Created in 1885, Banff National Park is the oldest such park in Canada. It sits in Alberta, and its vast area is home to mountains, glaciers, cold clear lakes, rugged alpine terrain and deep evergreen forests. The natural wonders of the park make it one of the single most visited national parks throughout North America, and its stands easily as Alberta's foremost tourist destination.
Banff National Park is enormous, covering 2,564 square miles.
The park features numerous glaciers, many of which are in retreat because of global warming. Peyto Glacier, for example, has retreated more than a mile since 1880.
Several predatory mammals live in the park, including both grizzly and black bears, cougars, wolverines, lynx and wolves.
The park is also home to deer, otters, beavers, porcupines, bighorn sheep, mountain goats and a small number of caribou.
In 2004 and 2005, almost 4 million people visited the park. The majority of these visitors were actually foreigners, with 35 percent coming from the United States and 20 percent from Europe.
The sheer size and scope of the terrain in the park make a number of outdoor activities possible. These include hiking, camping, horseback riding, mountaineering, canoeing, skiing and snowboarding.