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Destination Canada


The vast expanse of the Rocky Mountains stretches not above you, but around you. It is a perspective you haven’t experienced before. Your gaze levels with the towering peaks that a few minutes ago had loomed far overhead. The sweet scent of wildflowers lingers on the light breeze, warmed by the sun. A high-pitched whistle in the distance catches your attention; a local resident of the mountain, the ever-curious marmot, was warning others of your presence. Up here, immersed in the rugged peaks and alpine meadows, you feel so wonderfully alive.  

If you desire the unforgettable bird’s eye views of Banff & Lake Louise without the physicality or time required of a strenuous hike, then take a seat and soar into the alpine in a gondola. On a clear day, taking a gondola is a great activity for families, groups, and couples. Once up top, savour the sweeping vistas, explore the many hiking opportunities, or relax with a meal on the roof of the Rockies. 

There are four sightseeing gondolas and chairlifts in Banff & Lake Louise: the Banff Sightseeing Gondola at Sulphur Mountain, the Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola at Lake Louise Ski Resort, the Sunshine Gondola and Standish Chairlift at Sunshine Village Ski Resort, and the Banff Sightseeing Chairlift at Mt Norquay. Each offers a unique experience.

Banff Sightseeing Gondola

Floating its way up Sulphur Mountain, the Banff Sightseeing Gondola is located five minutes’ drive from the town of Banff. The eight minute ride takes guests to a lofty altitude of 2,281 metres (7,486 feet) in cabins that seat up to four people. Once at the top, enjoy the restaurants, cafes, short hiking trails and new interpretive centre. If you are feeling adventurous, walk along the ridge line of Sulphur Mountain to see the Cosmic Ray Station, a historic site of Canada built to study cosmic rays.

The Banff Gondola offers an easy, year round way for visitors to see breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, the Bow Valley and the town of Banff.banffandbeyond.com

Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola

Part of the Lake Louise Ski Resorts array of ski lifts, the gondola also takes sightseers into the alpine to experience the expansive beauty. From the top at 2,088 metres (6,850 feet) elevation, gaze upon the stunning views of Victoria Glacier or take an award winning interpretive tour to learn more about the area’s natural history and wildlife. 

If you’re looking to hike, Lake Louise offers an extensive network of hiking trails for all ability levels, ranging from short walks to all day excursions. Many visitors also remark upon the wildlife that can be seen from Lake Louise, and it is not unheard of to see grizzly bears grazing right under the gondola’s path.

Sunshine Village gondola

The 8-person Sunshine Village gondola and Standish quad chairlift are open for sightseeing each weekend (Friday to Sunday) and on all long weekends Mondays. Ride the Standish lift to over 2,400 m (7,875 feet) and experience 360 degree views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. From there, catch even more breathtaking scenery from the Standish viewpoint platform or connect to the Sunshine Meadows hiking trails--12 km of trails connecting to three high-alpine lakes; Larynx, Grizzly and Rock Isle. 

Banff Sightseeing Chairlift

The sightseeing chairlift at Norquay takes guests on an open air ride to the summit of Mount Norquay. Enjoy the unique perspective of the Bow Valley as you explore the network of viewing platforms, walking trails and restaurants. For the particularly daring, take on Mt Norquay’s gripping Via Ferrata adventures to climb even higher up the mountain on a series of metal rungs and ladders. 

[This] is the same chairlift that Marilyn Monroe took in the summer of 1953, while filming 'A River Of No Return'The Real Banff Blog

Many hotels and tour operators offer package deals for meals, gondola admission, and tours. Gondolas remain open in the winter for sightseeing, however, be sure to dress warmly and pick a clear day! It is recommended to dress warmly, even in the summer – the air is cooler at altitude.

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