Last Updated on February 1, 2023
If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience while in Banff, look no further than the Banff Gondola. This attraction takes visitors to the top of Sulphur Mountain, where you can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area. Whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for some breathtaking scenery, a ride on the Banff Gondola is definitely worth your time!
Table Of Contents
- Where Is Banff?
- Banff Gondola Ride
- Incredible Views Of Several Peaks
- Many Viewing Options From The Interpretive Center
- Above Banff Interpretive Centre
- Know Before You Go
- Is It Safe To Ride The Banff Gondola?
- Banff Gondola Tickets
- What To Wear Up Sulphur Mountain
- Hike Up And Ride The Banff Gondola Down
Where Is Banff?
Banff is located in the Canadian Rockies, within Alberta’s spectacular Rocky Mountain Parks. It is surrounded by majestic mountain peaks. Banff National Park is well known for its stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, and thrilling outdoor activities. Visitors can explore glaciers, alpine meadows, and turquoise lakes, as well as take part in activities such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking, cycling, kayaking, and more.
Banff Gondola Ride
It takes 8 minutes from the bottom of the gondola to the mountain’s peak, and the climb is comparable to flying. It is especially fun when the gondola first gets going and picks up speed. Our kids had their hands in the air, screaming with joy.
Below you the Bow River Valley stretches out in a magnificent panorama of gushing water and jagged mountain peaks.
The summit is 698m above the valley floor, and once you arrive at the peak, you’ll be 2,281 meters above sea level.
Incredible Views Of Several Peaks
“It’s like you can see the whole world from up here!” exclaimed our seven-year-old Sadie, in complete awe, as we walked out to the lowest viewing deck to breathtaking views.
Even at first glance, it’s easy to see why she would think that.
The interpretive center provides a different perspective and sweeping views of six mountain ranges you constantly look up at; with Sulphur Mountain, you’re finally level with them. You’ll also get great views of the Bow Valley and the picturesque town of Banff. Not only can you directly see ahead of you to these other destinations, but also those far beyond in almost every direction. On a clear day, the views are sure to blow your mind!
Many Viewing Options From The Interpretive Center
Take the opportunity to see the incredible views from the different levels of the Interpretive center, both inside and out. Do not miss the breathtaking 360-degree rooftop observation deck.
Above Banff Interpretive Centre
The new, cutting-edge Above Banff Interpretive Center takes the incredible variety of activities in Banff National Park to a whole new level. The center provides a great way for the whole family to enjoy themselves through plaques full of information, kid-friendly interactive elements, and self-guided activities.
Above Banff Theatre
The new multi-sensory Above Banff Theatre is included in your gondola ticket. Soar over the Canadian Rockies from the perspective of a fierce bald eagle. The short movie conveys how Banff has developed over time, and it leaves you with a compelling message: We need to do all we can to preserve this place for future generations.
There are a lot of alternatives if you’re hungry at the top of Sulphur Mountain, from a fast meal to an unforgettable three-course dinner that will fuel you up for a hike or help you wind down after your adventure. There are two summit restaurants, Sky Bistro and Northern Lights Alpine Kitchen. There’s also the Peak Patio, as well as a quick grab-and-go cafe.
Sanson Peak Via The Boardwalk Trail
If you’re feeling ambitious, there is a gentle boardwalk trail along the ridges that will take you to the Cosmic Ray Station and Sanson Peak as you explore the history of Banff and you soak in the 360-degree views around you. It is worth the time and effort for the views! It is an easy 30-minute walk along the elevated boardwalk.
Know Before You Go
- Use The Free Shuttle To The Banff Gondola. Save yourself the headache and take advantage of the complimentary shuttle from downtown Banff to the Gondola. Peak season parking can be a nightmare, so avoid it altogether by taking the shuttle. You’ll be glad you did.
- Parking is free, but you must have a valid Parks Canada permit for the duration of your stay.
- Watch your hat! We saw a couple of people lose theirs as the wind picked them up off their heads and floated them to where they were unretrievable.
- Tickets are timed. You cannot board a gondola until ten minutes before your ticketed time. We found that we did not have enough time at the top, so if you’re walking the boardwalk, dining, or taking part in any of the other sights, you will want to alter your downloading time (ride down).
- The gondola is located next to the Banff Upper Hot Springs, so you can plan to relax in the hot springs after your adventure!
- If you want to avoid crowds, the best times are before noon or after 5 PM.
- The interpretive center is entirely wheelchair accessible, but the viewing deck and boardwalk are not.
Is It Safe To Ride The Banff Gondola?
The Banff Gondola undergoes a strenuous maintenance program and all the lift safety systems are checked every morning before opening. Because safety is their number one priority, tests and inspections are carried out on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis.
Banff Gondola Tickets
The Banff Gondola uses a variable pricing model for its lift tickets.
The earlier you purchase your tickets, the cheaper they will be. The price also varies depending on what day of the week you plan to go. Additionally, weekends are generally more expensive than weekday visits. The cost of a same-day ticket is more, but you pay the same price for the entire day, regardless of when you go.
Having different ticket prices depending on the day or time of year helps people visit more often, and prevents overcrowding when everyone wants to come at once.
We saw tickets anywhere between $49 and $67 at the time of this post.
What To Wear Up Sulphur Mountain
You will find that in the Canadian Rockies, the weather is unpredictable and can go from balmy summer temperatures to freezing rain or snow within a short time frame. The temperature at the top of the Banff Gondola is always several degrees lower than what it is at the bottom. So, whatever the weather, bring clothes that you can layer and that dry quickly.
Hike Up And Ride The Banff Gondola Down
If you’re interested in adding a hike to your adventure, you can hike one way, and ride the Gondola the other way.
Depending on your fitness and the state of the trail, the trek may take between 1.5 and 3 hours to complete. The trail is approximately 5.5 km long and is a well-marked switchback style trail, beginning in the parking lot of the Banff Upper Hot Springs.
The Banff Gondola offers a one-way trip down for half the regular price of admission, during regular operating hours. However, a full-price ticket is required if you would like to take the Banff Gondola up and hike down.
A ride on the Banff Gondola is a great way to see the Canadian Rockies from above. The views are stunning, and there is so much to do at the top.
The Banff Gondola is open year-round, so you can enjoy the views no matter what time of year you visit. Whether you’re looking for a winter wonderland or summertime fun, the Banff Gondola has something for everyone!
Be sure to plan your trip in advance, and dress for the weather! You won’t regret it.
Disclaimer: Our visit was hosted by Pursuit Collection, but our opinions are our own.
Love it? Pin it for later!