Banff National Park FAQ

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Written by Madison Valois posted on Friday, August 14th, 2009

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Information for planning your Banff National Park Trip

Answer all of your Banff National Park questions right here!

Get all of your Banff National Park questions answered right here!

BANFF, Alberta – One of the many reasons why Banff, Alberta is so popular with visitors is because of its Canadian diversity. The choice of accommodations is enough to occupy a week of hemming and hawing alone. The list of Canadian activities to choose from is exhausting in and of itself and the areas around Banff are packed full of unique Canadian beauty. Here at we often receive questions from readers looking for help in sorting out their Banff vacation. Below is a list of these questions and answers to assist your planning.

1) Can I go backpacking in Banff?
2) Should I be worried About bears?
3) I’m visiting Banff with my family, what can we do?
4) What are the fees for entering Banff National Park?
5) Tell me more about Banff National Park?
6) What are the fees for camp sites in Banff?
7) Are they any scenic drives in Banff?
8 ) Can you recommend some short walks in Banff?
9) Are there good day hikes in Banff?
10)What to do in Lake Louise and the surrounding area?
11) What are the Hot Springs of Banff
12) Where can I see some beautiful photos of Banff?
13) What summer activities can I do?
14) What are my skiing options in Banff?
15) Are there many restaurants in Banff?
16) Where is the best area for sightseeing?
17) Are there any special events in the Rockies and Banff?
18) What kind of wildlife is there in Banff and the Rockies?
19) What is the best way to get around Banff?
20) What is the best accommodation choice for me?
21) Can I have my wedding in Banff?
22) Is there disabled access in Banff?
23) Can I golf in the Rockies?
24) Can I fish in the Rockies?
25) Can I have corporate team building events in Banff?
26) Can I go horse riding in Banff?
27) Can I go whitewater rafting in Banff?

1) Can I go Backpacking in Banff?
Why in the world not? There are over 1100 kilometers of Canadian trails to choose from in Banff alone. You can do it yourself or go on an organized trip. Here is a list of recommendations:

One Night: Healy Creek; or Mosquito Creek; or Paradise Valley
Two Nights: Dolomite Pass; or Mystic Pass; or Glacier Lake
Three Nights: Healy Creek – Healy Pass – Egypt Lake – Whistling Valley – out via Red Earth Creek
Four Nights: Mosquito Creek – Molar Pass – Fish Lake – the high route to Pipestone Pass – Isabela Lake – out via Dolomite Pass
Ten Nights: Mosquito Creek – Fish Lake – Clearwater Pass – Clearwater River – Peters Creek – Divide Creek – Red Deer River – Red Deer Lakes – Skoki Valley – Deception Pass – out via Boulder Pass

*** NOTE – this is a trip for experienced backcountry travelers who are used to off trail navigation, river crossings and self-sufficiency…it is a gorgeous trip but YOU WILL BE ON YOUR OWN WITH NO SUPPORT – CELL PHONES DO NOT WORK HERE…and wardens rarely patrol this far back in the park…

2) Should I be Worried About Bears?

Seeing bears are a real possibilty in the Banff backcountry.

Seeing bears are a real possibilty in the Banff backcountry.

Yes, you should. Bears are a very real threat and if they feel threatened they can react dangerously. Both black and grizzly bears inhabit front and backcountry areas of the Canadian Rockies. You should do the following things to ensure your safety:

* Make lots of noise
* Keep your eyes open
* Don’t bring pets into the backcountry
* Hang all food and objects on bear cables or a firm tree
* Sleep away from your cooking area
* If fires are permitted, burn all your combustible rubbish
* Keep a clean camp
* If you are lucky enough to encounter a bear, don’t panic. (Easy to say from here!) Talk to him, sing him a song and don’t freak out when he stands on his hind legs, he is just trying to smell you. Keep calm.

3) I’m Visiting Banff with my Family, What can we do?
Banff offers many possibilities! Picnics, skiing, festivals, shopping, easy walks and hikes and much more. The world is at your feet.

4) What are the Fees for Entering Banff National Park?
The fees are very fair considering the beauty that Banff holds. There are several options to choose from. Here is a list of the basic prices. For more options, have a look at Fees. Pay via Visa, MasterCard or American Express.
* Adult $9.80
* Senior $8.30
* Youth $4.90
* Family/Group $19.60
* Commercial Group, per person $8.30
* School Groups, per student $3.90
Annual – National Parks of Canada
* Adult $67.70
* Senior $57.90
* Youth $33.30
* Family/Group $136.40

5) Tell me more about Banff National Park?
Founded in 1885 after the chance discovery of hot springs on Sulphur Mountain; Banff National Park was Canada’s first national park and the world’s third. Today, it is an integral part of the UNESCO Rocky Mountain World Heritage Site and the core of the largest national park system in the world.

Banff is also Canada’s most visited park, with more than five million visitors coming each year to enjoy the wildlife and spectacular scenery found here.

6) What Are the Fees for Camp Sites in Banff?

Strap on your hiking boots and set up camp in Banff National Park.

Strap on your hiking boots and set up camp in Banff National Park.

Here is a rundown of prices and facilities:
Banff National Park Campground

Pay via Visa, MasterCard or American Express.

7) Scenic Drives in Banff, Alberta
Many of the scenic drives in and around the town of Banff are described here,
along with some of the area’s attractions and sites. Note that few of these drives connect directly with the Trans-Canada highway (T.C.H.) which is the only highway leading in and out of Banff. Jackets, sweaters, insect repellent and litter bags are useful to have along if you plan to stop during a drive. Maps, guidebooks, binoculars, a camera and lunch will add to your enjoyment.

8.) Short Walks in Banff
A stroll or short walk around Banff National Park can be the start of an adventure. Walking is an excellent way of experiencing the park at your own pace; of pursuing interests such as photography, wildlife watching and fishing or enjoying yourself sightseeing and picnicking. As a way of getting to and from places, walking is healthy, inexpensive and environmentally friendly.

9) Day Hikes in Banff
A day hike is any hike long enough to require taking a pack with a lunch and extra clothing, and of course cameras, binoculars, guidebooks and maps. There is always plenty to see on any day hike while getting fresh Canadian air and exercise. For more information on day hikes, an Alberta hiking trail guidebook and topographical map should be consulted.

10) What to do in and around Lake Louise
With its blue-green water and dramatic Canadian Rocky Mountain setting, this is the best known and most admired lake in Banff National Park. Lake Louise Drive, a paved 4.5 kilometer road, and two trails, the Tramline and Louise Creek, provide access between Lake Louise Village on the valley floor and the lake itself. Pathways lead from the public parking lot to Lake Louise. The magnificent snow-covered peak at the end of the lake is Mount Victoria, named for England’s renowned queen. The lake is named after one of her five daughters. A stroll through the flower-filled grounds in front of Chateau Lake Louise is a nice way to spend a half hour. Canoes can be rented from the boathouse at the lake or you can see the lake on foot by walking the Lakeshore Trail. At the Lake Louise ski area, on the opposite side of the valley, visitors can take a chairlift up Whitehorn Mountain in the summer for panoramic views of Lake Louise and its surrounding Canadian Rocky Mountain peaks. For more information about walks and drives around Lake Louise, visit here.

11) What Are the Hot Springs of Banff National Park?
There are three Hot Springs in Banff: the Upper Hot Springs, the Miette Hot Springs and the Radium Hot Springs. It was a dispute over ownership of these hot springs that triggered the development of Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park, in 1885. The facilities have expanded since that time and today’s rundle stone and wood structure heralds the Canadian architecture of the 1930’s. The newly restored heritage bath house offers a range of services that cater to visitors of the 21st century. From the redesigned pool, spa facilities, change rooms and interpretive exhibits to restaurants and boutiques; Banff Upper Hot Springs has returned to its former splendor.

12) Where Can I see Some Beautiful Photos of Banff?
John E. Marriot is the Canadian Rockies resident photographer. His camera has caught some of the most stunning images of the Canadian Rockies ever seen. To see his personal page click here.

13) What Canadian Rocky Summer Activities Can I do?
Recreational opportunities abound in Banff National Park with more than 1,000 kilometers of Canadian hiking and biking trails. You will also be ‘base-camped’ in the middle of one of the world’s most unparalleled outdoor recreation areas. Drive one hour in any direction and you will find five world-class ski hills, six world-class golf courses, thousands of miles of Canadian hiking and cross country ski trails and excellent fly-fishing rivers and lakes. In short, you won’t be bored here!

14) What Are My Skiing Options in Banff?

Downhill or cross country - your pick in Banff National Park.

Downhill or cross country - your pick in Banff National Park.

There are so many slopes and resorts in and around Banff that the list is practically endless. One rcommendation is Sunshine Village.

15) Are There Many Restaurants in Banff?
You bet there are. Family, ethnic, fine dining, continental, cafes and pubs. You name it, we have it.

16) Where is the best area for sightseeing?
Alberta’s Lake Minnewanka, Bow Valley Parkway, Lake Louise, Sunshine Meadows, Johnston Canyon, The Hot Springs, The Icefields Parkway and Jasper just to name a few. You are going to need a few visits to Banff to get everything in! Click here!

17) Are There Any Special Events in the Canadian Rockies and Banff?
From art and culture to sport and ice sculpture, Banff is your oyster.

18) What Kind of Canadian Wildlife is there in Banff and the Canadian Rockies?
Banff National Park is home to a wide variety of Canadian wildlife, including grizzly and black bears, mountain caribou, moose and wolves. It’s also the residence of smaller creatures, like hoary marmots, pikas and Columbian ground squirrels; plus a host of birds, from bald eagles to the endangered harlequin ducks.

The best times of year to visit Banff if you’re looking for wildlife are in early spring (April – May) or in fall (September – October).

19) What is the best way to get around Banff?
Banff itself is easily accessible by foot but if you want to do a bit of sightseeing, a rented car might be your best bet. There are bus operators that can pick you up from the airport and take you everywhere you need to go on your trip. Check out Jasper Vacations.

20) What is the best accommodation choice for me?
Whether it be an inn, B&B, hotel,motel, cabin, lodge, resort, rental house or camping, there are options for all. You can find some suggestions here.

21) Can I have my wedding in Banff?
You certainly can and there are a variety of options. There are companies like Banff Bride who can work with you to organize the big day or do it yourself with these tips.

22) Is there Disabled Access in Banff?
There have been improvements to disabled access over the years. There is plenty to do for the disabled visitor.

23) Can I golf in the Rockies?
For anyone looking for the ultimate Canadian golf experience in a setting so breathtaking that every shot is framed against big sky and towering  mountain peaks, you only have to go to the Canadian Rockies. Here you will find perfectly designed courses that harmonize with Canadian nature and each course is exceptionally playable for both the high and low handicapper. According to Gordon Schultz, President of Golf Canada’s West, golfing in the Canmore Kananaskis and Canadian Rockies is known for its wide variety of elevation changes, providing excellent opportunities for shot making that one does not find on the lowland meadow courses.

24) Can I fish in the Rockies?
If the bears can do it, why can’t you? Fishing the Rockies.

25) Can I have my corporate team building event in Banff?
The Banff National Park area provides a great base for corporate team building activities. Canadian Rockies team building events give your company a chance to have staff bond together in one of the greatest settings on earth.

26) Can I go horse riding in Banff?
There are several options to choose from including Cross Zee Ranch and Western Adventures.

27) Can I go whitewater rafting in Banff?
Banff and the Canadian Rockies offer the most awesome whitewater rafting opportunities. A vacation in Banff is not complete until you enjoy the rush of rafting in Yoho National Park and the famous Kicking Horse River.

For more information on Canadian Rockies accommodations: Click here!

For more information on Canadian Rockies activities: Click here!

Banff National Park, Columbia Icefields

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