Banff National Park

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Home > Alberta > Banff > Banff National Park    [ bookmark this page ]

Page Title: Banff National Park
Page Synopsis: Banff National Park overview, park facts, what to do ...

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Banff National Park - Quick Facts

  • Banff National Park
    Photo Courtesy: National Park Service
    Banff is Canada's first national park, 3rd oldest in the world, established in 1885.
  • Banff National Park is 6,641 sq. km (2,564 sq. miles) in area. The park is managed by Parks Canada, part of the federal department of Environment Canada.
  • The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site is a United Nations designation which includes Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks, plus adjacent B.C. Provincial Parks: Hamber, Mount Robson and Mount Assiniboine. This area helps protect over 20,000 sq. km (7,700 sq. miles) of the Rocky Mountains.
  • Banff, town and park, are named for Banffshire, Scotland - birthplace of two of the original Canadian Pacific Railway directors. Pronounced "Banph"
  • Some of the oldest and best preserved archaeological sites in Canada are found in Banff. There are also 7 national historic sites, the most in any Canadian National Park
  • Temperatures: Highest 34.4 C (July 17, 1941, Banff), lowest -52.8 C (January 25, 1950, Lake Louise). Average summer highs: 18 to 22 C, average winter highs: -7 to 0 C
  • Highest mountain within Banff National Park: Mt. Forbes, 3,612 m (11,850 feet), seen from North Saskatchewan River Crossing along the Icefields Parkway.
  • Age of the mountains: 120 million to 45 million years old (middle-aged by world standards).
  • Main rock type in Mountains: sedimentary (limestone, shale, quartz, sandstone, dolomite)
  • Number of glaciers in Banff National Park: more than 1,000
  • Largest cave system in Canada: Castleguard Caves with 18 km of known passageways, found near the Columbia Icefields (no public access)
  • Largest and deepest lake: Lake Minnewanka (damned); largest natural lake: Hector Lake
  • Main River: Bow River, headwaters at Bow Glacier/Bow Lake flows to Hudson's Bay
  • Canadian Heritage River: North Saskatchewan, from the Saskatchewan Glacier to the park boundary
  • Natural Areas: 3% Montane (valley bottom, open forest/grassland areas), 55% Subalpine (forest lands, from the montane to treeline), 5% Alpine meadows (above treeline), 37% Rock and ice

  • Moraine Lake - Banff National Park
    Common trees: lodgepole pine, white spruce, trembling aspen, balsam poplar, Englemann spruce, subalpine fir, alpine larch, limber pine, whitebark pine, Douglas-fir.
  • Average elevation of treeline: 2,100 metres (7,000 feet)
  • Mammal species: 57 (largest free roaming: moose, smallest: pygmy shrew).
  • Bird species: 265 (best birding:Vermilion Lakes, Cave and Basin marsh, Johnson Lake).
  • Reptiles and amphibian species: 6 (1 snake, 1 salamander, 3 frog, and 1 toad)
  • Fish species: 19 (10 native, 9 introduced)
  • Plant species: 844 (74 listed as rare)
  • Population estimates: 3200 elk (summer), 1600 elk (winter), 2000 to 2600 bighorn sheep, 800 to 900 mountain goats, 50 to 80 moose, 850 to 950 mule deer, 300 to 350 white-tailed deer, 55 to 80 grizzlies, 50 to 60 black bears, 50 to 60 wolves, 150 to 250 coyotes
  • Approximately 8 million people enter the park annually; over 4 million are considered park visitors (the highest visitation in any Canadian National Park). 92% arrive by private vehicle, 6% by charter motorcoach. 76% are Canadian, 17% are U.S. and 7% overseas.
  • Banff National Park visitor facilities include: 3 museums, 1 hot pool, 2 visitor information centres and 14 campgrounds (2800 campsites)

  • Hiking in Banff
    Banff National Park maintains 1500 km (972 miles) of trails, and 53 backcountry campgrounds. Backcountry use: approximately 41,000 user nights per year.
  • There are 320 km (180 miles) of paved roads traversing the park, including the Trans-Canada Highway, the Bow Valley Parkway and the Icefields Parkway. 11 freight trains per day cross the Park via the Canadian Pacific Railway line.
  • Tourism infrastructures include: 1 golf course , 3 alpine ski resorts, more than 125 restaurants, over 220 retail outlets, 49 hotels (5780 rooms), 36 Bed & Breakfasts, and more than 1150 businesses.
  • Estimates of direct tourism expenditures are as high as $750 million per year. Visitor spending in Banff National Park sustains 16,090 person years of employment.
  • Population of the Town of Banff is estimated at 7,615 and the Village of Lake Louise is 1,200
  • Elevation of Banff townsite: 1,383 m (4,537 feet), the highest town in Canada
  • Elevation of Lake Louise: 1,536 m (5,039 feet), the highest permanent settlement in Canada

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