Banff (map) is a town within Banff National Park (map) in Alberta, Canada. It is located approximately 126 km (78 mi) west of Calgary (map) and 58 km (36 mi) east of Lake Louise (map). Banff is part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Banff is a resort town and one of Canada’s most popular tourist destinations. Known for its mountainous surroundings and hot springs, it is a destination for outdoor sports and features extensive hiking, biking, scrambling and skiing destinations within the area.
Sunshine Village (map), Ski Norquay (Mt Norquay, map) and Lake Louise Ski Resort (map) are the three nearby ski resorts located within the national park.
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In fact, the tradition began in Banff as the Winter Carnival over 100 years ago. In 1917, the town came alive with this winter sports festival – complete with ski jumping, cross-country skiing and skijoring with horses.
A park pass is required for stopping in the park (Banff National Park), and permit checks are common during the summer months, especially at Lake Louise and the start of the Icefields Parkway. A permit is not required if travelling straight through the park without stopping. Approximately 5 million people pass through Banff annually on the Trans-Canada Highway without stopping.
Additional variable fees are required for camping and backcountry exploration. See the official Parks Canada website for a complete current schedule.
The town is also the starting point of the 4,417 km (2,745 mi) Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, which terminates at Antelope Wells (map), New Mexico in the United States. (+bikepacking.com)