Can you guess where I am?
-I am the highest elevated town in Canada
-since 1996, I have 4 000 000 visitors travel to see me every year, although my population is merely 6 700 people
-I am the home of Alberta’s southernmost herd of the endangered woodland caribou
-I contain Canada’s largest cave system
-I have in excess 1000 glaciers
-I am BEAUTIFUL
Did you guess Banff? If you did, jump for joy! (just look out for falling rocks or mountain edges!) Because you got it right!
Banff is absolutely one of the most compelling tourist attractions in Alberta, throughout my blog learn the reasons why!
I like to go to Banff to ____________________.
The amazing thing about that question is, that if you simply ask this question to strangers on the street in Banff, every person will tell you something different. Personally, I like to go to CAMP, HIKE, and sightsee. However, some people will answer, “helicopter ski,” or “photograph bears and moose” or “hot tub in the hot springs!”
Banff is super diverse, landscapes taking a major role, so here they are:
Every year, over four million (!!!) people travel from all across the world, just to visit Alberta’s beautiful Banff. Part of the attraction of Banff is the diverse natural landscapes found within this national park.
Being a proud Albertan, Banff National Park is always one of my favorite “must travel to” locations. Regularly living in the prairies, it’s common for me to get accustomed to seeing pale yellow fields and fresh crops. And fields. And crops. And fields and crops. But Banff is a beautiful change of scenery, as it’s anything BUT fields and crops.
Banff is home to the ROCKY MOUNTAINS! Amazingly, these mountains give you a true perspective on size and significance of the world, as the collision of tectonic plates made mountains that rise to unfathomable heights, rising several kilometers upwards. Banff has 13 main mountains, each individually named, and they range from 45 to 120 MILLION years old. These mountains are the hosts of many daring summer hiking trails and winter ski slopes.
Often recognized for their brilliant blue or turquoise colour, Banff is the home of many famous Canadian lakes. Lake Louise, the most famous lake in Canada is included in this list! What is so cool about these lakes? They’re glacier fed! In fact, it’s so cool you may not want to take a swim in them, as during the majority of the year you are risking hypothermia. BRRRRR!
Imagine walking on glass-appearance ice, surrounded by white snow covering all you can see. Sounds like a scene from Frozen, doesn’t it? But, it’s not! Banff is known for its ice fields, with tours leaving every half an our to take you to see this magnificent site.
One, two, or maybe a couple thousand or few. Banff has over a THOUSAND glaciers preserving part of the world’s small supply of fresh water. Banff offers a very unique way to view these… with a skywalk! Here, you can walk on a glass platform suspended on mountain edge where you can view this gorgeous natural phenomenon.
Put the Banff Upper Hot Springs at the top of your list of things to do in Banff. Soak in the steamy hot mineral water where travellers have come to ‘take the waters’ for over a hundred years. When in Banff do as the locals do – come in the morning for the most relaxing visit.
The top five minerals found in the Banff Upper Hot Springs are:
• Sulphate- 572 mg/l
• Calcium- 205 mg/l
• Bicarbonate- 134 mg/l
• Magnesium- 42 mg/l
• Sodium- 6.6 mg/l
Water temperature is kept between 37ºC and 40ºC.
At 1,585 meters of elevation (5,200 feet), the Banff Upper Hot Springs is the highest in Canada. Water volumes from the spring are affected by this unique location and may fluctuate. Currently,100% natural mineral water is flowing at the Banff Upper Hot Springs
Banff homes rich coniferous forests, crawling with animals from vicious grizzly bears, to silent cougars, to energetic squirrels. These forests are great for hiking, biking, or simply breathing in the fresh air. The tree line,(dominantly lodge pole pine) is abruptly cut off by glaciers, yet is still rich with plants and wildlife. Just be careful to always travel with a buddy and don’t forget your bear scare!
One of the amazing things is that, due to relatively low light pollution, at night you can see a brilliant display of stars, as well as it is common to catch a phenomenal show display of the Aurora Borealis (the northern lights). S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G.
- SUMMER ACTIVITIES:
-Skateboarding (yes, they have a park!)
-Swimming (lakes BRRR and pools and hotsprings)
-Various tours (glacier viewing, rafting, cave exploring, historical site visits, etc.!)
- WINTER ACTIVITIES:
-Dogsled Tours (because who doesn’t love dogs?)
-Ice walks (don’t slip!)
-Skiing/ Snowboarding (a fan favorite, I prefer to ski!)
-Heli Skiing (hope you’re not scared of heights!
-Ice Climbing (this is seriously something out of a spy movie)
The Nakoda (Stoney) and other First Nations originally inhabited the area. Banff was first settled in the 1880s, after the transcontinental railway was built through the Bow Valley. In 1883, three Canadian Pacific Railway workers stumbled upon a series of natural hot springs on the side of Sulphur Mountain. In 1885, Canada established a federal reserve of 26 km2 around the Cave and Basin hot springs, and began promoting the area as an international resort and spa as a way to support the new railway. In 1887, the reserve area was increased to 673 km2 and named “Rocky Mountain Park.” This was the beginning of Canada’s National Park system.
The area was named Banff in 1884 by George Stephen, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, recalling his birthplace in Banff, Scotland. The Canadian Pacific built a series of grand hotels along the rail line and advertised the Banff Springs Hotel as an international tourist resort.
The Banff townsite was developed near the railway station as a service centre for tourists visiting the park. It was administered by the Government of Canada’s national parks system until 1990 when the Town of Banff became the only incorporated municipality within a Canadian national park.
An Internment camp was set up at Banff and Castle Mountain in Dominion Park from July 1915 to July 1917.
In 1985, the United Nations declared Banff National Park, as one of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, a World Heritage Site. Banff remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada.
MY PERSONAL FAVORITE
My personal favorite part of Banff National Park is the wildlife. Driving along the highways, it’s not an uncommon sight to see a heard of elk or a mother bear with some cubs. Animals I have seen in Banff alone are: mule deer, wolves, coyotes, black bear, grizzlies, bighorn sheep, elk, squirrels, mountain pine beetle, foxes, various birds of prey including the bald eagle and many owls.
Come discover this unprecedented land and explore the wonders it has within it. Who knows, you might even see me there 😉
Bye for now,
Miss Teenage Alberta 2016