Simplicity marks the origin of Banff—Canada’s first national park. In 1883, on the slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, three railway workers discovered a natural hot spring, and from there the park was born. Nowadays, Banff is one of the world’s premiere destinations, spanning a region of unparalleled majestic mountain scenery. Every year, millions of visitors make the pilgrimage to Banff to take in its stunning views and arsenal of activities.
Banff is part of UNESCO’s Canadian Rocky Mountain World Heritage site. Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, the park boasts a cornucopia of postcard-perfect mountains. These ancient monoliths range from 45 to 120 million years old, with the highest in the park, Mount Forbes, coming in at 11,850 feet (3,612 meters).
The park encompasses Banff, the highest town in Canada at an elevation of 4,540 feet (1,384 meters); the hamlet of Lake Louise (5,052 feet, 1,540 meters), the highest permanent settlement in Canada; several national historic sites; Castleguard Caves, the largest cave system in Canada; more than a thousand glaciers; glacier-fed lakes such as Lake Louise as well as Moraine, Bow, and Peyto Lakes; and hundreds of hotels, restaurants, and retail shops, plus a 27-hole championship golf course.