‘Breathtaking’ really only begins to describe the scenery within Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. The mountain vistas are seemingly endless, the wildlife is in abundance, and the lakes are simply spectacular. This Canadian national park is one of the most beautiful in the world.

That beauty has long been revered, as Banff is the oldest national park in Canada and in fact one of the earliest to be established anywhere, formed in 1885 and opened up to the public thanks to the development of the Canadian Pacific Railway. In the early day’s people came to enjoy the hot springs and maybe take a hike in the hills and mountains above Banff townsite and the renowned Banff Springs Hotel, and although things have changed, today these historical gems can still be enjoyed by tourists who travel to Alberta.

Staying in Banff National Park

Being a national park, development is restricted here yet there are still communities and resorts that remain from the earlier days of the park. In Banff itself you’ll find a number of hotels including the aforementioned Banff Springs, while at Lake Louise the equally impressive Chateau Lake Louise is a wonderful place to stay if you have the budget!
As you can imagine, these two Canadian Pacific Railway hotels are luxurious with a price tag to match, so if you want to have a longer vacation in the Rockies you would be better off renting a vacation villa or holiday home, for best value. The town of Canmore, Alberta is just outside the boundaries of Banff National Park and there are numerous vacation villas here for rent. Canmore has the benefit of being just a couple of miles from the park gates and easily close enough to be able to explore the best of what Banff National Park has to offer (more on that in a moment), but it’s a little quieter than Banff town too and doesn’t feel quite so commercialized.

Highlights of Banff National Park

You could spend weeks exploring Banff National Park and still not get to see all of it. The park itself does cover an area of 2,564 square miles (6,641 sq km) after all! Many of the visitors to Banff and the National Park stay along or close to the Highway 1 corridor, which is where some of the best highlights of the park can be found here.

The town of Banff is a popular vacation attraction in itself. There are several museums, the historic hot springs, and the Banff gondola that takes you up Sulphur Mountain for spectacular views. Just outside of Banff are several beautiful lakes – Two Jack and Lake Minnewanka, and a little further to the north is the world famous Lake Louise. Lake Louise is a spectacular place to vacation in Alberta for sure, but in my opinion, Moraine Lake is even better!

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