Here at Dirt In My Shoes, I typically only share information about America’s national parks, but after an overwhelming number of requests, I’ve decided to branch out and write guides to several of Canada’s spectacular national parks as well (specifically in the Canadian Rockies where I’ve spent a lot of time hiking). I hope you enjoy Banff! –Ash
Hi there! Are you ready to plan an unforgettable trip to Banff National Park?! Explore these craggy and majestic mountains and push your limits in this phenomenal alpine landscape! You are sure to find something here that everyone in your group will LOVE.
Banff is a place where memories are made — and somewhere you will talk about for years to come. The glacial lakes are the bluest you’ve ever seen, the glaciers are massive and humbling, and the rivers are roaring and powerful. This enchanting place will leave you speechless.
There is so much to do. You may have already looked at a map and been a little overwhelmed — and eager — to make sure that you don’t miss the best sights.
I’m a former park ranger, and I’ll help you plan your vacation down to the details. I’ve extensively explored Banff National Park and am here to help! Whether this is your first time to Banff, or if you are returning after many years and would like to be reintroduced to the park, this list of 10 things is for you.
What You Need to Know
- Banff is Canada’s first national park! It was first created in 1885 and has resulted in the protection of 47 additional parks since then.
- If you’re used to America’s national parks, expect Canadian parks to have some key differences. One of the biggest differences is that the town of Banff is actually located within Banff National Park. It feels different having such a touristy place (complete with every kind of shop, restaurant, and hotel you can imagine) within the national park instead of outside of it! Because of that, I have tried to include only wilderness/nature activities on this list.
- Fees are collected as you enter the national park boundaries. If you plan on visiting other national parks nearby, the Discovery Pass is a great option.
- Parking in Banff can be a huge challenge, but you can stay on top of the current parking availability and fill times with Banff Now or Banff Parking.
- Find Banff’s red chairs! These chairs are placed in beautiful places all around Canada’s national parks, and it’s fun to find them as you’re out exploring.
I’ll make sure that you don’t miss the most popular sights, but I also want to provide a few treasures that are off-the-beaten-path as well. Let the adventure begin!