Canadian Rockies Gondolas

All Canadian Rockies gondolas offer an easy way to get to a mountain top with minimal effort. Banff National Park has three gondolas, and there is one each in Jasper National Park and Golden. Following are a few frequently asked questions, and then details on each Canadian Rockies gondola.

For direct comparison, go to Which Gondola is Better Banff or Lake Louise? and Which Gondola is Better Banff or Jasper?

Which Canadian Rockies gondola has the highest elevation? Kicking Horse Gondola (2,505 metres/8,220 feet).

What is the longest Canadian Rockies gondola? Sunshine Village Gondola (4.5 km/2.8 miles).

Which Canadian Rockies gondola has the highest vertical rise? Kicking Horse Gondola (1,260 metres/4,134 feet).

What is the highest Canadian Rockies gondola above the ground? Sunshine Village Gondola (61 metres/200 feet).

Which Canadian Rockies gondolas have the largest cars? Jasper SkyTram (up to 24 people per car).

Do any Canadian Rockies gondolas offer open chairlifts as an option? Lake Louise Gondola.

Which Canadian Rockies gondola has the best hiking? Sunshine Village Gondola

Do any Canadian Rockies gondolas operate year-round? Banff Gondola.

What is Canada’s highest restaurant? Eagle’s Eye, Kicking Horse Gondola

Which Canadian Rockies gondola has the easiest parking? Kicking Horse Gondola

Banff Gondola

In Banff, the BANFF GONDOLA has four-person gondola cars that rise almost 700 metres (2,300 feet) in eight minutes to the summit of Sulphur Mountain. From the observation deck at the upper terminal, the breathtaking view includes the town, Bow Valley, Cascade Mountain, Lake Minnewanka, and the Fairholme Range. Bighorn sheep often hang around below the upper terminal. The short Vista Trail leads along a ridge to a restored weather observatory. Between 1903 and 1931, long before the gondola was built, Norman Sanson was the meteorological observer who collected data at the station. During this period, he made more than 1,000 ascents of Sulphur Mountain, all in the line of duty.

Banff Gondola Fast Facts

Type: gondola
Vertical rise: 698 metres (2,290 feet)
Top elevation: 2,281 metres (7,490 feet)
Travel time: 8 minutes
Season: year-round

Looking down to the town of Banff from the Banff Gondola.

Looking down to the town of Banff from the Banff Gondola.

Sunshine Village Gondola

Unlike the other Canadian Rockies gondolas, the BANFF SUNSHINE SUMMER GONDOLA does not lift visitors to a mountaintop, but instead into a high alpine bowl that is home to Sunshine Village, with lodging, restaurants, and a day lodge. Most of the infrastructure is set up for winter visitors, but in summer, the village is the jumping-off point for hikers heading out to explore one of the finest hiking destinations in the Canadian Rockies, Sunshine Meadows. This gondola is also one of the most impressive in the Canadian Rockies, at 4.5 kilometres (2.7 miles) long and with four stations and 38 towers. The Sunshine gondola is also known for its colourful cars (blue and purple are most requested). Some other interesting facts—at full speed, gondola cars travel at 22 km per hour and the gondola can transport up to 2,800 guests per hour.

Sunshine Village Gondola Fast Facts

Type: gondola
Vertical rise: 504 metres (1,650 feet)
Top elevation: 2,160 metres (7,090 feet)
Travel time: 18 minutes
Season: July to September
Winter: operates as a ski resort

Lake Louise Gondola

The LAKE LOUISE SIGHTSEEING GONDOLA whisks visitors up the face of Mount Whitehorn in either open chairs or enclosed gondola cars. The view from the top—at an altitude of more than two kilometres (1.2 miles) above sea level across the Bow Valley, Lake Louise, and the Continental Divide—is among the most spectacular in the Canadian Rockies. From the upper terminal, trails lead through the forests, across open meadows, and, for the energetic, to a viewpoint overlooking the resort’s Larch area. Visitors are free to walk these trails, but it pays to join a guided walk if you’d like to learn about the surrounding environment.

Lake Louise Gondola Fast Facts

Type: gondola/chairlift
Vertical rise: 452 metres (1,420 feet)
Top elevation: 2,088 metres (6,850 feet)
Travel time: 14 minutes
Season: May to September
Winter: operates as a ski resort

Jasper SkyTram

JASPER SKYTRAM climbs almost 1,000 vertical metres (3,280 feet) up the steep north face of The Whistlers, named for the hoary marmots that live on the summit. The tramway operates two 30-passenger cars that take seven minutes to reach the upper terminal, during which time the conductor gives a lecture about the mountain and its environment. From the upper terminal, a 1.4-kilometre (0.9-mile) trail leads to the 2,470-metre (8,104-foot) true summit. The view is breathtaking; to the south is the Columbia Icefield, and on a clear day you can see Mount Robson (3,954 metres/12,970 feet)—the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies—to the northwest.

Jasper SkyTram Fast Facts

Type: tramway
Vertical rise: 959 metres (3,150 feet)
Top elevation: 2,263 metres (7,420 feet)
Travel time: 7 minutes
Season: late March to mid-October
Winter: closed

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

The eight-person Golden Eagle Express Gondola at KICKING HORSE MOUNTAIN RESORT transports visitors high into the alpine in just 18 minutes. The 360-degree panorama at the summit is equal to any other accessible point in the Canadian Rockies, with the Purcell Mountains immediately to the west and the Columbia Valley laid out below. Graded hiking trails lead from the upper terminal through a fragile, treeless environment, while mountain bikers revel in a challenging descent in excess of 1,000 metres (3,280 feet). On-mountain activities include visiting the Grizzly Bear Interpretive Centre, where sightings of Boo, the resident grizzly bear, are almost guaranteed, and trying your hand at mountaineering on the via ferrata.

Kicking Horse Gondola Fast Facts

Type: gondola
Vertical rise: 1,260 metres (4,134 feet)
Top elevation: 2,505 metres (8,220 feet)
Travel time: 18 minutes
Season: late June-September
Winter: operates as a ski resort

Kicking Horse Gondola

What is the Difference Between a Gondola and an Aerial Tram?

There is a difference between a gondola and a tram, even if the two words are often used interchangeably. A gondola uses up to hundreds of cabins suspended from a continuously circulating cable while trams use two larger cabins that shuttle back and forth on the cable.