Stunning mountain vistas sweep across the valley, their snow-dusted peaks grazing the horizon. Below, a blanket of colourful wildflowers brings the scene to life. If you're lucky, you may even spot the rocky mountain wildlife at home in their element high up in the alpine - a mountain goat, a marmot, or even the majestic grizzly. You take it all in with a breath of fresh mountain air, simultaneously calming and invigorating the soul.
Experiences like this are more accessible than you think. You don't have to venture too far off the beaten path for a unique alpine experience in Banff National Park - no scrambling or challenging hiking trails required. Here's how to do it.
1. Sightseeing Gondola at Banff Sunshine Village
This experience should be a summer adventure for every visitor to Banff. A journey in the colourful gondola cabins brings you high up into the alpine to Sunshine Meadows, sitting at 2,400m (8,000 ft). A network of well-maintained trails and a viewing platform allow you to take in 360-degree iconic views with ease. To push your exploration a little further, consider booking a guided walk to learn more about the area's surrounding mountains, wildlife, and history. If you time it just right, you can see the wildflowers in their prime!
2. Sightseeing Gondola at Lake Louise Ski Resort
A visit to Lake Louise Ski Resort is just as spectacular once the snow melts. This is one of the best spots to safely view wildlife - like grizzly bears, black bears, and lynx. After a chairlift ride brings you high up into the alpine, you can take your pick of backcountry adventure from there. Top it off with a meal and a beverage from one of the best patios in the park, with a front-row seat to views of majestic peaks and glistening glaciers. Their guided hikes are a must-do in autumn once the larch trees turn their golden hue.
3. Sightseeing Gondola at Mt. Norquay
In the summertime, a visit to Mt. Norquay is full of memorable moments - from the chairlift ride to the grand finale views. After hopping on the two-seater North American chairlift (the second motorized lift built in Canada), journey up to an elevation of 2,100 metres (7,000 feet) to the historic Cliffhouse Bistro. A short walk from here brings you to a viewing platform. Kick back in the Adirondack chairs for a breathtaking bird's eye view of Banff. Before heading back down, pop into the bistro for a spot of lunch. This retro 1950s tearoom with a modern spin serves the valley's best craft cocktails and charcuteries.
4. Guided Trip with Canadian Rockies Alpine Hiking
Looking to explore a little further? Consider joining a hike with a professional, certified hiking guide. Their background and expertise will help alleviate any trepidations in exploring the alpine on your own two feet. Canadian Rockies Alpine offers trips to suit every fitness level. Join an Introduction to Hiking trip for beginners or longer hikes on classic Canadian Rockies trails. Escape the crowds and experience the true beauty of Banff National Park up close and personal.