Banff Gondola#2 in Best Things To Do in Banff
The Banff Gondola is a relaxing way to experience the town's natural beauty. The eight-minute ride to the summit of 7,500-foot Sulphur Mountain leads to breathtaking views of the Bow River Valley and Banff, not to mention a boardwalk, a handful of eateries, a gift shop, interactive interpretive exhibits, a multi-sensory theater and a 360-degree rooftop observation deck.
Recent visitors gushed about the views seen from the top of the mountain. And though they do bemoan the high ticket prices, they said it's worth the cost. One tip from travelers: wear layers. The temperatures at the base of the mountain can change drastically from the summit.
The Banff Gondola shuttles visitors up the mountain every day, although hours of operation fluctuate depending on the season. Generally, the gondola welcomes visitors from 8 or 9 a.m. to 8:30, 9:30 or 10:30 p.m. You'll find the gondola a little more than 2 miles south of the center of Banff Town. Admission is a bit steep: CA$62 (about $49) for adults ages 16 and older and CA$31 (approximately $25) for children between the ages of 6 and 15 (although kids ride free before noon). Kids 5 and younger always ride for free. If you purchase advance tickets, you can also save 10 percent on the admission price. You can also shave about half off your admission ticket by hiking up the mountain and taking the gondola down. Keep in mind: The gondola can get busy during the summer season; plan your visit before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. to avoid long lines. For more information, visit the Banff Gondola website.
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#1 Banff Sunshine Village
Located miles 11 miles west of Banff Town, Banff Sunshine Village offers 12 lifts, more than 3,300 skiable acres and a peak elevation of 7,200 feet. And thanks to its location straddling the Continental Divide, Sunshine sees more snow than its neighbors, meaning the ski season here is long – typically from early November to late May. The powdery terrain beckons skiers of all levels (another point of praise from recent travelers), and the Sunshine Mountain Lodge offers a great setting for dinner and drinks after a day on the slopes.
If you're not in Banff for ski season, you should still make a point to visit Sunshine, according to reviewers. From mid-June to early autumn, the Sunshine Meadows are open for hiking and provide visitors spectacular alpine views of the surrounding peaks, including Mount Assiniboine. Hiking is free and so is the shuttle from town, which runs from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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