Banff is a resort town in the province of Alberta, located within Banff National Park. The peaks of Mt. Rundle and Mt. Cascade, part of the Rocky Mountains, dominate its skyline. On Banff Avenue, the main thoroughfare, boutiques and restaurants mix with château-style hotels and souvenir shops. The surrounding 6,500 square kilometres of parkland are home to wildlife including elk and grizzly bears.
The town of Banff
Located in the south end of Banff National Park, this little town, surrounded by mountains, is a main tourist destination in Alberta. It is devoted to the tourism industry with all kinds of accommodation options, interesting shops, and restaurants that range from casual to high end. In the summer, the streets are packed with tourists from all over the world who come to see the Canadian Rockies, and in winter, the town maintains its lively atmosphere as skiers descend on Banff to enjoy the nearby slopes.
Located about an hour’s drive north of town, Moraine Lake is the visual highlight of any Banff trip and labeled a must-see bucket list item by many recent visitors. Nestled in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, the lake mirrors the snowcapped peaks and is surrounded by backcountry hiking trails. The easiest trail is the flat Moraine Lakeshore path, which starts near Moraine Lake Lodge and takes about 45 minutes to complete (round-trip). As you walk along the lakeshore, you’ll spot stunning views of Mount Fay and the Fay Glacier.
For fabulous views of the town of Banff and the entire valley, visitors can take the Sulphur Mountain Gondola up Sulphur Mountain. This is one of the most popular things to do in summer. The parking area is just four kilometers outside Banff. On a clear day, there is a splendid view from the three terrace decks and the mountain-top restaurant. At the top are a number of walking options, including the Banff Skywalk (Vista Trail), an easy one-kilometer trail that leads to the Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site of Canada and the Sanson’s Peak Meteorological Station.
Banff Upper Hot Springs
These springs, which were first discovered by Canada’s First Nations people prior to the 1880s, were regarded as sacred waters that could cure illness and maintain health. Now, the springs are a popular tourist attraction thanks to their serene atmosphere and stunning alpine views. The facility, which is akin to Budapest’s thermal baths, features all of the modern amenities you would expect from a public swimming pool (such as railings, ladders, lockers, changing areas, a cafe and a gift shop.