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Banff National Park

Information for Visitors 

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There will a number of roads and facilities under construction over the summer. For further information and to help you plan your trip, go to Construction Projects


September 2016

Preventing the spread of whirling disease:
Gear wash station

Whirling Disease - Notice 
Download (PDF 184 KB)

You can help prevent the spread of whirling disease. Examine all your equipment, boats, trailers, clothing, boots, and buckets and remove all mud, sand and plant material before leaving any waterbody. Most recreational equipment contains places that harbour water and aquatic parasites. Ensure you remove all water from every possible item before you leave an area. This includes boats, motors, boat hulls, bilges, boots, waders, and swimming floats. Once water is eliminated, cleaning and drying are required.

Johnson Lake remains closed due to the presence of whirling disease.

Whirling disease is a disease of salmonoid fishes that is caused by a parasite. Once inside a fish, the parasite affects cartilage near the spine; this causes the fish to abnormally whirl around in a tail-chasing behaviour. The disease is not harmful to humans.

Visit our website for more information on how to clean off your equipment before your next outing: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/banff-whirling  


Moose Meadows Prescribed Fire

Aerial photo of meadows between HWY1 and the Bow Valley Parkway

The Moose Meadows prescribed fire is currently in progress. 

Information Update: September 15, 2016 

In the fall of 2016, Parks Canada is planning to implement a 100 hectare prescribed fire in the Bow Valley of Banff National Park along the Bow Valley Parkway, 26km west of the Banff townsite.

Why?

The goal is to safely use fire to restore habitat and create a fuel break for the Town of Banff.

The Moose Meadows prescribed fire is a key component of a valley wide fuel break in the middle Bow Valley and will help facilitate future landscape level prescribed fire in this region. This prescribed fire will assist in mitigating the spread of large, potentially catastrophic wildfires, and will assist in the maintenance and restoration of native grassland habitats important to wildlife.

How might this affect you?

Parks Canada is committed to ensuring public safety and reducing the risks of wildfires – the safety of people, facilities and surrounding lands is our first concern in all fire management actions. Parks Canada will carry out the Moose Meadows prescribed fire in a way that reflects this commitment to safety and minimizes short-term inconveniences such as smoke. 

  • Ignition will only occur on those days with good atmospheric venting conditions to disperse smoke, and be conducted at a time and in a manner that will ensure the least impact possible for communities and visitors. 
  • Smoke may reduce visibility on the Trans-Canada Highway and the Bow Valley Parkway. Temporary delays on the highway may occur. Please obey all road safety signs and emergency personnel directives. 
  • For further information on smoke effects, contact a health professional: Alberta Health Link 1-866-408-LINK (5465). 
  • Those with medical conditions (e.g. asthma, chronic bronchitis) or severe smoke sensitivities may wish to receive notification in advance of prescribed fire operations. To be added to the Banff National Park smoke sensitive list, please call 403-760-0934 or email fire.info@pc.gc.ca.

For more information : Fire Information Officer, fire.info@pc.gc.ca or 403-760-0934.


Moraine Lake area group-of-4 group access in effect until mid-October

Moraine Lake from the air

The annual group-of-four restriction (group access) is now in effect for the Moraine Lake area and in Banff National Park. Group access means that hikers are legally required to travel in a tight group of four or more in the following areas: Consolation Lakes, Larch Valley, Sentinel Pass, Wasatch Pass, Eiffel Lake, Wenkchemna Pass, Sheol and Paradise Valleys. Paradise Valley backcountry campground is closed, and the upper 3.8 kilometres of the Highline Trail also falls under group access and is closed to cyclists.

Note: The Lakeshore and Rock Pile trails at Moraine Lake do not fall under group access.

Group access is put in place to increase public and wildlife safety by minimizing the possibility of conflicts between people and bears.

The restriction is in effect until mid-October.

Visitors can reduce the risk of encountering a bear by ensuring pets are on leash, travelling in a group, making noise on the trails, remaining aware of your surroundings (no ear buds), having bear spray accessible and knowing how to use it. Watch for signs such as scat and tracks. Report carnivore sightings to Banff dispatch at 403-762-1470.

For a map and more information on the Moraine Lake area group access please visit a Parks Canada information centre or visit us online:

Moraine Lake Area - Restricted Activity

Moraine Lake Area Trails - Group Access


The Inuvialuit – Life on the Land Exhibit (at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site)

Inuvialuk man 
William Kuptana (Sachs Harbour, 1958)

The Inuvialuit, meaning the Real People, have lived in the Western Arctic for thousands of years. Photos taken on the land provide unique insights to life on the land in the late 1800s and 1900s in the Western Arctic. Until October 2016, join us at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site for a glimpse of hunting camps, harvesting practices, and examples of the amazing handmade clothing specially designed for surviving and thriving in the Arctic.

The exhibit is free with regular site entry.


Wolf Updates

Wolves in a campground

To ensure visitor safety, a wolf warning remains in effect. Visitors are reminded that if they encounter a wolf to make noise, gather together, and use techniques to haze them away such as throwing rocks, yelling, or deploying their bear spray.

Parks Canada is asking all park users to practice safe camping practices, obey the camping regulations, keep food and garbage secure at all times, and also to report any wolf sightings immediately by calling our 24/7 Banff Dispatch at 403-762-1470.


Elk Mating Season Caution



Elk mating season (known as "the rut") will begin shortly. Typically occurring from September through to the end of October, bull elk gather harems and fight for their right to breed. Although impressive to watch and listen to, male elk become extremely aggressive during the rut and may charge without warning at anyone and anything that gets too close.

The key to safely viewing elk is to respect their need for space:

  • Stay back at least 30 metres (3 bus lengths)
  • Never get between a male elk and his harem
  • Keep your dog on a leash

Please report all sightings of elk in the Banff townsite and any aggressive elk incidents to Banff Dispatch (24hrs) at 403-762-1470.


Prescribed Fire Update – Fall 2016



Banff National Park plans to conduct prescribed fires this fall. Ignition may begin as early as September, and proceed as weather conditions allow.

The goal is to safely use fire to reduce wildfire risk, and help maintain forest health.

Baker Creek Prescribed Fire: Located two kilometres east of the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1-A) between Castle Junction and Lake Louise, this 800 hectare prescribed fire intends to provide increased wildfire protection for the people and property of the Bow Valley by reducing the amount of available forest fuels, restore and enhance grizzly habitat in upper Baker Creek, and reduce available habitat for mountain pine beetle populations. An additional five hectares of forest will be modified to FireSmart guidelines to further protect facilities in the Bow Valley from potential wildfire.

Moose Meadows: Located 26 km west of Banff townsite on the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1-A), this 100 hectare prescribed fire will assist in mitigating the spread of wildfires in the Bow Valley, and will assist in the maintenance and restoration of native grassland habitat important to wildlife such as bears, ungulates and wolves.

Smoke Information
Those with medical conditions (e.g. asthma, chronic bronchitis) or severe smoke sensitivities may wish to receive notification in advance of prescribed fire operations. To be added to the Banff National Park smoke sensitive list, please call 403-760-0934 or email fire.info@pc.gc.ca

More information on upcoming prescribed fires in the mountain national parks



Visitor Centre Hours Change After Labour Day



Banff Information Centre (224 Banff Avenue)
September 6, 2016 to June 16, 2017: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Banff Information Kiosk (327 Railway Avenue)
September 6, 2016 to June 16, 2017: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Lake Louise Information Centre (Samson Mall)
September 6 to October 10, 2016: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
October 11, 2016 to April 30, 2017: (Thurs-Sun) 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m


Shuttle Service to Moraine Lake 
Downloadable version (PDF, 1.4 MB)

Free public shuttle

Weekends from September 10 to 25, 2016 - A free public shuttle runs to the Moraine Lake area just in time for larch season. Pick up and drop off is from Lake Louise Overflow Camping, 5.5 km east of Lake Louise. Ride and relax!

Parks Canada is pleased to be working toward comprehensive public transit in the Lake Louise area.


Do not feed any wildlife

Do not feed any wildlife

Parks Canada needs your help in sharing this information.

Do not feed wildlife in the national park. It’s for their safety and yours.

Maximum fine for anyone feeding wildlife is $25,000.

Please report all incidents of wildlife feeding in Banff National Park to Banff Dispatch at 403-762-1470.

Every little bit helps. Thank you.