In the fall of 1883, three Canadian Pacific Railway workers came across a cave on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains with hot mineral water bubbling from its floor.
Interest in the Banff area boomed as knowledge of the hot springs spread. Worried that private ownership would lead to overdevelopment of the area, the Government of Canada stepped in and in 1885 designated a small area around the current town site as the country’s first national park.
Today, Banff National Park spans 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 square miles) of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers, and is one of the world’s premier destination spots.
Historically, the transcontinental railway played an integral role in making Banff a summer tourist destination. Now, with the TransCanada Highway and winterized accommodations, the park is a year-round destination for nature lovers seeking either adventure or relaxation in a breathtakingly beautiful setting.
Visit Parks Canada for information about Banff National Park fees and its countless attractions.