National Park was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, giving it a more acclaimed name in the world. Since then, it has gained a reputation among travel enthusiasts. Today, the unparalleled mountain panorama, Lake Louise, and flower-filled heavens in the midst of the Canadian Rockies welcome millions of people every year.
Tourists can enjoy a plethora of winter and summer activities at Banff National Park, including outdoor activities like hiking and driving through the spectacular landscape and admiring the sweeping vistas.
History of Indigenous People Of Banff National Park
For centuries, Indigenous people were the inhabitants of the forests and foothills of the Rocky Mountains, which is now the Banff National Park. They used to hunt big animals, fish, and trap them for survival. The area was also considered sacred as it comprises medicinal plants. Indigenous people used to collect the medicines and sought healing in the natural hot springs.
However, once Banff National Park was established officially, a policy came out that prohibited indigenous people from living in the area. It also excluded the traditional hunting, trapping, and gathering. Later, this policy was reversed, and the government tried building a stronger relationship with these people. It is done to strengthen the traditional indigenous values and provide them with more holistic stewardship of the land.
Interesting Facts About Banff National Park
It Has Over 1,000 Miles Of Hiking Trails
Banff is huge with around 1,600 kilometers of hiking trails. It is the second-largest national park in Canada after Jasper National Park, located in the North of Banff. Travelers can ride from one park to another as they are connected through the most scenic drives.
It Is Home To 45 To 120 Million Years Old Mountains
Banff National Park is home to millions of years old mountains that are carved out by glaciers. With more than 1,000 glaciers growing and receding every winter and summer month, Banff welcomes hikers and mountaineers to climb on the glaciers and witness the grandeur.
It Nestles The National Historic Sites
The seven National historical sites that tourists can visit at Banff National Park are:
- Cave and Basin
- Howse Pass
- Abbot Pass Hut
- Skoki Lodge
- Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
- Cosmic Ray Station on Sanson Peak
- Banff National Museum
The presence of these historic sites has made it a World Heritage Site in 1984.
There Are High Snow-Peaked Mountains
Mount Forbes is the highest mountain peak in Banff, with an elevation of 11,850 feet. Apart from it, there are various mountains to hike. Almost all the mountains in Banff are snow-clad all through the year.
The Largest Lake In Banff Is Man-Made
The biggest lake in Banff National Park is Lake Minnewanka which is man-made. It is made to bring fresh water closer to Banff town. Travelers looking for an underwater adventure can take a dive into Lake Minnewanka and gather some memorable experiences. Travelers can also enjoy hiking on the shores of the lake that offers incredible views. Boat rides are also there.
It's Home To The Most Photographed Lake
Lake Louise is situated at an elevation of 5,052 feet. It is popular for grizzly bears, skiing, waterfalls, and hiking. Lake Louise is often termed the 'Hiking Capital of Canada' and 'Diamond in the Wilderness. Hiking from Lake Louise takes travelers to two amazing viewpoints- Little Beehive and Big Beehive. Both these points give panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies and valleys. The fun fact is that Lake Louise is also the most visited and photographed lake in the world.
It's Home To Different Species Of Flora And Fauna
Visitors can enjoy an incredible amount of wildlife diversity at Banff National Park. It is due to various elevation and climate changes. From big animals like Bighorn sheep and Grizzly Bears to birds like eagles and beavers, tourists can enjoy the wildlife thoroughly. Also, there are 996 species of flora, including flowers, grass, and trees.
The interesting history and amazing facts about Banff National Park excite travelers and compel them to visit, explore and participate in adventurous activities. It is open all around the year for travelers, and the peak season is July and August that witness maximum crowds.