The Banff Gondola in the Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, Alberta is one of the top attractions in the area. The gondola takes visitors to the top of Sulphur Mountain from where you can look across six mountain ranges.
The gondola travels 698 meters and takes you to an elevation of 2,281 meters above sea level to the Summit Upper Terminal where there are 360° views. At its highest point the gondola is 38 meters above ground level.
The journey takes 8 minutes and visitors sit in a fully enclosed gondola car which can hold up to 4 passengers. There are 40 individual gondola cars in all. This is the only bi-cable gondola in Canada.
On the way up you are likely to see some of the local wildlife below including the bighorn sheep, golden-mantled ground squirrel and the Canada grey jay bird.
Once you reach the top you are able to partake in a number of activities and use several observation points. You can exit the Summit Upper Terminal, or remain inside and visit the restaurant on an upper level and another level up you reach the observation deck.
On the roof top of the Summit Terminal Complex is the Interactive Giant Compass which you can use to locate the distance between the peak and your home city. The entire Summit Terminal is wheelchair accessible.
If you decide to exit the building you can go on the 1km Banff Summit Walk which takes you along the summit ridge where there are interpretive stations so you can learn about the sights down below. The walkway leads to the Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site of Canada and the Historic Sanson's Peak Meteorological Station. For a more strenuous hike take the South East Ridge Trail along the mountain's southern ridge to the real summit of Sulphur Mountain.
For something extra special come see the Banff Gondola Alpine Lights from December 22nd to October 19th (C$54.95 adults, C$30 kids). The deal includes your gondola ride and an Alberta beef prime rib dinner as you watch the night lights in the towns and mountains down below.
It is open year round from 8am/10am to 6pm/8pm/9pm depending on the season. The gondola is closed for annual maintenance from January 7th to 18th. A ride on the Gondola costs C$34.95 for adults and C$16.95 for kids (6-15 years), under 5s travel for free.