When you make the trip to Banff National Park in Canada, a ride on the Banff Gondola, just five minutes outside of Banff town, is not to be missed. This fantastic sightseeing excursion allows visitors to experience the unbelievable span of the Canadian Rocky Mountains from the comfort of a lofty perch, the perfect setting in which to appreciate this vast expanse of nature.
Upon entering your private Banff Gondola cabin, you can enjoy 360 degree views from the enclosing windows as you move smoothly and safely up towards the summit: an awe-inspiring 2,281 meters above sea level. The comfortable eight-minute ride is the perfect opportunity to take pictures, look for wildlife in the wooded areas down below, or simply sit back and relax as the majestic surroundings pass you by.
The swift Banff Gondola ride shuttles you to the top of Sulphur Mountain, where you can explore Banff National Park from a loftier perspective. For unparalleled 360 degree views head towards the large observation deck that wraps around the visitor center. Looking down over the landscape, an unexpected perspective closes in, as the surrounding town of Banff and Bow Valley become miniscule amongst the great Rocky Mountains. You yourself shrink back to a small being apart of a much greater thing. Further exploration along one of the many hiking trails or by walking along the Banff Skywalk—a well-constructed 1 km wooden pathway that leads along the summit ridge of Sulphur Mountain, might bring you face-to-face with bighorn sheep as venture to the edge of neighbouring Sanson Peak.
Each visit ends with a final trip on the Banff Gondola, this time heading back down towards the next stage your nature exploration. Gliding along the cables through the stillness of the forest below, you can reflect amongst the magnificent mountain vistas and be thankful for places like Banff National Park where nature still reigns supreme.
The Sulphur Mountain Gondola is open year-round, but each season offers visitors a completely different experience, so keep that in mind when planning your trip.
The best time of year to ride the gondola is between May and September. A visit in the spring or summer will offer clear views of the Rocky Mountains and the surrounding lakes, perfect warm weather and great hiking.
If you're looking to escape the crowds, consider the Banff Gondola in late September and October when the autumn colours and changing seasons add a special touch to the scenery. For the classic mountain-top experience, a trip in the winter to see the snow-capped peaks will be just as rewarding.
Odds n' Ends
If you're able to tear yourself away from the incredible views, it is worthwhile to check out two historical sites at the top of Sulphur Mountain.
The first is the meteorological station of mountain namesake Norman Bethune Sanson, who was one of the first pioneers to attempt climbing these peaks (and did so successfully for an impressive thirty years). The second is the intriguing Cosmic Ray Station of Canada, which was part of an international scientific research project in the late 1950s.
Looking for the best things to do in Banff National Park? Visit the Canadian Rockies and the Banff Gondola to see more mountains in a moment than most see in a lifetime. Ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff, Canada to experience a bird's eye view of six mountain ranges. This exhilarating activity is open year-round - a definite 'must-do' on your Banff National Park - Banff Gondola trip to the Canadian Rockies.
The Summit Restaurant is a self-serve restaurant, which seats up to 160 guests and offers a magnificent view of Banff and the Bow Valley. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available without a reservation. The Summit Restaurant operates on the same schedule as the Gondola.
The Regal View Garden Restaurant, which opened in 2006, is located one level above the Summit Restaurant and seats up to 200 visitors. Seating in the atrium area offers guests a breathtaking view of the Canadian Rockies. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily throughout the summer months from June to September.
Tucked away above a small resort town amid beautiful alpine scenery, the Banff Upper Hot Springs is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the incredible mountain views of Banff National Park. Discovered in 1884 by settlers, the streams that formed the Banff Upper Hot Springs were once considered to have sacred healing powers by Natives in the area. These naturally-heated mineral-rich waters come from deep within the appropriately named Sulphur Mountain, and are enjoyed by visitors from all over the world. Today, the ancient waters of the Banff Upper Hot Springs are fed into a large modern pool which ...2 miles away.
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