The Banff Gondola is an absolute must-see/must-do thing when you’re visiting Banff National Park. I’ve been up the gondola many times in my life and the views never get old. What I’d never done until recently, though, is head up the mountain in the evening!
This summer, I took a trip up the Banff Gondola for the Banff Gondola Sunset Festival! I was excited to visit Sulphur Mountain in the evening to see what it would be like and I wasn’t disappointed! To be honest, this might be my favorite time to visit Sulphur Mountain. It was far less busy than during the day and being able to see the valley at sunset was incredible!
Watch + See
Check out my experience at the Banff Gondola here! I share what it’s like going up and down the mountain, some of the spectacular views from the top, my experience at the Sunset Festival and a TON of info for planning your trip to this attraction!
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A View From The Top
I had to share some photos with you from visiting the Banff Gondola at Sunset! Scroll through for gorgeous views and Banff travel tips!
Warning: These photos are absolutely real. I know the back drops don’t look real and trust me – when you’re there in person, the views are so breathtaking, you’ll swear they aren’t real, too!
There are plenty of photo opportunities here! The large number of lookout spots all around the top of the mountain provide a variety of backdrops, each unique and breathtaking.
Even when the rain looks like it’s coming in (luckily it was on its way out here!), it’s still spectacular up here! It is always cooler at the top of the mountain, and it does get cooler as the sun goes down, so I would pack a sweater or a light jacket.
Want to add some history to your trip up the Gondola? I suggest taking a short hike over to the old Weather Station that’s at the top of Sulphur Mountain! (it’s not as far as it looks!) All you need for this short hike is good walking shoes.
You’ll see plenty of folks taking photos of themselves with the scenery – it’s a great spot for family photos! This time of day is much less busy and the lighting is ideal!
This has to be one of my favorite views from the top of Sulphur Mountain! You can see the town of Banff, the Banff Springs Hotel + Golf Course, the Bow River, The Spray River and Lake Minnewanka…just to name a few of the sights!
I think one of my favorite parts of the Banff Gondola Sunset Festival is the local craft beer! Plus, you get to keep this souvenir mug with every beer you purchase! The glass railings on the terrace also make for unimpeded views of the scenery!
Looks like I’ve made a friend! The observation decks not only feature great scenery, but also some great Canadian artwork as well!
Want a better view? These viewers are sprinkled throughout the observation areas at the top of the Gondola so you can see some of the finer details of the scenery!
A little time lapse of the sunset in photographs…
The backside views that look opposite the town site are some of my favourites. It’s views like this that make me feel like I live in the most beautiful country in the world.
There’s just something about the way the sun comes through the clouds on the untouched wilderness.
The views and colours change almost by the minute!
Tips For Visiting The Banff Gondola Sunset Festival
Departure: I suggest either heading up the mountain before dinner and eating at the lodge up there, OR heading up around 7-7:30pm.
While You’re Up There: Explore the top of Sulphur Mountain and all of its observation decks. You’ll see some of the views I shared above plus a whole lot more.
The Sunset Festival: Head up to the rooftop terrace and grab a seat. Relax and enjoy the live music by local musicians. Grab a local craft beer or a glass of bubbly and a snack or two and take in the views all around. Enjoy the sunset in the Rockies before making your way back down the mountain!
Stare At The Sun: On the main observation deck, there is a solar telescope set up where you can safely look directly at the sun! It’s a really cool thing to experience!
Adding Additional Adventure: You can purchase one-way Gondola fares, so if you love to hike, I suggest hiking up the mountain trail (it’s just over 10km to the top), grabbing a beer at the Sunset Festival and then taking the Gondola back down the mountain afterwards!
What to Do If It Rains: You can’t predict the weather and if it happens to sprinkle on your day in Banff, don’t worry – you can still head up the Banff Gondola and enjoy the sunset festival! I just suggest packing a rain coat so you can still enjoy the outdoor observation areas. The rain shouldn’t impede the views, either!
Most of the Sunset Festival festivities will still be happening (with the exception of the telescope if it is too overcast). There will also be cozy blankets to keep warm with around fire pits while you enjoy the food, drink and live music!
Planning to Visit Banff?
Banff Gondola: Click here for prices, times and more information.
Gondola Tip: There’s a discount for Alberta residents who board after 5pm! This is perfect for attending the Banff Gondola Sunset Festival!