Exploring Canada’s Oldest National Park: Banff

Banff is the oldest National Park in Canada. It was established in 1885 and is located in the Alberta Rocky Mountains.  The mountain resort town of Banff is known for its picturesque mountainous terrain and alpine landscapes, making it part of UNESCO’s Canadian Rocky Mountain World Heritage site. Banff has more than a thousand glaciers, rivers, valleys, meadows, ice fields, and forests — making it paradise for outdoor adventure lovers.

Banff has been on our radar for a long time, but the closest we had made it was Jasper National Park and a quick pop into Banff for Lake Louise. In BC, Whistler is one of our favourite places, and Banff always seemed to have that same kind of vibe and beauty. On this trip through Alberta, there was no question that Banff had to be included. The only thing wrong with our stop in Banff is that a couple of days definitely was not long enough. It is such an outdoor lovers paradise that we could have stayed a couple weeks and we still probably would have still barely scratched the surface.

On this Banff trip, we camped, went to the Banff Hot Springs, explored Sunshine Meadows and wandered around the town of Banff. That little taste really left us wanting to come back for more, especially the beauty of Sunshine Meadows.

The highlights from our couple days in Banff :

Banff

Sunshine Meadows

Sunshine Meadows was one of our highlights of Banff. Our guide was fabulous with the kids and the beauty was mind-blowing. The view below really did feel like a dream. We plan on making it back there for some hiking – who wouldn’t want to hike in that beauty? But for now, read more about our experience at Banff Sunshine Meadows here.

Banff Sunshine Meadows
Breathtaking

Banff Sunshine Meadows

Female Big Horn Sheep
Female Big Horn Sheep

Camping

We tried to do as much camping on this trip as we could — with a few hotels sprinkled in there for a little bit of luxury. We really enjoyed camping in Banff at Two Jack Main. It was quiet and peaceful and we had such a great time around the campfire making s’mores. One of my favorite moments is seeing the flashlight on in the tent when the kids should have been sleeping and finding them coloring and listening to them giggling as they fell asleep. Those moments are priceless! We brought along Auntie Diana on this trip too — having her around always makes travel extra special.

Banff Camping

Banff camping

Banff Resort Town

The Banff resort town is so picturesque. You can never go wrong when there are mountains around you everywhere you turn. The mountains create such a cool atmosphere for the town full of unique shops. The mountains are so strikingly beautiful that it almost feels like they are bursting out of the ground. We liked how the town was quite small and accessible– it was convenient for us to just walk to where we needed to go, and with three kids, that convenience sure is helpful!

Banff
Postcard perfect views

Banff

Banff

Banff
Even alleys become gorgeous with mountains as a backdrop
Banff
Could you imagine waking up to this every day? I’d love that in my front yard!

Upper Hot Springs

Hot springs are so relaxing. While we do prefer to chase the ones that are kept quite natural, we will never turn down a soak in hot springs. Like anything tourists flock to, go early or late. Our time frame to go was an afternoon and it was quite busy; the whole hot springs aren’t pictured below — there are a couple more small pools. While in the pool, visitors can look across the valley to Mount Rundle. It is quite the grand view to take in while soaking in the steamy hot mineral water.

Banff Hot Springs

Banff Hot Springs
A relaxing soak with a view

Have you been to Banff? What were some highlights for you?

Share your suggestions in the comments below!