3 Reasons to Check Out Banff National Park

3 Reasons to Check Out Banff National Park

The number of eye-popping views and natural treasures dotting the Canadian landscape may as well be infinite. Still, some natural treasures are more treasured than others. If you can only visit one attraction in the country this year, here are three reasons you should check out Banff National Park.

The History

In 1883, a trio of Canadian Pacific Railway workers discovered a series of naturally occurring hot springs on what would come to be known as Sulphur Mountain. Two years later, the Canadian government created a nature reserve to ensure those springs, as well as the surrounding landscapes and wildlife, were protected. This was the genesis of Banff National Park, the first park of its kind in Canada and the third in the entire world.

Banff National Park’s historic legacy has since gone on to earn it a World Heritage Site designation from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. The nearby town of Banff, likewise, has enough historical locations to have amateur historians clamoring over Banff homes for sale. These include the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, and, most interestingly, Bankhead Ghost Town, the remnants of a long-abandoned mining village.

The Springs

When the employees of the Canadian Pacific Railways stumbled upon Banff’s now-famous geothermal mineral springs, they knew right away how important their discovery was. Nineteenth-century vacationers soon flocked to the springs to feel the soothing warmth on their skin and deep in their muscles. Today, only one of the area’s nine springs remains open to the public. Their popularity as a tourist destination has not declined in the slightest, with an estimated 300,000 guests visiting each year.

Reaching temperatures of up to 105 degrees even in winter, the steaming waters at Banff Upper Hot Springs offer a luxurious counter to Canada’s chilly climate. What’s more, the pools provide a stunning scenic view of the icy mountaintops beyond and the thick wilderness below. Open year-round, the experience of taking in this picturesque sight while snowflakes tumble down from the sky is one that many people dream of and few ever forget.

The Adventure

A rugged land of excitement and discovery since before the turn of the century, Banff National Park is an adventure unto itself. Whether guests are hiking the winding woodland trails, skiing the snowy slopes, or journeying underground at the Cave and Basin Historic Site, there’s always a pleasant surprise waiting just around the corner. That includes plenty of woodland critters, including wolves, elk, coyotes, bears, deer, mountain goats, and even the rare, endangered Banff Snail.

Even the act of driving to Banff is an adventure. Connecting the park with the similarly scenic mountain town of Jasper, the 232-kilometer Icefields Parkway lives up to its name. In addition to the one-of-a-kind rock formations and glittery, glacier-fed waterfalls, this epic stretch of two-lane blacktop borders a 10,000-year-old sheet of ice, which visitors are free to get up close and personal with. Set up camp and lay your head inches away from this natural wonder or just pull out your phone to snap a quick selfie.

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