In the fall of 1883, three Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers stumbled across a cave containing hot springs on the eastern slopes of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. From that humble beginning was born Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park and the world’s third. Spanning 6,641 square kilometers (2,564 square miles) of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers, Banff National Park is one of the world’s premier destination spots.
The info. below is straight from the Banff official website. Here are:
10 Things You Have to See in Banff National Park (…and a few more)
There are so many things to see in Banff National Park that it’s sometimes difficult to know what to do first. Here are some of the highlights that you should be sure not to miss.
20 min north of Banff on the Minnewanka loop
The Stoney-Nakoda First Nations knew this lake as the “the Lake of the Water Spirits”. The area is a great place to relax by the water, picnic, dive, mountain bike, hike, cross-country ski or snowshoe.
Banff Legacy Trail
From Banff east gate to the Bow Valley Parkway
Paved trails and roadways span for 26 kilometres from Banff National Park’s East Gate to the Bow Valley Parkway, Enjoy views, picnic areas, the town site, and a variety of rest spots and trail connectors.
Upper Hot Springs Pool
Relax in the comfort of soothing natural hot springs where travelers have come to ‘take the waters’ for more than a century.
Hike the 3 km loop of Johnson Lake or canoe, fish, kayak on its waters.
5 min west of Banff on the Vermillion road
Discover the important wetlands of Vermilion Lakes while enjoying wildlife viewing and bird watching.
Bow Valley Parkway (1A)
This scenic heritage road offers viewpoints, picnic sites, trails, and roadside interpretative panels, as well as quaint cottage accommodation along the way. The road is narrow and curvy; slow down for cyclists and wildlife.
Feel the spray of waterfalls from catwalks that cling to the canyon walls: 1.1 km (20 min) to the Lower Falls: 2.7 km (1hr) to the Upper Falls.
Lake Louise – the Lake
The emerald hues and glacial backdrop of Lake Louise have wowed visitors since the 1890s. The lake offers photographic moments, a lakeshore stroll, canoeing and horseback riding. Best time to visit is before 11 am or after 5 pm.
Lake Agnes Trail
One of the most hiked trails in the area, the 6.8 km return trail gains 385 m elevation gain to a mountain tea house. The trail takes you past Mirror Lake to enjoy a steeped cup of ‘high’ tea with a stunning view of Lake Louise.
Plain of Six Glaciers Trail
Glaciers, vaulting peaks, avalanche paths, wildlife and a mountain tea house are all part of this classic hike. This famous Lake Louise hike offers great satisfaction for a moderate 10 km effort.
Known as the Valley of the Ten Peaks, this area offers hiking, paddling, and dramatic photographic opportunities. Best time to visit is before 11 am or after 5 pm.
Bow Summit and Peyto Lake
Bow Summit is the height of land between the Bow River system, flowing to Banff, and the Mistaya River system. Reach Peyto Lake after a short uphill walk and enjoy views of the brilliantly turquoise, glacial fed lake.
A century ago when this was named, three “toes” of the ice clung to the mountainside. Since then the lower toe has melted and the middle toe is slowly disappearing.
Bow Lake and Bow Glacier
Bow Lake is one of the more scenic and accessible lakes for fishing. The turquoise blue water is the source of the Bow River. From here you can view the majestic Bow Glacier.