Banff National Park

Banff townsite is located in Banff National Park, a Canadian national park that encompasses over 6,500 square kilometres of mountains, lakes, valleys, and wildlife. The Banff Park is located on the eastern slopes of the Alberta rocky mountains and is bounded on the west by the continental divide, which also happens to be Alberta's border with the Province of British Columbia.

This national park is a world famous destination for tourists from all countries who come to experience the true splendour of the Canadian rocky mountains. The attention of the Canadian federal government was first focused on Banff in the mid-1880s when workers working on the Canadian Pacific railway stumbled upon natural hot springs. The Banff Hot Springs continue to be a must-do Banff attraction - click here to find out more. The Park was established in 1885, making it the older national park in Canada. The Park sees an average of over 3 million visitors a year. The Town of Banff itself has approximately 9,000 residents, 7,000 of which are permanent residents.

Mountain Sheep are a common sight on Banff's roads. Here, two of them take a rest from their usual occupation of licking salt off of the roads.

The Trans Canada Highway passes through Banff, with entrances on the east side of the park when you travel from Calgary (just past Canmore, Alberta) and on the west side (just past Field, British Columbia) when you travel from the interior of B.C. Our Getting There page has further information on this.

As with all national parks in Canada (and the United States for that matter), Banff National Park is on a user-pay system. Fees for adults (17 – 64 years old) are $9.80 per day, Seniors (65+) are $8.90 per day, and Youths (6-17) are $4.90. A Family or Group of up to 7 people arriving in the same vehicle is $19.60 per day. Annual passes are also available. You pay at the kiosks on the road once you reach the park gates on the highway.

The new and controversial Banff eco-toilet at Lake Minnewanka: eco-friendly and self-sustaining, but at a cost that had some people you-know-what-ing their pants!

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