Canada’s National Park is a breathtaking collection of mountains, lakes, and wildlife that you can marvel at all year long!
Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest national park, established in 1885. Located in the Rocky Mountains, Banff encompasses 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 sq mi) of mountainous terrain, with numerous glabiers and ice fields, dense coniferous forest, and alpine landscapes. The Icefields Parkway extends from Lake Louise, connecting to Jasper National Park in the north.
The Canadian Pacific Railway was instrumental in Banff’s early years, attracting tourists through extensive advertising. In the early 20th century, roads were built in Banff, at times by war internees from World War 1 and through Great Depression-era public works projects. Since the 1960s, park accommodations have been open all year, with annual tourism visits to Banff increasing to over 5 million in the 1990s.
Banff National Park has a subarctic climate with three ecoregions, including montane, subalpine and alpine. Mammal species such as the grizzly, cougar, wolverine, elk, bighorn sheep and moose are found, along with hundreds of bird species. Reptiles and amphibians are also found but only a limited number of species have been recorded. The mountains are formed from sedimentary rocks which were pushed east over newer rock strata, between 80 and 55 million years ago. Over the past few million years, glaciers have at times covered most of the park, but today are found only on the mountain slopes though they include the Columbia Icefield, the largest uninterrupted glacial mass in the Rockies. Erosion from water and ice have carved the mountains into their current shapes.