Here are some incredible reasons why Banff needs to be on your travel to-do list!
Let’s start with some history of Banff National Park. Before Banff became a national park, it and the land surrounding it belonged to Indigenous peoples. This land was used to hunt, fish, produce tools & grow their families and communities. It was a sacred place where medicines were gathered and the natural hot springs were used for healing purposes.
After Banff National Park became a nationally protected land – a policy of excluding indigenous peoples from the national parks and not allowing traditional hunting and gathering to these communities were put in place. Something that has since been reversed. The history is by no means a fairytale – it has been tumultuous and has led to Parks Canada pledging to build a stronger relationship with Indigenous people and the land known as Banff National Park.
In the 1880’s William Cornelius Van Horne, was commissioned to build a railway to connect the east of Canada to the west – during the building of the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) Van Horne discovered that the Canadian Rockies held such captivating scenery that his newfound quest was to bring people into Canada’s first national park – Banff.
For those wondering Why Banff? Why travel to Banff? The answer is simple. For generations many have flocked to our mountain hidden oasis in search of their own special kind of adventure. For those who love winter, Banff National Park is the captain of winter activities and not to be outdone – summer activities keep in pace. Immersing yourself in the mountain culture of Banff is a genuine way to make connections and those looking for enriching experiences will leave in awe of the lifetime of memories they’ll be taking home. It’s not easy to describe the wonderment of this place or why you need to experience Banff, but below we’ve given it our best shot.
Postcard Views – Year Round
Let’s start with an obvious one – regardless of season, the views in Banff National Park are a huge reason why people from all over the world travel to Banff. With every turn of a corner a new view, mountain peak or landscape will present itself. While good views are a given in Banff National Park, they also present a chance to change one’s perspective on life, situations etc. in the presence of such behemoths. Ever hear of people watching? Mountain watching is just as real!
Local Tip: No matter your fitness level – you don’t need to exert yourself while in search of the best view in the Banff National Park. Find the perfect perch on a patio or restaurant (most boast about their views) and you’ll truly experience mountain culture.
Hiking to the highest peak definitely has its rewards, but often times may not be the best way to get the best views – the gondola’s in Banff National Park provides some of the most epic views around and supply easy walking paths to feel like you’ve put in the hard work for the reward. Banff Gondola, Lake Louise Summer Gondola, Mount Norquay and Sunshine Meadows are a must for those epic views.
Pro Tip: Want to take it to another level? Take a heli ride!
ALL THE SPORTS
Winter – tied for first as Banff National Park’s favourite season (along with spring, summer & fall) always boasts so many activities one can do. If downhill skiing is not your thing, try snowshoeing, tubing, cross-country skiing, skating, fat tire biking, hiking, stargazing …need we go on? The reason many people travel to Banff is to experience what winter can be like without feeling like you are house-bound for the season. Getting outside during winter can really showcase how much fun winter can be. Explore more winter activities.
Summer – With mountain peaks ready to be scaled, rivers ready to be floated on, bike trails ready to showcase their curves, summer itself is a reason why so many travel to Banff. Summer sports include fishing, biking, hiking, scrambling, floating, tennis, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, etc. The sky’s the limit when it comes to summer sports and why Banff is a world-renowned outdoor sports destination. See our full summer activity guide.
Secret Season – Also known as spring & fall, locals have dubbed these shoulder seasons as ‘Secret Seasons’ because they hold a plethora of activities still available to guests who want to travel at times when the park is a little quieter and the deals provide more bang for their bucks.
Life moves at a different pace here in the mountains – far from the city’s a-mile-a-minute mantra, Mountain Time really depends on the individual. Jetting down the slopes or hiking to a mountain peak is all on your time. If you are an early riser catch the stunning sunrises provided by the dramatic landscape – or if you prefer evenings have a later start and catch the sunset. The point is – your time in the mountains is yours & yours alone.
SO MUCH MORE THAN OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
Contrary to popular belief – Banff National Park has so much to offer than just outdoor activities. Sure adventure seekers from all over the globe will travel to Banff to get their fill of adrenaline – but Banff National Park offers much more than that.
Hit the Spa – From outdoor hot tubs to indulgent treatments and everything in between, soothing those tired muscles or just relaxing in the spa lounge with amazing views is something that you need to experience in Banff. Explore our own Willow Stream Spa.
The culinary and bar scene in Banff has also become renowned. On any given night catch chefs and bartenders producing some swoon-worthy food and beverages. Some new additions to the scene? Rundle Bar, which is serving unreal cocktails and some really fresh eats.
Banff is also home to some incredible year-round events. From a stunning transformation at Christmas to food and winter festivals – there truly always something in a town that has been labelled sleepy. For instance, this fall season guests of the Fairmont Banff Springs are allowed to purchase tickets to the first-ever Starlight Concert & Event Series – which will see some incredible music and artists welcomed at the Castle.
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