It seems hard to believe when you first lay eyes on Banff Town, Banff is one of the places that is fabulous all year-round, making it a must-see destination for visitors from around the world. Spring is beautiful for animal watching, summer is perfect weather for hiking in the mountains, fall brings breathtaking scenery as the seasons change, and winter is prime time for the ski hills.
This place is so real and so worth to see. Let's check what's makes this place so special.
Banff is a town within Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. It is located in Alberta's Rockies along the Trans-Canada Highway, approximately 126 km (78 mi) west of Calgary and 58 km (36 mi) east of Lake Louise. At 1,400 to 1,630 m (4,590 to 5,350 ft) above sea level, Banff is the community with the second highest elevation in Alberta, after Lake Louise. It is surrounded by mountains, notably Mount Rundle, Sulphur Mountain, Mount Norquay, and Cascade Mountain. The town is above Bow Falls near the confluence of the Bow River and Spray River.
Banff is a resort town and one of Canada's most popular tourist destinations. Known for its mountainous surroundings and hot springs, it is a destination for outdoor sports and features extensive hiking, biking, scrambling and skiing destinations within the area.
There are a number of popular mountains located immediately adjacent to the townsite which include Mount Rundle (2,949 m or 9,675 ft); Cascade Mountain (2,998 m or 9,836 ft); and Mount Norquay (2,134 m or 7,001 ft). Mount Norquay has a ski slope as well as mountain biking trails on the Stoney Squaw portion. A popular tourist attraction, the Banff Gondola, is available to ascend Sulphur Mountain (2,281 m or 7,484 ft) where a boardwalk (Banff Skywalk) beginning from the upper terminal takes visitors to Sanson Peak. Sulphur Mountain is also the location of one of Banff's most popular attractions, the Banff Upper Hot Springs.
Lake Minnewanka located six minutes north of the townsite is a very popular day use area with a variety of activities. Mountain biking, hiking and fishing are all activities allowed in this part of the park. A very popular Lake Cruise, motor boat rentals and a small food concession are available at the marina.
Tunnel Mountain (formerly known as Sleeping Buffalo Mountain) (1,690 m or 5,545 ft) is situated within the townsite and is very popular for quick hikes; one can reach the summit in less than half an hour. It was named Tunnel Mountain because surveyors initially wanted to make a tunnel for the Canadian Pacific Railway right through the mountain, instead of following the Bow River Valley. Located on the side of Tunnel Mountain is the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, which hosts a number of events including outdoor concerts, dance, opera and theatre.
Johnston Canyon is located 25 kilometres (around 30 minutes' drive) from the town of Banff and 33 kilometres from Lake Louise on the Bow Valley Highway. The hiking trail starts at the northern end of the parking lot, right behind Johnston Canyon Lodge.
The trail to the waterfalls of Johnston Canyon has to be the busiest in the Canadian Rockies. Nearly every day throughout the summer, hundreds of hikers follow its canyon-clinging catwalks and cliff-mounting staircases to the gorge’s Lower and Upper Falls.
CAVE AND BASIN NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
Cave and Basin National Historic Site is the birthplace of Canada’s world-famous system of parks, national historic sites, and national marine areas.Naturally occurring,warm mineral springs can be found inside the cave, and outside in an emerald colored basin.
Banff is home to the well-known Banff World Television Festival, Banff Mountain Film Festival, Rocky Mountain Music Festival and Bike Fest. The city is also the starting point of the 4,417 km (2,745 mi) Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, which terminates at Antelope Wells, New Mexico in the United States.
HOW TO GET TO BANFF ALBERTA
You can get there only by train. The only way you can get directly to Banff by train is to travel on Rocky Mountaineer (Luxury trip). Via Rail gets you to Jasper and then you will have to drive to Banff.
Calgary International Airport (YYC), although it is 120 km (75 miles) from the town of Banff, is the closest airport. It is a modern and relatively uncrowded facility. It handles major airlines from around the world with daily non-stop and direct flights.
Banff experiences a subarctic climate that borders on a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb). Winter temperatures range from an average low of −13.3 °C (8.1 °F) to an average high of −0.2 °C (31.6 °F). Summer temperatures in the warmest month are pleasant with an average high of 21.6 °C (70.9 °F) and an average low of 7.3 °C (45.1 °F).
INTERESTING TO KNOW
The Town of Banff was the first municipality to incorporate within a Canadian national park.
Banff is located at an elevation of 4,537 feet (1,383 metres) making it the highest town in Canada.
Banff has over 2,468 campsites.
The highest mountain in Banff National Park is Mt. Forbes which stands at 11,850 feet (3,612 metres).
Banff National Park has in excess of 1,000 glaciers.
More than 4,000,000 visitors travel to Banff National Park every year since 1996.
The largest lake in the park, Lake Minnewanka, is man-made. When it was dammed, the water level rose and drowned the tiny resort village of Minnewanka Landing.
The legendary “Castle in the Wilderness” and the most visited landmark in Banff. The shining jewel in a chain of luxurious resort hotels on the Canadian Pacific Railroad, the Banff Springs, which opened in 1888, is part French chateau and part Scottish baronial castle.
Banff National Park is home to 53 species of mammals.
It is possible to see Northern Lights in Banff National Park. The best time to see them is in August and September.