About Sunshine Meadows Banff National Park
Situated at an elevation of 2200m in Banff National Park, Sunshine meadows straddle the Continental Divide and the boundary between Alberta and British Columbia.
Sunshine Meadows, better known as home to Sunshine Village, is famous for its beautiful setting with alpine meadows covered with carpet of fire weed and glacier lilies with the snow-capped Canadian Rockies as backdrop. Accessible via road or through Gondola, Sunshine Meadows is a hikers paradise.
What to do at Sunshine Meadows Banff ?
Things to do at Sunshine Meadows Banff
1. Hike your own or take guided hikes along one of the many trails with rating varying from easy to difficult, above the tree line, soaking in the extraordinary scenery presented by the Rockies with alpine lakes, meadows carpeted with wild flowers and viewing wildlife like grizzlies, elks in the distance.
2. Ride the Standish quad chairlift (Sunshine Village Ski Lift) to over 2,400 m (7,875 ft) – the highest Gondola / Chairlift access sightseeing elevation in the Banff and Lake Louise area – and experience 360 degree views of the Rocky Mountains that surround you. From there, catch even more breathtaking scenery from the Standish viewpoint platform and take in the view of the three high-alpine lakes; Larynx, Grizzly and Rock Isle.
3. Take part in one of the many events held in Sunshine Meadows like photography workshops and Wild flower hunt.
4. Try the 3 hour yoga session.
5. Join for Interpretive guided hiking tour.
6. Stay 7,000 feet above ordinary in a luxury wilderness resort at the Sunshine Mountain Lodge.
Sunshine Meadows Trails Sunshine Meadows Trail Map)
1. Rock Isle Lake
An easy hike of 3.2 km round trip with 90 minutes round trip, which takes one to the scenic Rock Isle Lake viewpoint.
To do this most popular hike in Sunshine meadows, from the Sunshine Village Nature Centre, take left and walk around 1.2 km through the alpine meadows to reach a fork in the road. Take right (left goes to Citadel Pass) and go downhill, after about 400 m, one will reach the scenic Rock isle lake viewpoint. Enjoy walking along the trail for another few meters enjoying the serene atmosphere. Return back the same way.
2. Grizzly-Larix Lakes Loop
An easy hike of approx. 8 km round trip with 3.5 hours duration.
From the Rock Isle Lake view point, continue the trail for another 200 m to reach a junction. Take the left trail till the path forks again. Go either way (a 2.8 km loop) to walk pass the Grizzly lake and the Larix Lake.If going, clock wise, one will reach the Larix Lake first. Walk half way along the shore line to reach a left trail that goes to the Simpson view point, which overlooks the Simpson river valley. Continue along the loop to reach the Grizzly Lake. Walk the shore line trail to reach where you started the loop. Return the same way.
3. Twin Cairns-Meadow Park / Sunshine Meadows Loop
The best hike to experience the Sunshine Meadows in all its glory.
6.6 km with 2 hours and 40 minutes duration.
If including the 1 km (round trip) Standish view point and Grizzly-Larix Lakes Loop (2.8 km) – Half a day (around 4 – 4.5 hours hike with a total round trip distance of approx. 10.3 km. Ideal for a day trip.
Take right from the trail junction where the Grizzly-Larix Lakes Loop starts, and continue for 500m to reach the trail that fork rights which goes to Standish view point. Take this half a kilometre trail to reach the Standish View point structure. Enjoy looking down the valley. Return and continue the Twin – Cairns Meadow Park trail for another 2.8 km, hiking along log bridges and boardwalks enjoying the wildflowers filled meadow to reach Monarch Viewpoint atop Wawa ridge. Take right at the viewpoint and walk another 1.6 kms to reach back to the Sunshine village.
Moderate Hike with 18 km round trip of 6-7 hours duration.
From the Sunshine village nature centre, take left and walk through the alpine meadows to reach a fork in the road. Take left and walk along the continental divide for approximately 4 km to reach the Quartz ridge. Continue for another 4.3 km the beautiful Canadian Rockies to reach the Citadel Pass. GPS coordinates : 51.01931,-115.7104. Sunshine Meadows – Citadel Pass – Assiniboine Park is a very popular trail with hikers backpacking into Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park.
5. Healy Pass
Approximately 22 km with 7-8 hours duration with rest & replenishment stops.
From the Sunshine Village nature centre, take the right Simpson Pass Trail and walk around 1.6 km to reach the Monarch Viewpoint. Continue right at the junction and walk past the open meadows and down through the trees lined trail to reach the junction where the Simpson trail meets with the Healy Creek trail which starts from the Sunshine village Parking lot. Continue along to reach the Healy Pass. Return the same way.If you miss the last gondola down, you can continue down to the parking lot, via Healy Creek trail.
Sunshine Meadows Banff in winter
See Sunshine Village
How much to see Sunshine Meadows Banff?
Admission/Fees Sunshine Meadows Banff
Free if walking from the parking lot.
Banff Sunshine Summer Gondola & Standish Chairlift
Adult (16+): $45
Senior (65+): $42
Family (2 Adults / 2 Youth): $109
Youth/Child (6-15): $23
Toddler (0-5): FREE
Adult (16+): $39
Senior (65+): $37
Family (2 Adults / 2 Youth): $99
Youth/Child (6-15): $19
Toddler (0-5): FREE
Town of Banff to Sunshine Bus Daily Shuttles – Return
Sunshine Village operates a daily shuttle service to and from the Town of Banff.
How to get tickets?
For Reservations, call: 1-87-SKI-BANFF (1-877-542-2633)
Front Desk, call: 1-403-762-6500
Outside North America: 1-403-705-4000
When to visit Sunshine Meadows Banff ?
Gondola gets you to the village where the Standish Chairlift runs 7 days a week during the operating season and takes you up the viewing deck and trail heads.
Sunshine Meadows Banff Hours / Time – 2019 Hours
Standish Viewing Deck Opens: June 28, 2019
Standish Chairlift Operates 7 Days a week from June 28 – September 8, 2019
You can hike up and down any time you want from late spring to fall, when the road is snow free. (~ 1.5 hour to hike up).
Banff Sunshine Summer Gondola & Standish Chairlift:
JUNE 28 – SEPTEMBER 8, 2019 | DAILY
Gondola: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Standish Chairlift: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Who all can go to Sunshine Meadows Banff ?
All those who enjoy hiking. Young kids can easily do the Rock Isle Lake Hike.
How to get to Sunshine Meadows Banff ?
Sunshine Meadows Banff Locations/directionsTake exit toward Sunshine from Trans Canada Highway, travel onto Range Rd 130A/ sunshine road. Travel on sunshine road for 8.5 km to reach the Sunshine village Parking lot.
From there, hike 6 km (500m elevation gain) or take the Gondola to reach the Sunshine Village Nature Centre, which is the trail head for all hikes.
Sunshine village Trail Head: GPS : 51.080058,-115.781652
How long will it take to see Sunshine Meadows Banff ?
Depending on interest, 2 hours to full day
Gondola ride is 4.5 km (2.8 miles) long. – 22 mins
What about Amenities, Accessibility?
Gift shops, Deli – Mad Trapper’s Smokehouse and retail shop
Dining – Quite a few dining options available – Java Lift, Mad Trapper’s Smokehouse, Chimney Corner or Eagle’s Nest located in the Sunshine Mountain Lodge.
Wash rooms .
Lodging: Sunshine Mountain Lodge: Open June 28 – September 8, 2019
The Gondola is wheelchair accessible but the Chairlift is not.
Strollers are allowed but just not up the chairlift.
Stroller can be used on Rock Isle Lake trail.
Parking at Sunshine village Parking lot.