Mountain Spotting: A Brief Guide to Banff's Mountain Ranges

15 Sep 2023

Mountain Spotting: A Brief Guide to Banff’s Mountain Ranges

Mountain Spotting: A Brief Guide to Banff’s Mountain Ranges

Author: SuperUser Account  /  Categories: Activities, Banff  / 

Riding the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain is a must when visiting Banff. It is one of the most popular attractions our picturesque mountain town offers! No matter the season, our gondola runs year-round, and the 360 scenic view provides onlookers with the astonishing sight of five mountain ranges, courtesy of the magical Canadian Rocky Mountains. 

Visiting Banff for the first time and want to wow your travel companions with your mountain expertise? Keep reading to learn about the five mountain peaks surrounding the Banff townsite.

Sulphur Mountain

Elevation: 2,451 m (8,041 ft)

Home of the Banff Gondola, it’s only fitting to place Sulphur Mountain at the top of the list. In just eight minutes, the Banff Gondola will carry you 2,281 meters. At the mountain peak awaits a massive boardwalk for sightseeing, a world-class restaurant and an interpretive learning centre. However, if you want to stretch your legs and hike, you will reach the top in roughly two hours and can take the gondola back down for free!

The mountain gets its name due to the two sulphuric hot springs. Make sure to visit the Upper Hot Springs after you glide down the mountain in the gondola! 

Mount Rundle

Elevation: 2,948 m (9,672 ft)

Arguably the most well-known of Banff’s mountains with its prominent wedge-shaped peak, Mount Rundle is a sight to behold. It is so large that it could be described as a small mountain range with seven peaks, extending over 12 kilometres from Canmore to Banff. 

Despite its size, Mount Rundle is a relatively easy mountain to scramble up during the summer. If you are visiting the Rocky Mountains for the first time, Mount Rundle is a bucket-list climb everyone should get to experience!

Cascade Mountain

Elevation: 2,998 m (9,836 ft)

Monumental in size, Cascade is the Banff mountain. Wander along the bridge above the Bow River to experience the vastness of the mountain range. It’s impossible to miss this towering behemoth. 

If you are thinking about hiking Cascade Mountain, make sure you pack plenty of snacks and water! This climb takes most hikers around 8 hours round-trip. Keep in mind that, while absolutely stunning, this hike is not beginner friendly, so be mindful of your hiking party’s experience!

Tunnel Mountain

Elevation: 1,692 m (5,551- ft)

Contrary to the name, there is no tunnel within Tunnel Mountain. The alternative name is Sleeping Buffalo, coined by the Stoney People because the mountain resembles a buffalo sleeping when viewed from the northeast!

Compared to the surrounding mountains, Tunnel Mountain is a mere hill compared to some of its neighbouring peaks. At a 4.3 km round trip, it is an easy, enjoyable hike for beginners and mountaineers alike. It offers a panoramic view of the townsite, the Bow River and the surrounding wilderness below.

Mount Norquay

Elevation: 2,133 m (6,998 ft)

Directly northwest of the town, Mount Norquay is one of the three ski resorts in Banff national park. This was the second mountain in all of Canada to have an operable ski lift, all the way back in 1948! For nearly a century, this mountain has been the skiing destination of Banff. 

The mountain was named, strangely enough, after the Premier of Manitoba John Norquay in 1904! He did not successfully summit the mountain, but it was still an impressive feat in 1887. While the mountain’s western side can be scrambled, people are not advised to do so. Especially not with snow! 

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