The Lake Louise Gondola is located at the Lake Louise Ski Resort in Western Canada is within the Banff National Park just 57km from Banff. The ski resort has 139 ski runs, Terrain Parks, ice skating facilities, dog sledding, cross-country ski trails and 4 lodges but the resort's gondola is an attraction which operates throughout the year.
A visit to the Lake Louis Sightseeing Lift, Gondola and Interpretive Center begins with an orientation presentation which covers important safety rules and information about the site. You can choose between a 4 person open chair lift and a fully enclosed gondola.
The journey to the top takes 14 minutes and brings you to 2088 meters above sea level. As you travel up in the gondola you'll see soaring peaks, spectacular scenery, glaciers, lakes, carpets of wild flowers, natural springs and you'll probably spot some of the local wildlife below.
The gondola is the perfect way to see the local Grizzly Bears in their natural surroundings. The bears are sighted almost every day by visitors riding the gondola. Other frequently spotted animals include cougars, lynx, mountain goats, elks, moose, wolverines and whitetail deer.
Informative theatre-style programs about the local nature and wildlife are offered throughout the day at the top of the lift and are included in the price of your gondola ride. The interpretive programs have been awarded the prize for "Best Natural Heritage Product/Service" by the Banff Heritage Bureau.
The programs include subjects like "Deer and Wolves and Bears Oh My!", "Living on the Edge" and "Lake Louise…The Making of a Famous Landscape." Also at the top of the mountain there are guided walks which lasts 45 minutes, are held at 11am, 1pm and 3pm daily and require an additional C$5.
The theme of the guided walks is "Trail of the Great Bear" and you can learn all about these local creatures and what you should do if you ever came face to face with one. It is possible to hike independently on the upper mountain but the usual safety precautions need to be heeded.
There is a special package called Up the Mountain & Down the River, this combines two great adventures, the gondola ride and a half-day whitewater or family rafting trip on Kicking Horse River and a meal. The package is available from 18th May to 29th September and costs C$113.85/C$100.25 for adults and C$100.60/C$70 for kids (minimum age 12 years old). The price depends on what type of rafting adventure you choose.
There are Dine & Ride packages where you enjoy a gondola ride and a meal at the nearby Lodge of the Ten Peaks or Powderkeg BBQ restaurant. Check the gondola website for offers like that at the Powderkeg where 2 kids eat for free when the parent orders an entrée. A standard gondola ticket costs C$28.75 for adults, C$14.25 for kids (6-15) and kids 5 and under go free.
If you're traveling with small kids and would rather take the gondola trip alone there is a professional daycare service next to the Lodge of Ten Peaks where they care for kids 18 days to 6 years old between 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday. Read more here.