Banff Gondola – A Premier Attraction

A couple of years ago I was in Banff Alberta during my road trip through the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Despite everybody telling me that I just had to take the Banff gondola up Sulphur Mountain, I absolutely had no plans or desire to go up that mountain on the gondola! With so many other things to do and see in Banff National Park, I just wasn’t sure if the Banff gondola was for me. I made a last-minute decision to give the gondola a whirl. After-all, the Banff Gondola is Banff’s premier attraction. I’m so glad I changed my mind and took the gondola up Sulphur Mountain, I had a blast!!!

Banff Gondola – Oh What A Ride

I was visiting the Banff Gondola alone I am terrified of heights, however, I have always believed that in order to live and enjoy life to the fullest you have to overcome your fears and escape your comfort zone. This one was a real achievement even for me!

Thinking will not overcome your fear.  Just do the moto of a solo traveller

By the time I was half way up the mountain in the cable car, I was mesmerized by the beauty surrounding me and completely oblivious to the fact that I was over 7,486 feet in the air. I hadn’t even realized and any fears that I had were now in the rearview mirror. I just couldn’t get enough of the breath-taking scenery of Bow Valley so far below me. I was even able to see the Town of Banff in the distance. I had never seen anything like it before.

The Banff Gondola is a premier attraction in BAnff which takes you 7,486 feet up Sulphur Mountain in Banff, Alberta

Riding the Banff Gondola 7,486 feet up Sulphur Mountain

Reaching the Top of Sulphur Mountain

Once reaching the end of the gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain, there is a short video that you can watch if you so choose.  I passed, as I just wanted to get back outside to admire the views from an elevation of 7,486 feet.  The beauty was second to none and you can see for miles on end.  When you disembark the gondola, you will enter a gift shop and this is also where dining is available. But I wasn’t done yet, the mountain had another 600 feet to climb (all done by stairs)to reach the summit, and of course I had to get as high as possible!

If you choose not to climb further, not to worry, you will still be able to see and appreciate the incredible beauty. However, if you choose to continue to the summit, you will ascend above the tree line and you will be rewarded with the most incredible views around.  There are benches along the way if you need to take a rest, or if you just want to sit and admire your surroundings.

I would recommend wearing warmer clothing, as the higher the altitude, the colder and windier it gets.  This is also true during the summer months.

There is a reason why the Banff gondola is considered to be one of Banff’s premier attractions and in my opinion, this is a must do attraction when visiting Banff. 

Taking the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain was by far one of the highlights of my trip to Banff National Park, and I am so glad that I decided to set aside my fears and take the plunge.  Next time, I will hike up, as I understand that it is a fairly easy hike that takes an hour and a half to two hours.


Hiking Sulphur Mountain

The trail leading up Sulphur Mountain is 10.1 kilometers in length up and back having an elevation gain of 744 meters (2,440.94 feet).  If you hike up and back down the mountain, you can expect the hike to take between 2 – 3 hours. Although the hike is rated as being moderate, beginner hikers shouldn’t have a difficult time doing this hike either as there are many switchbacks making the incline not to steep.

If you do decide to hike up you also have to be prepared to hike down as you can’t take the gondola. Only the people taking the gondola have access to the restrooms. It does get cooler as you gain elevation, so make sure that you have packed the proper hiking gear.

Where Can I Find the Banff Gondola?

The Banff Gondola is located in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, at the base of Sulphur Mountain. There is a free Banff Gondola shuttle which runs from downtown Banff from May to October. A full bus schedule, including times, can be found here.

Directions to the Banff Gondola from downtown Banff,

When is the Best Time to Visit the Banff Gondola?

The Banff Gondola operates year round. The time of year you choose to visit is a matter of personal preference. My favorite time is during the Fall as it’s the perfect spot to view the Fall foliage. It is recommended to visit before noon or after 5:00 p.m. in order to avoid the crowds. The last gondola ride ascends 30 minutes prior to closing, and the last gondola ride descends at closing.

Banff, Alberta makes for the perfect solo getaway destination and the Banff gondola is one adventure that you won’t want to miss when visiting Banff National Park in Canada.  It is worth every penny.

There is definitely a reason why the Banff Gondola is considered to be one of Banff’s premier attraction and they book up fast! You can reserve your spot to ride the gondola here.


Kelly xoxo


56 thoughts on “Banff Gondola – A Premier Attraction

  1. josypheen

    The views look fabulous! Now you have got over your fears once, do you think you’d be okay on other gondolas as well? There are soo many good options for this in Canada. 🙂

    I quite like the idea of hiking up, then taking the gondola back down again to save my knees. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. cdupe16

    Love this view so much! We went to Banff a few years ago and bought tickets for the gondola beforehand. When we got there, Banff was so smoky due to the nearby forest fires 😦 When we got to the top, we couldn’t really see much. I’ve been wanting to go back so bad!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Caroline

    My mom is not a big hiker so this is such a good option for her – she can still experience being in nature and the mountains without having to hike. I guess the view really helped you “forget” your fear of heights for a little while 🙂 Bravo on getting over your fear! Win win – a nice day out and you overcame a fear.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Krista

    Going on the Banff gondola looks like an amazing experience. The views you get during the ride are stunning. I’ve made sure to add this to my list when I eventually make it to the west coast!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kristy

    I didn’t realize I had a fear of heights until our family took a ride on the Heavenly Gondola in Tahoe, but I’d still like to add this to our list! Such a great way for people of all ages and abilities to experience the beauty of the mountains.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      I completely agree with you. I honestly had never thought about the elderly and people with disabilities missing out on the opportunity to see the world from the top of a mountain. A gondola is the perfect way to do this!


  6. Ramya

    I am so happy to know that you not only challenged your fears but also overcome them. This is definitely an achievement. The view is awesome and I can imagine at that height, how breathtaking the scenery would have looked. It is like a memory for a lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Aradhana Bakshi

    Stepping outside of one’s comfort zone is the greatest reward one can give to himself/herself. The Banff National Park makes for a scenic yet challenging hike. I would love to hike up to the peaks myself! Your post reminded me of the cable car ride I took in Timber Trail, Parwanoo which is up North in India! The sulphur mountains look so pristine, absolutely gorgeous, am sure its pretty windy up there! Somehow, also reminded me of the mountain reference in the movie ‘The Bucketlist’..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Melissa

    That scenery is stunning! I’m glad you decided to overcome your fears and do it anyways. I have been working on this myself and find that the best experiences come that way! I want to visit Banff so bad and this would definitely be on my list.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. executivethrillseeker

    This has been on our radar for the last few years since the boom of posts on Instagram. When would you say is the best time of year to visit this part of Canada for a month or so?!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Renata

    Fun read – could be me! Around the time when I turned 30, I realized a sensation of fear of heights. Unfortunately, it grew bigger and bigger and I got more and more anxious – on summits, but also in gondolas. I couldn’t enjoy beautiful views from above since I was too busy not to faint. But what can I say, twenty years later, all of a sudden I realize that this stupid acrophobia is going away – not completely, but for instance, gondola rides don’t scare me one bit anymore!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. kavitafavelle

    I don’t think the Gondola was built when I visited Banff (several decades ago) but I wish it had been, it really looks like an incredible way to enjoy the Sulphur mountain and views. I’m scared of heights but do still love cable cars!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Travel See Write

    I have been dying to visit the Banff National Park and I keep seeing such lovely posts about it every now and then. I love the panoramic pictures you too. I will for sure take the Banff gondola ride. Like you said it will be worth every penny spent.


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