You can’t drive through the mountain parks without looking at majestic peaks surrounding you on all sides and wondering what it would feel like to stand on one of them. Fortunately for those not equipped with a background in rock climbing or mountaineering, there are many easy summits to tackle. A couple of them even offer gondola or tramway support to reach all but the last 100-200 metres of the mountain top.
Sulphur Mountain, Banff National Park
With the price of a gondola ticket, you can reach within 30 metres of the summit of Sulphur Mountain and introduce even your youngest child to climbing mountains. From the upper gondola terminal the Sulphur Mountain Vista Trail leads to the summit via a 2km return hike on a very good boardwalk with stairs. Hikers who are up for more of a challenge can also ascend the Sulphur Mt. Trail to the summit in 700 metres spread out over 6km. Paying for a one-way gondola ticket on the way down is a nice reward at the end that may even entice children to climb to the summit.
Tunnel Mountain, Banff National Park
This is a classic summit in Banff that is located right within the town site off Tunnel Mountain Drive. With 4.6km return and 275 metres of height gain, it is an enjoyable half-day hike that begs to be done at least once while touring through the Rockies. From the top you will be able to sit on big flat rock slabs to have lunch while you look down on the entire town of Banff and Vermillion Lakes.
Whistler’s Summit, Jasper National Park
This hike offers one of the easiest ways to access the alpine in a national park, thanks to the Jasper Tramway which carries you up almost 1000 metres with no effort on your part. A few minutes after entering the tram, you will be looking down on all of Jasper far beneath you. From the tramway upper terminal, it is just a short 3km return hike to the summit of Whistler’s Mountain. The elevation gain is less than 200 metres, making this a great first summit for families and young children.
The Bear’s Hump, Waterton National Park
While not an official mountain, this small hump on the lower slopes of Mt. Crandell offers an amazing view of the Waterton Lakes. Every summer, visitors to the park depart from the Waterton Visitor Centre to tackle this small summit. The short 200 metre climb may leave you out of breath in spots, but it ends with the best view 2.8 km (return) can provide.
We’d like to thank blogger Tanya Koob for writing this blog post for us to feature on our site. Visit Tanya’s blog Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies to learn about the joys and challenges of exploring the Canadian Rockies with children.