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Banff National Park

Blending in with the backdrop of jagged peaks, waterfalls, and glaciers, Banff National Park has been part of Canada’s national heritage since 1885.

Best known for hiking, skiing, and incredible mountain panoramic scenery – Banff National Park is a stunning area to visit. Although it only covers an area of 6,641 square kilometers (2,564 square miles), it still manages to be one of the most visited places in all of Canada.

Here are Banff National Park’s top ten attractions:

1. Sulphur Mountain gondola  – This attraction is Canada’s longest vertical ascent up a building. It offers hiking trails, observation decks, and spectacular views from atop Sulphur Mountain.

2. Lake Minnewanka  – Spanning 3 kilometers (1.86 miles), this is one of the largest lakes in the park and offers hiking, biking, backcountry camping, and boating opportunities.

3. Johnston Canyon  – A steep hiking trail that leads to a series of waterfalls along a canyon with a natural stone bridge near its endpoint. A rough hiking trail also passes through tunnels in the canyon walls before reaching Lower and Upper Falls.

4. Lake Louise  – One of the most photographed scenes in all of Canada, this lake sits at an elevation of 1,900 meters (6,234 feet) and is surrounded by glaciers on either side. The hiking trails are some of the best in Banff National Park.

5. Moraine Lake  – A high alpine lake surrounded by mountains that affords striking views of Mount Fay and its reflection on calm waters during hot summer months.

6. Lake Agnes tea house  – This is the highest teahouse in Canada at 2,818 meters (9,249 feet). Once a destination that only locals knew about for over 70 years, it began accepting outsiders in 1954 after hiking trails were built to serve the tea house.

7. Tunnel Mountain  – The hiking trails are easily accessible from the town of Banff with meandering switchbacks that overlook the village and surrounding mountains, including Sulphur Mountain and Mount Rundle, making this one of the best hiking trails in Banff National Park for beginners.

8. Wapta Falls  – This series of six waterfalls is located along Wapta Creek and offers hiking opportunities on moderate terrain. The hike also passes through forests, over bridges, and across fields before reaching the falls area itself.

9. Cascade Gardens  – An area where hot springs create a soothing setting for hiking, bird watching, picnics or just relaxing at your leisure. Several hiking trails include views of cascading water throughout this area as well as other significant natural features including Sulphur Mountain.

10. Hoodoos  – Resembling oddly shaped piles of rock, these hiking trails offer spectacular views of the surrounding landscape which includes creeks, hiking trails, and waterfalls.

Banff Camping & Area Activities

Banff National Park is a beautiful place to visit, and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. Whether you’re backpacking in the backcountry, camping, RV camping, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, or kayaking, you’ll find something to enjoy in the park.

 RV Parks in Banff National Park Information and Booking

If camping in tents isn’t for you, there are nine RV camping parks in Banff National Park where you can enjoy the surroundings without having to sleep on the ground. RV camping lets you bring everything you need to be comfortable while camping. You can even plan river trips, mountain biking tours, or horseback riding tours.

 Backcountry Permits

The backcountry camping sites are what many visitors to the park come here for, camping where there are no roads or RVs allowed. You can pitch your tent in some of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see and wake up to the sound of nature all around you. There are dozens of backcountry camping areas in the park and they vary in difficulty and distance from trails. Hikers, backpackers, and others who love camping in the backcountry know that camping here is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Parks Canada Campsite Location Maps and Corresponding Trails Info. Zoom-in for a closer look to see the trails in the desired Park.

Camping Resources: Where to Camp, What to Bring, Camping Rules & Regulations and a complete List of Campsites.

 There are a number of lakes in Banff National Park, and most of them have fish in them. You’ll find everything from small fish to ones that weigh almost 60 pounds, so be sure you bring your fishing gear along with you when camping here. Fishing Permits Required.

The lakes aren’t the only place where you can enjoy water activities in the park. The Bow and Spray Rivers both offer great kayaking, canoeing, and rafting opportunities. You can find Class I to Class IV rapids on the rivers, depending on the season. Be sure to check with park staff about water levels before you head out.

Be sure to visit the Banff Gondola for the best view of the township of Banff and the surrounding area. There is a restaurant, museum, and a theater with an interpretive film on the history of Banff that is a must see.

Be prepared when entering the backcountry. See Wilderness Survival Essentials section with info on your gear, weather in the mountains, wildlife, protection from wildlife and more.

Trip Planning will make all the difference in setting up your vacation stay in the Canadian Rockies.

No matter what activity you choose, you’re sure to have a great time camping in Banff National Park. It’s a unique and beautiful place, and you’ll find yourself longing to return one day soon.


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