Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sulphur Mountain & Sundance Canyon January 20, 2018

I can't help myself, I keep looking at web cams from throughout Banff National Park and I sigh and I just want to be there.  Thursday morning rolled around and I then had time to consider where I might like to hang out on Saturday.  It was looking like I would have to go solo so needed some place safe.  Sulphur!  Sundance!  I am probably the only avid hiker who has not hiked up the front side of Sulphur under the Gondola.  In getting my focus back on track which I forgot about, I went for something new.  
I began early with intentions to be on the top before loads of tourists arrive.  Today is the first day the Gondola is running after the annual winter maintenance closure.  My pack was light, only microspikes and poles were needed, and off to the top I trekked.  

It was just me and the trees.
Every now and then I got a peek between the trees.
Thank goodness for switchbacks, they made for an easy quick ascent.  I arrived at the top just as the first Gondola tourists of the day were arriving.   I hoped for a pretty view and I got it.  Banff just woke up.  You can see little brown Tunnel Mountain bottom right.
At the far end where Cosmic Ray meets up with the boardwalk was the best spot for a summit shot.
new untouched snow
morning tea time
After checking out the views from the boardwalk I checkout out inside then took the stairs to the fourth floor and headed back outside.   This new facility is wonderful.  The fires were going and that paired with the chairs, the scenery and sunshine, I could not resist the invitation to just sit.....
.....take it all in and "remember to breathe"!
some of the sights from up on Sulphur
Slowly the tourists began to arrive, gondola car by gondola car.  The place was not overloaded yet.  After investing time to see all I wanted to see and experience all I wanted to experience up here, I hopped the gondola down.  It was a free ride which is the case in winter months if you hiked up.  This was my view out the open window.
I have only been out to Sundance Canyon once so I added that to today's Banff adventure  to see it in full on winter mode.  While the parking lot was packed the trail was not.  I made quick time down the trail getting to where the Bow River was accessible.
along the Bow
the river, the mountains
I reached the entrance to Sundance Canyon.
You can see the suspended bridge down below that I crossed.
The section going up to the bridge was dicey as was the section getting up to here.   The stairs and steps along the way were filled in with snow and that was compacted and straight up and down and slippery.  Even with microspikes it was sketchy.   That being said, it was pretty up here and worth the sketchy stretches.
On the way back the views were just as sweet.  
I captured one last photograph.  
I like shadow shots like this.  
It shows how sunny today was. 

I was reminded again today how fortunate I am to have this beautiful National Park out my back door.  I saw so much it seemed like I was away forever.  What a wonderful escape today and I am thankful for that!


  1. I hiked up Sulpher for the 1st time too last spring. Not my favorite but the views are gorgeous at the top. Have you ever hiked up the back (cosmic ray) way?

    1. I have hiked and snowshoed up the Cosmic Ray Road a few times. That way is my preference to make for a longer day shared with friends. Yes the views at the top are gorgeous!


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