Banff Jasper Collection
Stargazing at Banff Gondola

Stargazing at Banff Gondola

Explore our endless galaxy of stars 2900 feet above Banff in spectacular Banff National Park. Take a peek inside ultra-modern telescopes to see the seemingly infinite night skies for constellations, planets and distant galaxies. Learn more through our engaging and interactive exhibits showcasing the life cycle of stars, gravitational force of black holes and the phenomena of nebulas. Capture that perfect evening shot with tips from our professional photographer, and warm up with tea and hot apple cider 

Available to all guests, young and young-at-heart, Stargazing is included with Banff Gondola admission. Remember to dress warm.

Fridays and Saturdays from Jan 26 to Mar 9, 2018

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The Experience

Soar to the top of Sulphur Mountain to experience a stunning bird's-eye view of six incredible mountain ranges. With breathtaking vistas in every direction, you'll understand why this is a Canadian Rockies must-see destination.

Your adventure begins with an eight-minute journey to the summit of Sulphur Mountain in a modern, fully enclosed four-passenger gondola cabin. Glide up over the treetops to the crest of a steep-sided Rocky Mountain peak and step out into a jaw-dropping mountaintop experience at an elevation of 2,281metres (7,486 feet). Stroll along the ridgetop boardwalk where the views get better with every step. Then warm up in our newly transformed, state-of-the-art summit facility. With new restaurants, interactive interpretive exhibits, a multi-sensory theatre and a breathtaking 360-degree rooftop observation deck, the new Banff Gondola summit heightens every sense.

Several scenic hiking trails lead away from the summit complex. One of the most popular is the self-guided interpretive Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk to Sanson's Peak on which you can follow in the footsteps of Norman Sanson, who walked to the top of the mountain about every week for 30 years to check the weather. At the peak, step back in time and experience the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station – a National Historic Site of Canada. More adventurous hikers will want to try the South East Ridge Trail - a hiking trail that runs along the ridge of the mountain to the south, taking you to Sulphur Mountain's true summit.

Banff Gondola is proud to present Stargazing, a journey into our galaxy and beyond. Friday & Saturday nights from Jan 26 to Mar 9, 2018 on Level 4 of the Banff Gondola Summit building.

The Junior Explorer Program at the Banff Gondola invites parents and children to dig deeper into the world around us with self-guided activities and adventures.

The new, state-of-the-art Above Banff interpretive centre takes the unbelievable range of adventures in Banff National Park to a higher level. The centre offers everything from observation to hands-on interactive displays that make for a fun, family-friendly experience.

Included in your gondola ticket is admission to the new multi-sensory Above Banff Theatre. Soar over the Canadian Rockies from the perspective of a fierce bird of prey: the bald eagle. Experience the true power of Mother Nature as you witness some of Banff’s ever-changing weather systems.

You can encounter the local wildlife including Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, Golden mantled ground squirrels, Hoary marmots, Clark's nutcracker and the Canada (Gray) jay. But please remember that although these animals are for the most part friendly, they are wild and can be dangerous. Please do not feed or approach the wildlife; admire them from a safe distance and help us keep them safe and wild. 

The Banff Gondola is fully accessible to people with limited mobility. The main entrance is equipped with automatic doors with interior and exterior sensors. Each of our gondola cars is capable of taking a wheelchair and passenger to the summit.

Mountaintop Dining

Sky Bistro

Perched on the summit of Banff’s Sulphur Mountain, Sky Bistro is a dining sanctuary in the sky. We pair the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains with a distinctly Canadian menu that features the unique flavours of Canada through a handpicked selection of regionally-sourced local meats, produce and ingredients.

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Northern Lights Café

The views from the Northern Lights Café make it hard to keep your eyes on your meal, but with an exceptional menu of freshly prepared hot items, you’ll have no shortage of temptations. The casual, self-serve concept of the café gives you the freedom to enjoy a comfortable break from sightseeing or take a quick snack with you to fuel your next adventure. Whatever you choose, we’ll ensure fresh, nutritious food is always an option — even 7,486 feet up. Try our Northern Lights Lunch Package from $69 p/adult (includes one carvery station selection, two sides and fountain pop, from 11:00 AM - 3:30 PM).

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Castle Mountain Coffee Co.

Fuel up - up top! Visit Castle Mountain Coffee on level one of the upper terminal for quick, healthy grab-and-go options, including coffee, tea and snacks. The perfect spot to grab a bite for your stroll to Sanson's Peak and the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station.
Or, stop at the Starbucks in the lower terminal before or after you trip up the Gondola. 

Stories from the Banff Gondola

Gondola Technical Information

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Manufactured by:
1,583 m (5,194 feet) above sea level
2,281 m (7,486 feet) above sea level
698 m (2,292 feet)
4 passengers each
1,560 m (5,120 feet)
1,370 m (4,498 feet)
34 mm (111/32 inches)
28 mm (1 3/32 inches)
21,103 kg (46,587 lbs)
9,490 kg (21,091 lbs)
3.0 m (10 feet) per second
4.0 m (13 feet) per second
8 minutes
650 passengers, each direction
38 m (125 feet) at Tower #2
250 H.P. Electric Motor & Diesel stand-by/electric stand-by
Original – September 1958 to July 1959
Reconstruction – November 1997 to February 1998
Original – Bell Engineering Works Ltd., Kriens Lucerne, Switzerland
Reconstruction – Garaventa AG, Goldau, Switzerland

Make your visit even more memorable

History of the Banff Gondola

One of the earliest pioneers to ascend the heights of Sulphur Mountain was park meteorologist and museum curator Norman Bethune Sanson. Sanson first climbed the mountain on snowshoes in 1896 in order to record weather observations for the Banff area.

In the summer of 1903, a trail was built from the Banff Upper Hot Springs and a stone observatory was constructed on the summit ridge (still standing today on the peak to the northwest). During the next thirty years of his life, Sanson hiked to the top of the mountain over one thousand times and made one of his last hikes up the steep, three-mile trail in the summer of 1945, at the age of 84!


Park visitors were also able to make the 3 1/2 mile trek to the summit to enjoy what was quickly becoming the popular viewpoint of Banff and the Bow Valley. The first teahouse on the summit of Sulphur Mountain opened in the summer of 1940 on the site of the present summit complex. It was built and operated by the mountain guide and visionary, John Jaeggi, who immigrated to Banff from Switzerland in 1924. Jaeggi had quickly recognized the need for tourist facilities on this popular mountain. All the building materials, all the supplies, and even the water for the tea had to be carried on horseback up the trail. Hikers were now able to enjoy a light meal at the summit.

Later a halfway station was built by Jaeggi. People could either hike up to this teahouse or take a ride up on a tractor that Jaeggi modified himself. The tractor had a small platform and railing around the machine upon which the passengers would stand. The remainder of the ascent from the halfway station had to be made on foot, but at the summit Jaeggi now also offered the choice of lunch or bed and breakfast.


In the early 1950's Jaeggi began making plans for an aerial lift. In 1951 and 1953 he visited his native Switzerland to look at lifts. Having found a lift that would be comparable with Sulphur Mountain, Jaeggi returned to Canada to find investors to finance his dream. He also applied to the Federal Government for permission to develop this attraction. Jaeggi succeeded at finding a small group of potential investors in the Banff area, however, it was not enough to set the scheme in motion. What he needed was a major financial player.

In March of 1957 Jaeggi returned to Switzerland hoping to find the support that he so desperately needed. Jaeggi was successful. He was immediately put into contact with some very influential Swiss businessmen who embraced his idea of a gondola lift in the Canadian Rockies. The obstacle of raising the capital had been overcome and in July of 1957 after a long and hard debate, the Federal Government finally passed the proposal. Construction of the Sulphur Mountain Gondola began in the fall of 1958.

After surveying the mountain for the most suitable area, the track was cut followed by the installation of a temporary construction lift. The upper and lower terminals were built and the construction of the towers came after. The cables and the gondolas were the last to be installed. The entire lift from the drive, to cables, to gondolas had to be shipped from Switzerland. It was something of a mega project for its day.

On Saturday, July 18, 1959 the Sulphur Mountain Gondola officially opened. It was the first bi-cable gondola in North America and the first gondola of any kind in Canada. Today it remains the only bi-cable gondola in Canada.


In the mid-seventies it became apparent that the present facilities on the summit were too small to accommodate the ever-increasing number of visitors. Consequently the wildlife and the fragile alpine vegetation suffered. In 1976 architectural studies were initiated to find a design that would meet with parks policies. The complex had to blend in with the environment; the observation areas and boardwalks had to be designed to minimize visitor contact with the wildlife and the vegetation; the problem of sewage had to be addressed through the use of pipelines connecting the restaurant at the top of the mountain with the Banff sewage system.


Construction of a new summit complex began in October of 1980. Its design both suited the aesthetics of the environment and its aerodynamics met well with the harshness of the alpine climate. Though it looked like it simply sat on the top of a major rock outcrop, the complex actually rested on concrete foundation that extended right into the mountain itself. On September 15, 1981 the complex was officially opened.


Banff Jasper Collection continues its commitment to providing modern facilities at this must-see destination, with the redevelopment of the lower terminal in 2012 and a $26 million renovation of the upper terminal that began in September 2015.

This redevelopment of this new upper terminal was completed on September 23, 2016.  The Banff Gondola now gives visitors more to see, do and learn than ever before with state-of-the-art facilities providing everything from passive observation to hands-on interactive experiences.  Combining an unparalleled rooftop view, expansive interpretive area, a highly-immersive specialty theatre, private event facilities, retail space, and all-new food and beverage offerings, the Banff Gondola remains Banff’s number one must-see attraction and mountaintop experience.

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