Banff National Park - Sulfur Mountain
Rocky Mountains, Alberta, Canada
Sulfur Mountain is an elevation hiking trail and sightseeing destination located south of the community of Banff, Alberta, Canada. The views from on top of the mountain are far reaching including views of the Bow River, the community of Banff, Rocky Mountains and the Sundance Mountain Range.
Sulfur Mountain is a busy activity destination, only accessed via a 5.5 kilometre hiking trail or a short gondola ride. The hiking trail follows a series of steep switchbacks up the mountain. The gondola ride is the easy-going option for transportation to the top of Mount Sulphur.
At the peak of Sulphur Mountain is an Upper Terminal and an Observation Deck. The Upper Terminal provides viewing decks, a restaurant and a gift shop.
A 1 kilometre boardwalk trail, perched above the rocky surface, connects the Upper Terminal with the Sanson's Peak Weather Observatory which was built in 1903. Near the observatory is a concrete structure which is all that is left of a Cosmic Ray Station. Today the site is a National Historic Site of Canada.
The gravel road to your left when walking along the boardwalk path leading to the observation deck is an 8.2 kilometre trail connecting to the Cave and Basin area and the Sundance Canyon Trail and the Marsh Loop Trail.
The Sanson's Peak Weather Observatory is a tiered, viewing platform measuring 2337 metres above sea level. At the observation deck you exposed to the weather. Conditions are windy and temperatures can get cold. The observation deck provides the best views of the valley below and mountain ranges in the distance.
The Sulfur Mountain Hiking Trail is not for the light hearted. It is an extremely difficult hiking adventure going straight up a mountain with an elevation gain of 655 metres. The trail is well maintained and wide, covered in gravel, but by no means level. The entire route from the base to the Upper Terminal consists of switchback after switchback.
The time to complete the entire return trip using the hiking trail to get up the mountain and back, will take from 2.5 to 5 hours depending on the fitness levels and size of your hiking group.
The gondola will have you on the peak in less than 5 minutes. And once your done with your sightseeing the gondola will have you back down the mountain without even breaking a sweat.
Be aware when hiking on the way down the mountain that the trail is gravel and that it is very important to keep control of your speed because stopping is difficult on a gravel trail when going down steep elevations. And please no short cutting through the forest on the switchbacks.
How to Get to the Sulfur Mountain Trail
Travel south on Main Street (Banff Avenue) in the village of Banff, Alberta, Canada to the Bow River Bridge. After the stop lights turn east onto Mountain Avenue and follow the road south to the end and the Banff Gondola. Trailhead is near the hot springs.