If you missed it, check out yesterday’s Yamnuska hike recap. This post is all about my Saturday, spent playing tourist in Banff with my brother! We had sore legs from the 4 hours hike up and down Yamnuska so we picked an easy hike to stretch our legs and let us summit one more mountain before we headed home… we picked Sulphur Mountain… aka the mountain with a Starbucks at the bottom.
We headed into Banff and luckily got to the trailhead of Sulphur before the majority of tourist showed up. We began the really straightforward switchbacks and had a nice chat along the way. It’s a good climb that keeps your legs burning but it was relatively easy and not technical at all. There was a bit of snow and ice on the trail so we had to be careful in those places but my brother was wearing running shoes and still did fine.
I could see if I lived in Banff using this as some hill training and just running up it for a workout. It only took us an hour and 20 minutes to get to the top. We were hustling but not running up the trail so it’s a quick hike that can be done bottom to top and back in just over 2 hours. It’s a huge tourist hike because of the gondola. The Starbucks is in fact in the gondola ticket office. It’s kind of funny seeing people at the top of the mountain with their half sweet quad shot soy caramel macchiatos.
We spent a little time at the top walking across the boardwalks to the weather station and looking around at the info station and store they have at the top of the mountain. It was definitely not my kind of “mountain escape” but it was a perfect short mountain climb for our morning. I also feel leftout when I haven’t done some of the “basic” hikes in Canmore and Banff that everyone does, though I don’t really prefer them. I’m weird.
In the winter, the gondola ride from the top of Sulphur Mountain is free to those who hiked up so we took advantage. I tried to convince Stuart that running down Sulphur would be really fun but I think he was tired of my “good ideas” like hiking two days in a row and loosening up our legs by doing another hike hahaha. We hit up the cute little gondolas and laughed at the guy who tried to take our photo getting into the gondola… who actually buys those photos?!
It had been sprinkling when we began our climb but the rain stopped as we made our way up the mountain. The blue sky peeked out just in time for our gondola ride and as it began pouring when we drove away we knew we’d picked the right time to climb! We tried to find a place to park in downtown Banff so we could grab lunch but it was mad chaos and I gave up and we drove to Canmore for lunch. Canmore wasn’t much better but we grabbed a parking spot and headed to the Grizzly Paw restaurant for some brew and food.
I am so incredibly happy that my brother came with me for an adventure weekend! Usually our definitions of “a fun weekend” are very different but I was pleasantly surprised with his decision to join me. I know how cautious he is and how much he hates heights and I am so proud of both of his mountains. It’s pretty cool to go from 0 summits to 2 summits in two days and I hope he joins me again!