The birthplace of Canada's national park system, Banff was established in 1885 in the Canadian Rockies, within the western province of Alberta. Lonely Planet sums its scenic wonders up best, "Mountains, big mountains, are all over the place. Fast-flowing rivers chart their own course through the hills. Enormous glaciers flow down the peaks and nearly touch the road. Lakes are the color of turquoise, so blue that you have to wonder if there is something unnatural behind their hue."