Located some 5km south of town, this 698m-long gondola takes scores of Banff visitors up busy Sulphur Mountain (2281m), to enjoy immense panoramas, get a taster of some high-Alpine hiking and a glimpse into the remote backcountry.
Summit infrastructure includes observation decks and an okay restaurant.
From here the 1km Summit Ridge Trail leads you a little higher, while the short Vista Trail takes you to the old weather station on Sanson Peak. It’s named after Norman Betheune Sanson, the first curator of the Banff Park Museum, who between 1903 and 1931 hiked up the mountain over a thousand times to take weather readings. You’ll marvel at this feat if you follow his footsteps up the steep 6km Sulphur Mountain hiking trail (moderate – 2hrs one way – 655m elevation gain), but at least you can ride the gondola back down for half-price. The trailhead lies in the gondola parking lot.
However you get there, try to visit the peak in the early morning or evening, when wildlife sightings are more likely, the low light gives the mountains a sculpted look, and crowds are thinnest.