Canadian National Park: Banff, Alberta

by Cie McCullough Buschle on April 23, 2012. Updated May 9, 2012

in Outdoors with Kids, Travel Ideas

Canada’s oldest national park is Banff, Alberta, contains glaciers, ice fields, forests and mountains. Centered around hot springs discovered in 1883 by railway construction workers, Banff is one of the World’s most visited national parks, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The entire Banff Park is over 6,600 square kilometres, one of the largest in the world. For thousands of years the area was inhabited by aboriginals, including the Stoneys, Kootenay, Tsuu T’ina, Kainai, Peigans, and Siksika, who hunter the bison that populated the area. Three years after the hot springs were discovered, the first Banff Springs Hotel was built. The hotel that is there today has been there since 1928.

Banff National Park, Canada

Banff National Park, Canada

One of the best ways to see all that Banff Park has to offer is to drive through the Canadian Rockies on the Trans-Canada Highway to Lake Louise and then north to Jasper on the Icefields Parkway. There is an Information Centre in Banff, and Vistor Centre near Lake Louise, also home to the landmark Chateau Lake Louise and the Lake Louise Mountain Resort. Along with the Banff Springs, these three hotels provide luxury accommodation for most visiting tourists.

The park offers three unrivaled areas for alpine skiing and snowboarding: Sunshine, Lake Louise and Mount Norquay. Also available during the winter months are dogsledding, icefishing, ice skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice climbing. Hiking trails abound in the mountains, as does great fishing spots. Other summer activities include horseback riding, golfing, ATV adventures, white water rafting, kayaking, canoeing and, of course, sightseeing. There is a year-round gondola in the town of Banff, perfect for viewing the surrounding breathtaking mountain views.

| Cie McCullough Buschle lives with her dog Einstein and a cat named Burton Guster Took. She enjoys researching history through holidays, toys, and everyday objects. Cie is a sculptor and clay hand builder and spends her time traveling back in time to the Middle Ages as part of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

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