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Banff National Park

Information for Visitors

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A number of roads and facilities in Banff National Park are under construction. For information and to help plan your trip, please visit: Construction Projects

Order your free 2017 Discovery pass now!

Admission to Canada's National Parks, Historic Sites and Marine Conservation Areas is free for 2017. Order your Discovery Pass Now
As Canada's gift to you, the 2017 Discovery Pass will provide free admission for the entire year to Parks Canada places from coast-to-coast to coast!

Order now

  • You only need to order one pass for your group or family if you are all travelling together. A 2017 Discovery Pass is valid for everyone arriving in the same vehicle at a national park, or arriving together at a marine conservation area or historic site.
  • The Discovery Pass is only accepted at national historic sites which are operated by Parks Canada.
  • Activities such as tours or parking that normally carry a separate fee may not be covered by the Discovery Pass.
  • Camping fees are not included with the Discovery Pass
  • Validity Period: January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017.

Bow Valley Parkway Mandatory Seasonal Travel Restriction


The Bow Valley Parkway, a 48-kilometre, scenic, secondary highway paralleling the Trans-Canada Highway between the town of Banff and the village of Lake Louise, is a naturally and historically rich area of Banff National Park, and a year-round scenic heritage experience. Its eastern portion travels through a small but vital part of the park, called the montane, that provides critical habitat for large carnivores, including wolves, cougars and bears.

From March 1st to June 25th, travel is not permitted between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. on the 17-kilometre section of the parkway from Johnston Canyon Campground to the Fireside Picnic Area. This is to ensure the area remains a high quality home for wildlife.

All businesses and commercial accommodations remain open during this mandatory travel restriction and are easily accessible by driving the Trans-Canada Highway and exiting at Castle Junction.

Protecting wildlife is the foundation of a great visitor experience and sustainable future for Banff National Park. This mandatory travel restriction will allow sensitive wildlife to move unimpeded across the landscape, use high-quality habitat, and engage in normal behaviour. It is part of a larger action plan to ensure the ecologically and culturally rich Bow Valley Parkway area continues as a world-class setting for visitors to learn about and experience the park, and as a safe and secure environment for wildlife.

Winter Share the Trail Campaign

A new online and print edition of "Winter Trails in the Banff Area" is available now. The new guide recommends trails for winter visitors to the Banff area, based on their chosen activity. If you are winter hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or fat biking, specific trails are highlighted for you. A smaller publication specific to the Spray River trails provides more detail on how to "Share the Trail" in this popular area. Some segments of the Spray River West trail have been designated for skiers only. Segments of the Spray River East and Goat Creek trails have been groomed to better accommodate fat bikers and snowshoers. The 3 km Spray Connector loop continues to be a multi-use trail accommodating all users on a wide, groomed surface. Signs on the trails remind visitors how to share the trail with symbols and illustrations.

For information or to provide feedback on the Winter Share the Trail Campaign, please contact 

Johnston Canyon Trail Parking

Work on additional parking for the Johnston Canyon trail is now complete. If the original parking lot, signed as "P1" is full, follow the signs to park in P2 and then enjoy a short walk along a designated trail that follows Johnston Creek to the Johnston Canyon trailhead. Using designated parking lots is safer and more convenient than parking on the shoulder of the Bow Valley Parkway, especially in winter.

White-tailed ptarmigan at Bow Lake

White-tailed ptarmigan

Did you know that ptarmigan burrow under the snow to keep warm? Please snowshoe around the Bow Lake lakeshore only. Leave the meadows and the parking area for ptarmigan. They need some soft, undisturbed snow for winter shelter. Thank you! 

Mountains 101: a free online learning experience

Parks Canada is proud to partner with the University of Alberta, a leader in education and research, to support Mountains 101: Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that will provide a comprehensive overview of mountain studies.

Mountains 101 will inspire Canadians to learn and explore Canada’s mountain heritage throughout the country (including mountain national parks) and to understand how Parks Canada protects, conserves and shares these special places.

To register or for more information, go to the University of Alberta Mountains 101 course web page.

Fall/Winter Fuel Reduction Work


This fall and winter, Parks Canada fire management personnel have thinned and limbed trees and bushes at select locations in Banff National Park. Thinning will help reduce the risk of wildfire to communities and facilities.

The Baker Creek Mountain Resort, Mosquito Creek Hostel and Rampart Creek Hostel FireSmart projects are all now complete. Pile burning for the Mt. Norquay fuel management project is currently underway. Piles will be monitored by fire management staff. The Fenland Day Use Area and Trail fuel management project is underway and is expected to be completed by March 31st.
For more information on FireSmart and fuel management projects in the national parks .

Seasonal Road Closures

Moraine Lake

The following roads are closed to vehicular traffic for the season:

Lake Moraine
Tunnel Mountain Drive
The west-end of the Minnewanka Road

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

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.