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Banff Visitor Attractions

• A WorldWeb.com Travel Guide for Banff, Alberta.
Situated in Canada's first national park, the community of Banff has been a long-time tourist destination in Alberta. With just one visit to Banff it's easy to see why the park attracts millions of visitors each year. Pristine lakes, snow-dusted mountain peaks, soothing hot springs and historic attractions are all part of the Banff holiday package.

NATURAL BEAUTY

Banff National Park is blessed with a multitude of deep blue and turquoise lakes. A great way to see a handful of these pristine lakes in a short amount of time is with a drive on the Lake Minnewanka Loop Road. The loop road connects the national park's largest body of water, Lake Minnewanka, with popular picnic spots Cascade Ponds, Two Jack Lake and Johnson Lake. The abandoned coal mine called Lower Bankhead and the residential area of this mine, Upper Bankhead, can also be reached via this circuit. As visitors drive along this narrow, winding route they should keep their eyes on the road and cameras ready. Big Horn sheep, elk, coyotes and other animals are known to make appearances along the highway.

Visitors fascinated with the beauty of waterfalls have plenty of photo-worthy falls to choose from in Banff National Park. An easy waterfall to access is Bow Falls, which is only a short hike from the Banff Springs Hotel. Visitors to the Bow Falls can watch the Bow River make a splash as it plunges 9 m (30 ft). Farther out of town, approximately 30 minutes' drive away, is Johnston Canyon. Self-guided interpretive trails lead visitors to the spectacular lower and upper falls.


Although Lake Louise is about 50 km (31 mi) from the town of Banff, it is definitely worth the drive. The emerald lake bordered by the elegant Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, hiking trails and snow-capped mountains is one of the most photographed sites in the entire park. Not far from Lake Louise is another postcard seller, Moraine Lake. With a bit of a hike visitors can enjoy the view of Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks that was once featured on the Canadian $20 bill.

LEARNING & HISTORY

Although Banff is known for its stunning natural attractions, the town and park also boast an interesting past. Through an assortment of museums and interpretive centres visitors can take a break from intense hikes and gain insight into the park's history. A good place to start exploring Banff's museum scene is the park's birthplace, the Cave and Basin. During construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway transcontinental route in the 1880s, railway workers discovered the Cave and Basin, which prompted the creation of Canada's first national park. At the Cave and Basin visitors can explore the cave, the mineral pool and learn about the endangered Banff Springs snail found inside this historic site. Visitors interested in learning more about the park's wildlife can visit the Banff Park Museum National Historic Site, which is the oldest natural history museum in Western Canada. And finally, art and history enthusiasts can view artwork by talented local artists, historical artifacts from the Canadian Rockies and heritage homes at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

ALL-SEASON ENTERTAINMENT

Banff is a buzzing place year round with countless hikes in summer and ski hills in winter. However, Banff has plenty of attractions to keep its visitors satisfied in each of the four seasons. A few year-round highlights include the Banff Upper Hot Springs, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and the Banff Gondola. At the Banff Upper Hot Springs visitors can soak up the warmth even on the coldest days of the year in the outdoor hot mineral pool. On the Banff Gondola travellers take the eight-minute ride up to the summit of Sulphur Mountain to enjoy views of the Rockies from 2,281 m (7,486 ft) high. The legendary castle-like Banff Springs Hotel offers history dating back to the late 1880s and features gourmet dining options.

Visitors wandering around the town of Banff will find an abundance of attractions to keep themselves busy. Shops, a movie theatre and restaurants serving everything from Irish to Mexican cuisine can be found in the downtown area. Visitors should also check out the town's annual line up of festivals, which celebrate everything from art to food.
Vermillion Lakes and Mount Rundle - II
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Photos of Banff  Vermillion Lakes and Mount Rundle - II


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