A series of switchbacks lead to the summit ridge of Sulphur Mountain and the upper terminal of the Sulphur Mountain Gondola (5.4km). From the upper terminal a boardwalk leads along the ridge to the Cosmic Ray Station, the true summit of Sullphur Mountain (additional 0.6km). In winter the gondola ride down the mountain is free.
Elevation is 1561m at the parking lot, 2265m at the upper gondola terminal, and 2300m at Cosmic Ray Station.
Short directions for those familiar with Banff: The trail begins from the Upper Hot Springs parking lot (not the Gondola parking lot).
Long directions for those not familiar with Banff: Follow Banff Avenue through town and across the Bow River Bridge. At the 'T' intersection after the bridge, turn left. After a few hundred metres around a bend is a fork in the road to the right. Bear right onto Mountain Avenue. After about 5 minutes you’ll see the Rimrock Hotel on your left. Keep going for about one hundred metres bearing right until you come to a small traffic circle which is in front of the parking lot of the Banff Upper Hot Springs. The trail begins from the Upper Hot Springs parking lot (not the Gondola parking lot).
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Posted By: Baby Thor
- Mon Dec 04 02:39:26 UTC 2017
UpsideFree gondola ride down in the winter. Also next to Hot Springs. DownsideLong and switchback-y, boring. CommentMy hiking buddy was very not in shape and it took 4 hours. Made for a long day.
Posted By: faytherhianne
- Thu Aug 04 18:53:14 UTC 2016
UpsideThe view at the top is beautiful Downsidethe switchbacks are insanely boring, nothing to look at but people in flip flops and trees for 5.5 km CommentProbably my least favorite hike I've ever done, I was sorely disappointed I didn't look into it further before doing it. The view at the top is not worth the countless switchbacks. Would recommend driving the extra 10-15 mins to do any other surrounding hike. I suggest taking the gondola for the view, as seeing Banff in that view is spectacular
Posted By: chrisgab
- Mon Aug 01 03:27:14 UTC 2016
UpsideThe BEST view you'll have of Banff and area. I loved seeing the "Cosmic Ray Staion." Promise me you'll do this .6 km walk to see it, even if you took the gondola up! Also, there is a waterfall 2/3rds of the way up. If you hike with a dog, like I do, it can cool off here. On that note, I have NEVER had so much enthusiasm concerning my dog. It was as if people had never seen a dog before (my dog LOVED the attention). DownsideNO LONGER FREE! $24 one way, even if it's down. Construction in progress. I am so glad I hiked, because if I paid $43 for a round-trip gondola and there was no more than a snack bar, I'd be disappointed. Also, what I'd call a 'tourist hike,' even though it's 5.4 km one way! I saw flip flops, I heard music blaring out of backpacks, I saw coke cans in hikers' hands.... I'm not saying don't do this hike, just realize it's not your typical hike. CommentDefinitely do this hike. I used to do it the 2 summers I lived in Banff (30 years ago) and someone came to visit me. I also took my 6-week-old daughter up and took my time, but made it.
Posted By: canadacandy
- Wed Jun 22 21:59:09 UTC 2016
CommentIn terms of a hike there are better, but this gives people of all ages the option to take the gondola. The views are quite nice at the top, but it's built up so it's less peaceful. Easy-Moderate (max).
Posted By: pstoliker
- Thu Nov 12 00:01:23 UTC 2015
UpsideGood hike for cardio workout. DownsideThis trail is currently closed while construction proceeds at the upper terminal of the gondola. Contacts Parks Canada to find out when the trail will be open again. CommentFor a neat round trip you can descend the Sulphur Mountain west side trail. This is the old road that is easily seen on the west side of Sulphur Mountain when approaching Banff on Highway 1 from the west. I would suggest parking at the Cave and Basin, then hiking up to the Gondola parking lot, hiking the normal trail under the Gondola and descending the west side trail. Round trip is probably about 20km.
Posted By: steph1980
- Wed Aug 05 14:43:36 UTC 2015
Upsidenice views, restaurant at the top for food Downsidekind of boring, not challenging in terms of finding trail. Difficult as you are going up for most of the way and there isn't much challenging your mind. Commentwas a nice way to get some exercise
Posted By: misskyrstyn
- Wed Jul 08 16:35:47 UTC 2015
UpsideGood first hiking experience for a novice like myself. beautiful scenery and a waterfall you can scramble to about 3/4 the way up. DownsideVery busy since it's a tourist attraction with the gondola at the top. CommentFirst hike ever was here (2012) and it was a tonne of fun but also moderately difficult which I think brought a good experience.
Posted By: stumpfian
- Sat Dec 28 21:09:41 UTC 2013
UpsideTrail was easily accessible, even in winter, switchbacks ensured that a steady pace was doable, even for a novice like myself. Downside5.5kms of switchbacks do get a little boring. CommentMade for a good afternoon workout, and in the winter the gondola ride down was free, would recommend for beginner hikers looking to build their leg strength and cardio.
Posted By: ChrisMarry
- Mon Sep 02 03:49:20 UTC 2013
UpsideEasy, accessible trail, no route finding for sure there, break time! Great elevation and nice views of Banff, Rundle, Lake Minnewanka, etc. DownsideLots of people, but even worse in the last portion with the stairs. No many viewpoints before you get to the top. CommentWe've done this trail a few times over years, it's pretty easy as mostly flat or low elevation on each zigzag portions is progressive. It's 5 km to the top where gondolas arrive + 0.6 km with the stairs. Elevation gain is about 677 m and max elevation would be 2257 m (from my GPS watch). Beginners are welcome to do it for sure, we now try to do it at the fastest pace we can, it's a great training and it's possible to run it down if you feel like doing so, not too hazardous in my opinion.
Posted By: happyPC
- Thu Jul 21 09:44:26 UTC 2011
CommentThe nicest point for this trail is: it is NOT early season trail, but ALL FOUR SEASON trail! Because of tons of tourists , the trail condition is perfect for hiking even in winter. And more, the gondola restaurant is a perfect place for rest from the cold.
Posted By: slickster
- Sat Sep 12 11:27:51 UTC 2009
Upsidegood views of Banff and area from the top. Commentsteady switchback with uphill incline all the way. i have done this a few times and each time it has been very windy and cool at the top, come prepared.
pretty busy, not a good place for solitude.
Posted By: slurpeecool
- Fri Aug 15 22:28:11 UTC 2008
CommentNot worth the time and the climb, not much scenery along the trail. Rather pay for the gondola to the summit.