"This post contains affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you if you click on one of the product links, we may earn a commission."
Crystal and I aren’t very fond of gondola rides since we are both terrified of heights, but we somehow managed to make it through Lake Louise’s Gondola ride the day prior to our Banff Gondola ride. We were determined to overcome our fears since we made dinner reservations at Sky Bistro. We also wanted to experience the amazing sunset views on top of Sulphur Mountain.
We got really lucky with parking. We heard that the busiest times were between 11AM-3PM and we were arriving well past these hours. We thought it would be fine to drive our rental car instead of taking a shuttle. As we were approaching the parking lots, we were worried that we weren’t going to get a spot since traffic patrol was redirecting cars out of the lots.
We deiced to drive around another parking lot and got super lucky and grabbed the last remaining spot. We managed to squeeze our car into a tight spot that everyone else kept on passing. If we had known how difficult parking was going to be, we would have taken the free shuttle. For more information on the free shuttles, visit Banff Gondola’s getting here page.
After snagging the last parking spot, we headed to the Gondola Base. Luckily, Crystal made prior reservations online for the gondola ticket ($61 CAD), so we didn’t have to wait in a long line to purchase our tickets. Since we also made dinner reservations at Sky Bistro, we were able to get into the Express line and bypass the regular line. We definitely recommend purchasing your tickets online if you are certain of the day and time of your visit to the Banff Gondola. The gondola ride is about 8 minutes and it goes by pretty fast. It was a lot faster than the Lake Louise gondola ride and also felt more secure, so if you’re afraid of heights like us, this is definitely better to ride.
Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk & Rooftop Observation Deck
Once you arrive at the summit, there are plenty of activities both inside and outside. We had a little over an our until our dinner reservations at Sky Bistro, so we headed outside to the boardwalk. There were some maps and information about the national park and we discovered that Banff is actually a UNESCO site.
The rooftop observation deck had an amazing 360-degree view of Banff with plenty of open space. It was pretty chilly and breezy the day we went, so we were glad we dressed in our winter gear.
Since we were limited on time we opted not to take the hike to Sanson’s Peak, which was accessible from the boardwalk. If you want to head inside and stay somewhere warm, the “Above Banff” interpretive center provides family-friendly activities.
Dining at Sky Bistro
If you plan on eating at Sky Bistro, we highly recommend making reservations. The restaurant allows walk-ins but most likely, all the tables will be booked, so they will direct you to the bar area instead.
We really wanted a table next to a window with the views but all the tables were only two seaters. We were a party of four, so we had to sit a couple of tables away from the window, which was really disappointing. We still had great views of the mountain from our table but felt that it was unfair that we weren’t able to sit right next to the window like the others.
We later saw that the restaurant next door, Northern Lights, had 4-top tables next to the window, so if you have a larger group like us, you might want to look into dining here.
We ordered a variety dishes from the menu and most of the items were pretty good but there were a few of dishes that were just average like the Ancient Grain Risotto and the salads. We all enjoyed the Cauliflower Fritters and our friend loved his Alberta Bison Tenderloin. Crystal especially loved her Strawberry Shortcake dessert with sugared scone, strawberries and house whipped cream.
We had a great time exploring and dining at the summit of Sulphur mountain. It was pretty cloudy the night we went (mountain weather is so unpredictable!), so we assumed we wouldn’t be able to see the sunset we had hoped for, but as we were making our way back to the gondola, we noticed the sun setting in the distance behind the mountains. It was such a beautiful moment and the perfect ending to our night.