Canada's oldest national park
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Banff National Park in western Canada is world famous. This is due to the rugged landscape of the Rocky Mountains. You can easily get lost in the mountains, lakes and glaciers, and meet countless wildlife.
This famous nature reserve and its surroundings used to be known as Hotsprings Reserve. Banff is the oldest national park of Canada. The countless hot water springs are no longer the big attractions and this is not just because the Yellowstone geysers are more impressive. The brothers Banff and Jasper are the most popular attractions for tourists. To many people Banff and the nearby Jasper and Yoho are the real Rocky Mountains.
You get a real sense of the massive landscape, with the flora and fauna that go with it. At least, so it seems. A variety of animals can be spotted and approached with relatively easy. Examples are moose, elk, mountain goat, bighorn sheep and even wolf, American black bear and brown bear (or grizzly).
The heart of the region is formed by the Columbia Icefields, the largest ice flat of the North American continent. According to scientists, the ice mass has shrunk one and a half kilometers in size in the past 125 years. In these years it has lost half its volume.
You can see animals all year long, but in spring most animals will go out to find food. For example the bears after a season of hibernating, but also to find a mate. The high season starts in May when the flowers begin to bloom. The weather is then ideal for hiking.
This is the most hectic period. You can still encounter many animals, but there will be a lot of tourists as well. This will last until September, which is when there will be remarkably many day trippers and lots of Americans will also be on holiday then.
The Indian Summer, as the leaves falling down is called, can also be enjoyed in this part of Canada. It changes the entire feeling radiated by the park, as compared to other seasons.
A considerable part of the park can also be reached in winter, it can become very cold, with temperatures far below zero. So come prepared.
In the middle of summer, the roads in the park can be really busy. If you wish for some privacy, you should go hiking, preferably a day hike of even longer.
While your camping, all sorts of animals may show up at your tent. It is recommended not to keep food supplies in the tent. If you run into a brown bear, a wolf or a cougar, you should really be careful.
If you are with a group of people, it will be wise to make as much noise as possible. If you inadvertently surprise a bear and you are too close to the animal, the best thing to do is pretend to be dead. This requires nerves of steel, though.