My afternoon in Banff National Park was the first time I had ever seen real mountains. We have some pretty tall, rocky cliffs in Newfoundland; stunning coastlines and vast hills covered in evergreen trees. Until my visit to Banff, these were my mountains. But upon leaving the city of Calgary and seeing the mountains that lined the horizon, still an hour-long drive away, I knew my mountains were about to change.
As I drove through the entrance to Banff National Park, I was absolutely speechless. I literally had no words. These mountains were absolutely breathtaking.
Unfortunately, my visit to Banff was a whirlwind trip (my whole trip to Alberta is a bit of a blur, actually), and we were only able to fit one afternoon there into our busy itinerary. We spent that one afternoon at Sulphur Mountain, riding the gondolas to the peak of the mountain. The gondolas are basically enclosed ski lifts that take you up 698 meters in eight minutes, to a total elevation of 2,281 meters. The peak of Sulphur Mountain offers incredible views of the town of Banff (which is so quaint!) and the surrounding mountain range. You may even get a glimpse of the big-horned mountain sheep!
A few tips about the Banff Gondola experience:
- Book in advance. We spent 2 hours waiting because we did not buy our tickets ahead of time, and trust me, you do not want to waste any time in this beautiful place.
- Bring a picnic. You are allowed to bring backpacks in the gondolas, so pack a picnic! They do have food at the top, but it was expensive.
- Do not forget a camera.
- Buy a one-way pass. Save money by purchasing a one-way pass either up or down in the gondola and hike the other way. There is a beautiful 5.5-kilometre hiking trail that takes you to the peak of Sulphur Mountain. This would be a great way to add to the adventure!
- Do not rush. Be mindful at the top of the mountain and really absorb your surroundings. Savour every single moment.
I regret not having more time in this incredible place. I can promise you all one thing: I will be back, and I intend on spending much, much longer there. Can you suggest anything I should do when I return? Let me know in the comments!