Banff National Park
In 1883, three Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers discovered a cave containing hot springs on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. This was the beginning of Banff National Park, Canada’s first, being proclaimed in 1885.
It covers 6,641 sq km (2,564 sq mil) of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows, and rivers. The park is located 128 km (80 mi) west of Calgary, in the Canadian Province of Alberta.
Along with Jasper, Yoho, and Kootenay National Parks, Banff National Park was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Historical sites in the park include the following:
- Banff Park Museum National Historic Site of Canada
- Cave and Basin National Historic Site of Canada
- Abbot Pass Refuge Cabin National Historic Site of Canada
- The well-known Lake Louise is also located in this park.
Vegetation ranges from grassland and alpine meadow to evergreen forest. The icefields and glaciers are the park’s main source of water.
Known human history in the park is believed to have begun about 11,000 years ago. The Siksika Nation was one of Canada’s original peoples, living on the land in and around the Rocky Mountains.
Stoney, Kootenay, and Blackfoot natives were in the region at the time George Simpson, governor of Rupert’s Land for the Hudson’s Bay Company, was led into the area by a native guide in 1841.
See map of the park.
See also: National Parks of Canada.
(This page was updated in November 2012.)