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Long weekend rush: Calgarians flock to the mountains - but are the mountains ready for them?

Steve and Jan Fleischmann, along with their daughter Ellie, were looking forward to their trip to Banff.

They live in Chicago but come to Alberta's Rockies whenever they can.

"We've been here before and love it," says Steve, "We were supposed to come last year - we didn't because of COVID so we did it this year."

The Fleischmanns say they were counting on the nice weather and beautiful summer.

What they didn't expect was the crowds.

"Banff is crazy," Steve said. "We just got back from Lake Louise  that was nuts. There are a lot of people in our boat trying to get back to taking vacations."

It didn't take long for traffic to slow down west of Calgary Friday, as people headed to Banff National Park, resulting in a backlog of traffic at the park gates.

While the lengthy lineups may have surprised tourists, park officials expected them.

"We've definitely seen a lot of people come out to enjoy Banff National Park and we expected another busy long weekend," says Daniella Rubeling with Parks Canada, "August is typically our busiest long weekend so we expect nothing less this weekend."

That means people who didn't plan ahead for their trip may be out of luck when it comes to finding a place to stay, a place to sleep, maybe even a place to eat.

"We do encourage everyone to make sure they make reservations whether that's camping reservations, restaurants or other accommodations," said Rubeling.

Jan Fleischmann said getting to the back country wasn't pleasant, but once they arrived, the vacation really began,

"It's just beautiful," she said, "We are so lucky we got here - the weather and people are so nice, it's just been a blast." Top Stories

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