One of the most scenic national parks in Canada, Banff National Park is a little slice of heaven. With towering mountains, vibrant wildlife, breathtaking sites, fantastic hiking, and an adorable little village, there’s something for everyone here. Check out my 7 reasons why you should visit Banff National Park this year! (Or… at the very least, add Banff to your bucket list!)
If you’ve never heard of Banff National Park, well, I’m here to tell you that it should definitely be on your list of places to go.
It is unbelievably stunning. Seriously.
There is no where else in the world like this infamous Canadian national park.
Located in Alberta, Canada, Banff National Park is near other beautiful national parks like Jasper National Park and Yoho National Park, but I must say — Banff stole my heart while I was there.
I even visited Jasper, which is just a short drive north of Banff, and I must say, it didn’t really outshine Banff National Park (granted it’s pretty damn hard… I mean, WHOA, just look at those pictures below! Incredible.)
No doubt, Banff National Park is a nature-lover’s dream…. (Or a photographer’s dream. Or an exercise-junkie’s dream. Or just a dream-like destination for anyone who likes beautiful places.)
There is so much to do — and look at, too. The winding roads, the majestic creatures that inhabit the area, and those mountains!
Ah man, now I want to go back. Actually, I need go back!
Anywho, on with the main reason you’re here, right? Is Banff National Park worth visiting? And why is Banff so popular among travelers?
Check out my list of the top reasons you should travel to Banff National Park this upcoming year and you’ll find out why. After reading this list, you will no doubt have an itch to visit Banff on your next Canada trip.
Love mountains? Then you’ll love Wales. Take a look at my 33 reasons to visit Wales that’ll have you booking a flight to this underrated (often forgotten) UK country ASAP!
Table of Contents
7 REASONS WHY YOU NEED TO VISIT BANFF NATIONAL PARK
1. Moraine Lake
This was absolutely, positively, 100% my favorite part of visiting Banff National Park.
Moraine Lake seems to be less popular than the famous nearby lake of Lake Louise, but I think Moraine Lake is waaay prettier. And it’s usually less crowded, too. (At the right times, that is. Like early morning before the tour buses get there — more on that below).
Even though it was pretty crummy weather when I went there the first time, this place was still breathtaking.
If you visit Banff National Park, Moraine Lake needs to be at the top of your Banff Bucket List. I mean, just look at those mountains — and that blue water!
I arrived at Moraine Lake early-ish in the morning, around like 8:30 AM and it wasn’t too crowded with visitors. Buses of tourists started to arrive pretty quickly after I got there though.
I would recommend getting here as early as possible. I’ve heard the sunrise here is pretty phenomenal.
2. Petyo Lake
Ah, Peyto Lake. *cue the longing sigh*
This place is almost as awesome as Moraine Lake. I mean, just look at that view and the color of the water — and it’s shaped like a wolf! Do you see it? So cool!
If you are in the national park area, I would definitely hit up this lake, as it’s one of the better Banff attractions.
Peyto Lake is located north of Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, about a 20 minute drive heading towards Jasper National Park.
Keep a close eye on the road or you might miss the left turn to go to the parking lot, as the sign is kind of small!
Pssst, if you are already convinced to visit Banff, don’t forget to check out my other post on the top underrated things to do in Banff!
3. The Wildlife
The wildlife in and around Banff National Park is amazing. Just look at that lil’ gal!
I was so lucky to see her, as she was my first animal sighting of the day. Just as my friend and I were driving up the windy road towards Moraine Lake, I spotted her on the side of the road!
I got so excited that I was pretty much bouncing out of my seat. Even though I’m from an area in the United States where moose sightings aren’t unusual, I had never seen one before in real life, so I was pretty freakin’ happy.
Also, if you’re totes into wildlife like me, check out this post on where to spot wondrous wildlife in Banff!
4. Lake Louise
Lake Louise is probably the most popular and most well known lake in Banff National Park. And it’s not hard to see why — it’s absolutely mesmerizing.
There’s really nothing not to like about this place! And I can’t even imagine what it looks like without the low floating clouds hindering the view of the beautiful mountains.
Definitely something to look at and admire when you visit Banff National Park!
Curious to see what I never leave home without? Read this post on the 10 Odd Essentials I’ll Never Travel Without!
5. The Elk (!!!)
I know I already put wildlife in a section above but the elk deserve a reason of their own. Seriously, I spent like two hours looking and admiring these wonderful, fantastic beasts.
After mentioning to a local that I wanted to see elk sometime while on my Banff National Park visit, she suggested checking out the Banff Springs Golf Course.
So, early the next day, I headed out to the golf course to see if I could catch a glimpse of some elk…
And my god, did I ever.
After driving a few minutes through the course, I wasn’t spotting any elk, let alone any wildlife… and my disappointment was quickly rising.
Buuuut, I turned the corner and BOOM!
There were literally hundreds of elk standing on the course greens. It was ah-mazing. They weren’t even afraid! One female elk got so close me I saw the puff of her breath linger in the chilly air.
All in all, I spent a good two or three hours driving around the golf course admiring the elk and listening to the bulls bugling.
It was frickin’ magical to say the least.
6. The Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway is a long, winding highway that connects Banff National Park to Jasper National Park and if you Google it, the road has raving reviews.
After going on the parkway myself, I’m honestly not surprised. Even though it was super cloudy and a good 80% of the surrounding mountains were hiding, it was still a pretty cool drive.
If it’s not cloudy, apparently the drive is filled with cascading waterfalls, towering mountains, and dramatic rock formations.
If you go far enough, you’ll go into Jasper and come across a large building on the right that has tours going to a nearby glacier. Although, you can go for free to another viewing area on the left of the road and stand where the glacier used to be.
Not as cool as actually walking on the glacier but the viewing area has little podiums set up where you can read some interesting information about it (which I found fascinating cause I’m a nerd).
Have some extra days on your hands? I absolutely recommend exploring Jasper National Park, too! Check out this Jasper itinerary to see all the best things to do and see there.
7. Fairmont Banff Springs
No, that isn’t Hogwarts. Yes, that is the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. (Should be called “castle”, eh?)
Located near the adorable village of Banff, Alberta, this majestic hotel is filled with beauty and wonder. You can even go inside the hotel and walk around, viewing the various rooms and reading about the hotel history — like how Marilyn Monroe frequently escaped here to evade the eyes of the media!
If you have any questions about the place, don’t hesitate to go up to the front desk and ask one of the many friendly workers for a map and/or some information.
A very kind and helpful lady gave me a map and some cool facts about the hotel — such as how there’s a fascinating rumor that the custom cast bronze doors leading to the Alhambra ballrooms are insured for 2 million dollars. Wowza!
Interested in being a wizard or a princess for a night? Why not stay in the Fairmont Banff Springs! Check out the hotel rates here.
Find Places to Stay Near Banff National Park
So there you have it, my 7 reasons why you definitely should visit Banff National Park this year! Did I convince you to add this magical place to your bucket list? I sure hope so!
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