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First protected in 1885, Banff is Canada’s oldest and most popular national park. Snow-capped peaks frame emerald and turquoise sparkling lakes to create endless photographic vistas.

Spanning 6,641 square kilometres of pristine wilderness, Banff National Park is home to 25 mountains, all 3,000 metres or taller. Along with the iconic Lake Louise and lesser visited - but equally stunning - Moraine Lake, these combine to create an area of jaw dropping scenery. It was in 1885 when railway workers stumbled upon hot springs in what is now known as the town of Banff, that the park was first protected. Within the park's alpine habitats, a wealth of wildlife can be found, including the iconic bigger mammals such as grizzly and black bears, along with caribou, coyotes and wolves. Smaller mammals can also be spotted, such as the Columbia ground squirrel, and numerous nesting and migrant birds.  

Heading north through Banff National Park, the Icefields Parkway links Lake Louise to Jasper National Park. This stunning highway connects the two national parks and is often referred to as one of the most exciting drives in the world and certainly is one of the most scenic. A visit to the Columbia Icefield, the largest icefield in North America containing around 30 glaciers, is highly recommended, where there are options to hike on to the glacier or take a ‘snocoach’ tour of the icefield.

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Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: brown bear, American black bear, caribou, Columbian ground squirrel, coyote
  • Where: Alberta, Canada

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Wildlife of the Canadian Rockies

As well as providing awe-inspiring scenery, the majestic Canadian Rockies are also home to an incredible mix of mammals and birds. This small group trip offers opportunities to search for iconic Canadian wildlife, including moose, grizzly and black bears, in a spectacular mountain setting.

  • When to go: Jun
  • Duration inc. flights: 14 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £6.495 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Whales & Mountains

This superb route winds it way through the celebrated Rocky Mountains and into the Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island. This area of ancient coastal rainforest abounds with plant life and is famed for its whale watching, as well as being home to brown bears, wolves and bald eagles.

  • When to go: May-Sep
  • Duration inc. flights: 14 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,095 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea