One of the best excursions in Banff is a trip up Sulphur Mountain via the Banff Gondola. After soaring to the top of the mountain, 2,281 metres above sea level, you’ll be surrounded by six scenic mountain ranges. These 360 degree views also include the breathtaking town of Banff, the Bow River and many lakes off into the distance.
Here are the reasons why the Banff Gondola is the perfect family activity while visiting the Canadian Rockies.
Free Shuttle from Downtown
Parking at the base of the Gondola is limited. We highly suggest taking the free shuttle that leaves from the Elk & Avenue Hotel in downtown Banff and drops you right at the base of the mountain. From May to October, the shuttle runs from 9am-6pm and departs every 20 minutes. This quick 10 minute shuttle ride allows you to beat the parking headache and delivers you right to the ticketing office and gondola loading area.
Learn all about the history of Banff, the animals found in the area, mountain weather patterns and how to be a good visitor while in Banff National Park. Stop by and have a chat with one of the interpretive guides and have a hands on look at some bear fur and footprint castings. Learn about a few of the local bears and how they change and adapt to the summer and winter seasons.
Make sure you grab a “Rocky Mountain Adventure” activity booklet for the kids when you arrive. It’s full of hands on learning that will facilitate their experience in the interpretive Centre and along the boardwalk. The kids get to pretend to be explorers and will have a great time going around collecting stamps.
Cafe and Restaurant
Stop in and grab a bite to eat at either the Northern Lights cafe or the Sky Bistro. Burgers, sandwiches, pizza and salads can be found at the cafe and three course dining can be enjoyed at the bistro. Both have spectacular views, you feel like you are dining at the top of the world!
Make sure you visit the theatre and watch the short 10 minute film. It showcases incredible arial footage of the landscapes, wildlife and outdoor adventures that are found in Banff and the surrounding area.
Follow the 500 metre long boardwalk that takes you to the old weather and cosmic ray station. It’s a short walk that will give you a different perspective and view as you look down at the town of Banff and out over the surrounding mountains. Keep your eyes open for wildlife as mountain goats are often seen perched on the rocky slopes.
Soak in the Hot Springs
End your day with a soak in the Banff Upper Hot Springs. Located at the opposite end of the main gondola parking lot, it’s an easy walk once you disembark from your gondola experience. These are the highest operating hot springs in Canada, at 1,585 metres elevation. So bring your suits in your backpack so you can take a nice relaxing dip. It’s a wonderful way to unwind at the end of the day.
The Banff Gondola is the perfect addition to your Rocky Mountain experience.
Both the Glacier Skywalk and Banff Gondola are operated by Pursuit . We highly recommend purchasing your tickets and booking your tour time for both attractions in advance. Not only will buying a combo ticket save you money, but then your time will be guaranteed and you won’t have to wait hours to visit either attraction.
It can be quite a bit cooler and windy at the top of the gondola, we suggest packing layers!
Bring your reusable water bottles, there are fill stations in the gift shop at the bottom of the gondola and up at the top too!
Are you booking a trip to the Rocky Mountains? These articles are sure to help plan your next adventures!
I am a family adventure writer sharing stories about solo and family adventures. I’m an outdoor enthusiast and you’ll find me regularly hiking, biking or boarding, often with my children by my side. I believe in lifelong learning, following your passion and living life to the fullest every day.