–Banff, Banff National Park and Lake LouiseDespite a plethora of altered photos on the internet, Banff, Banff Nat'l Park and Lake Louise do not need retouching. The trouble is, the areas immense beauty cannot be conveyed in a photograph. Flanked on all sides by the Rockies with the distinction of being the highest town in Canada, Banff sits smack dab in the heart of Banff National Park. A small extremely popular town known for it's access to incredible scenery and wildlife.
Each year, thousands of travelers make the incredible journey to take it all in. Of course, I recommend arriving by train. Although small in size, Banff's ever increasing popularity has spawned luxury accommodations, fine dining and nightlife. Luckily, its restricted footprint has protected it from over development and sprawl. A skier's dream in winter and outdoor adventure wonderland in summer. The park, all 1,641,027 acres, set aside in 1885, is the site of the first national park service. Banff National Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A combination of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers, it is one of the world's premier destination spots. Enjoy wildlife tours year round. Skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, dogsled rides and horse sleigh rides are popular in winter. Nearby Lake Louise is the largest ski area in Canada with 4200 skiable acres. And, although the summer months draw large crowds, there are enough wide open spaces for everyone to do just about every outdoor activity one could imagine-hiking, biking, horseback riding, swimming, wildlife viewing, rock climbing, canoeing, boating, backpacking, fishing, camping, even scuba diving. Many of these activities can also be enjoyed during the winter months. It's also good to come here and make time to be still. You'd have to spend a lifetime here to absorb everything the area has to offer, but a week or two will renew your spirit in ways you'd forgotten were possible.