Banff National Park was the first national park established in Canada. It consists of 2,564 square miles of territory in the Canadian Rockies. A combination of valleys, peaks, meadows, marshes, rivers, and forests, Banff National Park is a tourist's paradise. It offers visitors a variety of birds, mammals, and fish to discover in its different ecosystems.
Warm summers and cold snowy winters are typical in Banff National Park. The snow allows such winter activities as cross-country skiing, alpine skking and skating.
There are more than 260 separate species of birds that a visitor to Banff may encounter. West of the town of Banff is the Cave and Basin Marsh, which contains many footpaths that bird watchers may travel to observe the birds of this wetland region.
There are some 53 species of mammals that inhabit Banff National Park, with such large mammals as elk, white-tailed deer, mule deer, woodland caribou, moose, bison, mountain goats and bighorn sheep. Predators such as wolverines, wolves, black bears, grizzly bears, and coyotes roam the park as well.
Montane forests thick with aspen, fir, spruce and lodgepole pine trees are found in the park. Upper alpine regions are mostly meadow, dotted with shrubs and wildflowers.
The many rivers and streams that flow through Banff offer anglers a chance to catch such species as cutthroat trout, Arctic grayling, and kokanee salmon. Anyone desiring to fish must first obtain a National Park Fishing Permit from one of the information centers.