Interesting facts about Banff National Park

banff national park

Banff National Park is Canada‘s oldest national park, established in 1885 in the Rocky Mountains.

Banff National Park is the third-oldest national park in the world.

In 1883, three railway workers, Thomas McCardell, William McCardell and Frank McCabe discovered a number of hot springs (now known as cave and basin) at the base of what is now called Sulphur Mountain.

The park started as a 25 square kilometers (10 square mile) reserve around the Sulphur Mountain Hot Springs, established by the Dominion of Canada.

Today, Banff National Park is 6,641 square kilometers (2,564 square miles) in area, the second largest of Canada’s mountain parks behind Jasper National Park.


Banff National Park has in excess of 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) of hiking trails.

Mountains in Banff National Park are 45 to 120 million years old.

Banff National Park has in excess of 1,000 glaciers.

In 1984, Banff was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Banff National Park is one of four national parks (Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay) that, together with three British Columbia provincial parks (Mount Robson, Mount Assiniboine and Hamber), make up the Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site.

Banff National Park is home to the following seven National historic sites: Skoki Lodge, Abbot Pass Hut, Howse Pass, Cave and Basin, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff Park Museum, and the Cosmic Ray Station on Sanson Peak

The highest mountain located entirely within Banff National Park’s borders is Mount Forbes at 3,612 meters (11,850 feet). Mount Assiniboine, which occupies not only Banff National Park but Kootenay National Park and Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, is slightly higher at 3,618 meters (11,870 feet).

mount assiniboine

The largest lake in the park, Lake Minnewanka, is man-made. When it was dammed, the water level rose and drowned the tiny resort village of Minnewanka Landing.

lake minnewanka

Lake Louise (1,540 meters (5,052 feet)), the highest permanent settlement in Canada and it is famous for its tea houses, grizzly bears, grand hotel, skiing, Victoria Glacier, waterfalls, hiking and lakes.Lake Louise is also known as Canada’s “Diamond in the Wilderness,” and the “Hiking Capital of Canada”.

Lake Louise (lake) is one of the most visited and photographed lakes in the world, Lake Louise is home to the world-renowned Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. First called Emerald Lake, the lake’s name was later changed to Lake Louise after Princess Caroline Alberta Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria and wife of Canada’s Governor General.

lake louise

The largest natural lake in Banff National Park, about 30 kilometers (18.5 miles) north of Lake Louise. Hector Lake is framed by Pulpit Peak and Crowfoot Mountain, both part of the Waputik Range. It gets its beautiful color from the rock flour suspended in the water.

mountain lake

Moraine Lake is a glacially-fed lake in Banff National Park. It is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, at an elevation of approximately 6,183 feet (1,885 m). The lake has a surface area of 0.5 square kilometers (0.19 square miles).

moraine lake

Peyto Lake is also a glacier-fed lake at an elevation of 1,860 meters (6,100 feet).The lake has a surface area of 5.3 square kilometers (2.0 square miles)

peyto lake

Castle Mountain named by James Hector in 1858, from his expedition notes that described “a most remarkable mountain, which looks exactly like a giant castle.” Castle Mountain stretches along a ridge for nearly 16 kilometers (10 miles).

castle mountain

The legendary “Castle in the Wilderness” and the most visited landmark in Banff. The shining jewel in a chain of luxurious resort hotels on the Canadian Pacific Railroad, the Banff Springs, which opened in 1888, is part French chateau and part Scottish baronial castle.

banff national park castle

Banff National Park is home to 53 species of mammals. This incredible diversity of wildlife is a reflection of the wide range of habitats found in the park due to variations in elevation, climate, and plant communities.

In Banff National Park you will regularly see elk, bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Hiking in the mountains you’ll sometimes come across grizzly bears, black bears, mountain caribou, moose, wolves, hoary marmots, wolverines, bald eagles, beavers, owls and pumas.

banff national park elk

According to Great Canadian Parks, there are 996 species of trees, grasses and flowers in Banff National Park.

banff national park flowers

The trail to the waterfalls of Johnston Canyon has to be the busiest in the Canadian Rockies. Nearly every day throughout the summer, hundreds of hikers follow its canyon-clinging catwalks and cliff-mounting staircases to the gorge’s Lower and Upper Falls.

johnston canyon waterfall

Stand in the dramatic spot that started it all: Cave and Basin National Historic Site is the birthplace of Canada’s world-famous system of parks, national historic sites, and national marine areas.Naturally occurring,warm mineral springs can be found inside the cave, and outside in an emerald colored basin.

cave and bassin

Castleguard Cave is a limestone cave located at the north end of Banff National Park. With 20,357 meters (66,788 feet) of surveyed passages (as of 2007), it is Canada’s longest cave, and its fifth deepest at 384 meters (1260 feet).

It is possible to see Northern Lights in Banff National Park. The best time to see them is in August and September.

banff national park aurora borealis

Skiing was introduced to the Banff and Lake Louise area in 1909 by Swiss and Austrian mountain guides.

The Town of Banff has an elevation of 1,383 meters (4,537 feet) making it the highest town in Canada.

The name “Banff” is derived from Banffshire, Scotland, the birthplace of two of the original directors of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Banff National Park is open all year round.

Banff National Park’s peak season is July and August.

Banff National Park welcomes between around 4 million visitors annually.