Sunshine Meadows
Sunshine Meadows
4.5
Nature & Wildlife Areas
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9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
Located only a short distance, 16km/10m, from the Town of Banff, the pristine beauty of Sunshine Meadows is easily accessible for everyone, and can be best experienced and enjoyed through the relaxed comfort of our facilities. Take a ride up to the skies in Banff’s biggest gondola (8-passenger cabin capacity) with room for the whole family. Start at the base at an elevation of 1,660 m and ride the gondola 4.6km to the top gondola village terminal at 2,164 m where the Alpine Village is located. Take in all the views of the valley, mountain peaks and wildlife. Once you have reached the top – the Sunshine Village area, or just “the Village” – stop in at our new interpretive center before embarking on an exploration of the six diverse, graveled hiking trails, that wind their way through three alpine lakes, waterfalls and flower filled meadows covering more than 12 Km through the Sunshine Meadows. For a more revealing experience, join one of our hosted trail tours and enjoy learning about the wonders of the alpine world of Sunshine Meadows and more as you through some of Banff National Park’s most spectacular spots. Feel on top of the world when you summit Mt Standish via our Standish Express Sightseeing Chairlift. With an elevation of 2,400m/7,875ft, it will give you a full 360 degree view of the area. From here you can enjoy an unobstructed view the famous Mount Assiniboine – the Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies at 3,618m/ 11,871ft – as well as other joys on the horizon, such as Rock Isle, Laryx and Grizzly Alpine lakes. There are three retail stores awaiting you for all your hiking essentials and Canadian Rockies souvenirs. After taking in the captivating views, indulge in one of our six licensed food outlets, including four fully serviced restaurants, including a BBQ deck of outside Mad Trapper’s Smokehouse. Come by to wind down with a drink before making your way back down the gondola.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
541 reviews
Excellent
428
Very good
80
Average
21
Poor
5
Terrible
7

Genevieve A
7 contributions
Aug 2020
Hiked up the road from the gondola base (actually from the far end of the parking lot) because the gondola was inexplicably closed due to COVID-19. The walk up the road was pretty easy, and the subsequent hike to Rock Isle Lake and around Grizzly Loop was easy, but spectacular. We walked up to the Standish Lookout and actually watched a large grizzly walk through the Grizzly Loop area.
Written July 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Aliya
Edmonton, Canada1 contribution
Feb 2020
I had never been snowboarding before but I decided to try it out for the first time. I took a lesson from Oliver Harper and I am now so much more confident going down the mountain. I was able to go from having no knowledge about snowboarding at all to doing tricks such as 360 degree turns and tail drifts. I highly recommend taking a lesson from Oliver Harper. He also recommended to do a morning lesson rather than an evening lesson so that the snow will be perfect and not packed down as much. You can rent all the equipment that you will need at sunshine and you can take group or private lessons. Also be prepared to fall...a lot, practice makes perfect! Oli will be able to help you to figure out what you do wrong and how to not do that so that you hopefully stay vertical. Good luck out there!!
Written February 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Than you for sharing your experience with us. We're delighted to hear you enjoyed your lessons at Banff Sunshine and we'll be sure to pass along your kind words to Oliver and the ski school team. Check out our winter TripAdvisor page under Sunshine Village. All the best,
Written February 12, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

calgaryjim
Calgary, Canada83 contributions
Aug 2021
Take the gondola, otherwise the longish hike up is super boring. From the top of the gondola ride, the views along the hike are simply stunning, bring sunglasses for sure. And we hiked in August, the horse flies were just dreadful, they wouldn’t leave us alone. I don’t know when they aren’t so prevalent but before I do the hike again I will definitely find out. Note: we did this hike years ago even though it says 2021, we just couldn’t go back further. Travel date relevant for hotels and restaurants, not so much for hikes. That mountain you can see, it’s probably still going to be there in a decade.
Written May 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for your review. Mid July though to end of August a great time to see the wild flowers in full bloom. Banff Sunshine Meadows is now open through to September 11, 2022. All the best
Written June 30, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Randy B
Fort Collins, CO10 contributions
Jun 2018
Do NOT overlook this gondola ride!
First note there two gondola rides near Banff. One is very near town and is highly advertised. This one is about a 20 minute drive from Banff to the Sunshine ski area.
The views and hikes at the top are simply AMAZING. Think of the opening song in “The Sound of Music” movie. The gondola ride is quite long, maybe 10 or 15 minutes each way from the parking lot to the base and lodge of the ski area. Then the 4 person chair lift takes you up to the hiking trails. There is a very easy 10 minute walk/hike over the alpine tundra above tree line to an overlook of the lakes and surrounding peaks.
And all of this is quite a bit less expensive than the gondola just outside of Banff.
This was just a wonderful way to spend an hour or three on a summer day! But be ready to take warm clothes, we had a windchill of just above freezing on the last day of June. And even though it was Canada Day weekend, there were almost no other people on the lifts or trails.
Just an amazing experience!
Written July 1, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ron N
Cincinatti, OH32 contributions
Aug 2012 • Family
You have to take the bus to get to the top, which does go on strange schedule and costs about 90$ for the family of four. You don't need to buy anything in advance, just walk in and buy the tickets when you arrive. We got to the parking area at 10:30 to get to 11:00 bus, but we still managed to get inside 10am bus that was about half full. Trails are well managed and worth the visit in mid-late July when all the flowers are in peak blossom. We got there in August and it seems we have missed the best time to visit, but it was still a great place for the afternoon walk and worth the price of bus ride.
Written December 26, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Enyedy00
Seattle, WA565 contributions
Sep 2011 • Couples
Best advice: start early, take the shuttle bus up to Sunshine Meadows, hike all around beautiful scenery, then trek over to Healy Pass for more views, and finally hike back down to the parking lot on your own. This itinerary is a full day of hiking (~28 km for our route), but if you have great weather like we did, then it is a terrific and memorable experience.

Taking the shuttle bus up is good idea - yes it costs money, but it saves time and energy. Plus, once you get up to Sunshine Meadows, things are more or less level until you climb up to Healy Pass - there isn't a lot of elevation gain once you are at the Meadows. If you don't want to do Healy Pass, you could instead hike over to Citadel Pass, which seemed to be a popular option on the day that we went. Or you could skip doing either pass (don't go to Healy or Citadel) and make a shorter day of it.

Make sure you have a clear day so that you can appreciate the stunning mountain vistas - I would not go if it were overcast. There are four designated lookout points: Simpson, Standish, Rock Isle, and Monarch. I recommend them all! There is a small map that is quite valuable - it allows you to plan a route with minimum amount of double back - pick it up from the helpful information centers (I am attaching a link to the map). A couple people told us that they saw a bear on the trail to Healy Pass, but we did not see any wildlife other than ground squirrels and fine looking hawk.
Written December 17, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Margaret151151
Cardiff, UK2,313 contributions
Aug 2017 • Couples
After seeing some stunning photographs, I was so looking forward to visiting Sunshine Meadows. Then the wildfires hit! The Meadows were closed, then they reopened, then they closed again. It wasn’t until the day before we were due to leave Banff that most of the Meadows reopened (Grizzly and Laryx Lakes Loop still closed though).

However, we made the most of our day in the sky – and it was (mostly) stunning, though wildfire smoke and the sound of helicopters kept reminding us of the problem that the hard-working firefighters had to deal with (and still are, according to the webcam pictures I’m seeing since returning from our holiday.)

Before you visit, check the website for details: the gondola only works Friday to Monday (otherwise it’s a bumpy ride in a school bus up a dusty road). Buy your tickets in advance and if you can, drive there – it’s only 20 mins from Banff and there is ample parking – or take the shuttle @ $12 for a return journey for both adults and children.

The gondola ride will take you 2.8 miles and 1,600 ft up to the Village area at 7,200 ft altitude. Catch the chairlift and enjoy the peace, tranquility and stunning views as you travel a further 675 ft to catch even more breathtaking scenery from the Standish viewpoint platform with 360-degree views of the Rocky Mountains that surround you. Then wander at will over the 12km of trails (if they are all open!)

It’s worth popping into the Interpretive Centre before you leave the Village as there is a display of things which you might currently see in the Meadows, and the shop next door to it sells Pocket Naturals Guides of flora and fauna of the area. Take pictures of any unidentified flora and fauna and pick the brains of the guide in the Interpretive Centre on your way back!

The obvious trail to start with is the Rock Isle Loop. However, we only went as far as the Rock Isle Viewpoint and as Grizzly and Laryx were out of bounds, we returned to the Two Cairns Junction and walked across the Continental Divide (between Alberta and British Columbia) to Monarch Viewpoint (a great place for a picnic) before descending to the Village. We were almost completely on our own and enjoyed peace, stunning views and utter bliss of being away from the hustle and bustle of all the other tourists for just a short time!

The trails are in great condition and we passed through dwarf pine woods and meadows filled with fireweed as well as other beautiful flora. We were lucky enough to see marmots, both golden mantled and Colombian ground squirrels and least chipmunk and even heard a pika (under a bridge on the Cairns trail, but he was too shy to show himself). No deer, fox or bear, although I spotted the fresh tracks of a grizzly 500m from the village on our return!

A fabulous day and all for $42 and the price of a picnic!
Written August 31, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Danielle B
Michigan61 contributions
Jul 2018 • Couples
Sunshine Meadows at the top of the Sunshine Village Ski Resort is not to be missed as one of the best summer hikes in the entire Banff National Park! First you take a scenic and very unique gondola ride from the base, then another chairlift from the village to arrive at a viewing platform with an expansive view of lakes and mountains unlike anything you would imagine! From the viewing platform you can take a fairly easy and very pleasant hike around the three lakes, Rock Isle, Grizzly, and Laryx. Each lake is unique and beautiful! There are beautiful wildflowers and small wildlife along the way. This hike is appropriate for all age and fitness levels. Sunshine Village Meadows is not to be missed, you will not be disappointed in the amazing view of the entire valley. Oh and I almost forgot, from one vantage point along the trail you can see the Simpson Valley which is amazing! After enjoying the hike and views, be sure to stop at the Grizzly Paw for a nice lunch on a beautiful patio! We love Sunshine Village and will continue to come back every summer!
Written August 7, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Alan321
Altrincham, England244 contributions
Sep 2012 • Couples
We did this trip towards the end of September and were rewarded with clear skies,golden larches and spectacular views. The ride on the shuttle bus eliminates the real hard work of getting out of the valley and drops you high in the alpine region.The only thing I would add to other reviews though, is that once there, the hiking is not completely effortless. By Rockies standards it isn't difficult, but by the time you have climbed up from the main ski lodge (where the shuttle bus drops you), descended to the lakes on the other side, maybe climbed to the lookout, and then completed the circuit, the amount of uphill hiking must be not far short of 1500 feet.
We got the impression that some people on our shuttle bus thought they would get the fantastic views as soon as they got off the bus. Certainly quite a few of them didn't tackle the first quite steep climb out of the ski lodge bowl, so they didn't get the views.
Written November 9, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Danya F
Columbus, OH382 contributions
Aug 2011 • Couples
We bought tickets for the Sunshine Meadows bus in advance for the 8 am time slot on Sunday, August 14 because we wanted a leisurely hike out to Citadel Pass and back. There were only 4 other people on the bus which surprised me a great deal because I thought the bus would be full. Our bus driver wanted to know if any of us wanted to use the restroom or not. If we did, he would open the building. As we didn't need to use it, we began hiking. He never said that we would need to turn our tickets in for poker chips in order to re-board the bus later. Anyhow, we had a pleasant hike out to Citadel Pass - lots of ground squirrels - although we felt that the hike wasn't nearly as interesting or spectacular as Sentinel Pass or the ridge above Helen Lake. There were not fields and fields of wildflowers as promised; there were not more wildflowers than on any other hike. When we returned from our hike around 2:30 pm, we noticed that there were over 80 people waiting outside at the picnic tables. They didn't seem to be anxious to get on the bus, so my husband and I got in line for the bus and after a 20 minute wait showed the driver our tickets. This driver was the same driver we had at 8 am. He told us that we didn't listen to him and that we need to turn in our tickets for the colored poker chips. Neither of us remembered any instructions to this effect. When we did take our tickets to the counter in the building, we learned that colored chips now allowed us access to a bus scheduled to leave in two hours! Well ...I would never have paid $52 ($26 per adult is the current rate) for bus tickets if I knew that I would have to wait 2 hours after a long day of hiking for a bus to drive us 10 km down the road! What a rip off! We were very hungry and couldn't even buy food at the building because they ran out. We saw the cook who had been grilling hot dogs when we first arrived, leave for the day - before us! I now understood what everyone was waiting for - the bus to return to their cars! The only thing that I was happy about was that I didn't pay that much money, like most people did, only to walk out to Rock Isle Lake and back (at least I had planned to spend the day and go to Citadel Pass).
My advice: Save your money and your valuable vacation time and do not go to Sunshine Meadows! There are much better hikes that are free! Here is our top ten in the Canadian Rockies that we have done:
1) Odaray Grandview in the Lake O'Hara area, Yoho
2) Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit, Yoho
3) Sentinel Pass, from Lake Moraine, Banff
4) Lake McArthur in the Lake O'Hara area, Yoho
5) Parker's Ridge, Icefields Parkway, Jasper
6) Crypt Lake, Waterton
7) Ridge above Helen Lake, Icefield Parkway, Banff
8) Wlicox Pass, Icefield Parkway, Jasper
9) Carthew-Alderson, Waterton
10) Plain of the Six Glaciers, from Lake Louise, Banff

This was our second trip to the Canadian Rockies and, except for this experience with Sunshine Meadows, we had a wonderful time.
Written September 3, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Our apologies to you for the length of wait you had for the bus. We are looking at ways to improve this for next season. We did get caught with our pants down a few times this summer, and want to make sure that this will not happen in future.
Written September 26, 2011
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Sunshine Meadows (Banff) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

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Sunshine Meadows is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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