Province/Territory: Alberta

Be a mountain climber for the day in Banff National Park

  • 3 extreme adventures of increasing distance and elevation to challenge yourself.
  • 30 metre suspension bridge and 1 thin suspension wire to cross safely between cliffs high above the valley
  • 1850 metre long Via Ferreta is the only one in a National Park in Canada

Clip into a climbing harness, reach for the hand holds and step on the metel rungs to experience a challenge once reserved only for extreme athletes. Using the only Via Ferreta in Banff National Park you can stand on the peak of Mount Norquay to raise your hands in the air and shout out, “I did it!” to the valley far below. Join a small group of adventurers led by a certified alpine guide on an assisted climbing experience up mountain cliffs and ridges. Three different experiences use cables, skinny suspension bridges, ladders, and narrow trails to safely wind to breathtaking vistas or the summit in this UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Site. Take pictures crossing the bridges or clinging to the rock face with the iconic Mount Rundle in the background so your friends at home can see how courageous you’ve become. Gaze at the peaks that surround you and at the town of Banff so far below. Learn about the terrain, the thick pristine forests and the animals you might encounter. Breathe it all in - the fresh air, the scenery and the challenge. You can do it!

Why you should visit
  • Three tours are offered varying in length and terrain led by ACMG certified guides. The 2.5 hour Explorer Route introduces you to the Via Ferreta using the first few pitches and suspension bridge and is great for people wanting to experience the attraction in a short time. The 4 hour Ridgewalker takes you beyond the suspension bridge high up the Norquay cliffs using more ladders, cables and traverses on exposed ridges.
  • The 6 hour Mountaineer Route includes the Ridgewalker experience but continues to the East Summit of Mount Norquay. Everyone tests their new confidence as they balance on the 3-wire suspension bridge over an impressive deep chasm - twice! An alpine lunch and après adventure celebration at the Cliffhouse is included in the Mountaineer experience.
  • Watch for wildlife on the ride to the 7 minute chairlift ride. Many bears, deer, elk and coyotes call the summer slopes of Mount Norquay home.
  • Step out of your comfort zone to realize how much more you are capable of doing. Learn to trust yourself to explore beyond your own limitations.
  • Be surrounded by fresh air, stunning scenery and ancient rock.
  • Along the route your guides will share their wealth of knowledge of the history of the mountains, the flora, the fauna and the community of Banff.
  • Take the best action photos of your friends as they balance on a cable bridge suspended high above the valley.
  • Stop in at the Cliffhouse Bistro after the adventure to enjoy a light snack and share your experience with other groups who also just climbed their first mountain.

Weather

The long brilliant days of summer offer visitors lots of daylight to explore the mountains and communities in Banff National Park but the evenings can be cool and seasonal storms can arrive expectantly. The summer months can also see snow so cold weather precautions should be taken any time of the year Winter is definitely cooler with an abundance of snow.

  • Spring (April – May) still has a large volume of snow falling but the daily temperature is warming up. April’s average daytime temperature is 4C and May is 8C. Warmer coats, gloves and boots are advised.
  • Summer days (June to August) are long with daytime temperatures reaching highs of 15 C and cooling in the evenings to 5 C. Less than 10 cm of rain is expected each month but it can be misty. So always bring sun protection, a sweater and rain protection.
  • November through March expect lots of snow (up to 2.6 metres) and an average temperature of -10C.
  • Banff weather.
Visitor information
  • Climbing and hiking are rewarding experiences but are strenuous activities needing a good level of fitness. The tour is not wheelchair accessible.
  • Participants need to be a minimum of 12 years of age and any participant needs to weigh between 35 kg (77 lbs) and 140 kg (308 lbs).
  • Safety gear, hiking boots, raingear, gloves, helmets, sunscreen and backpacks are provided. Participants can bring their own collapsible hiking poles for the descents.  
  • Tours are offered during the warmer seasons and operate rain or shine. Reservations are strongly advised.
  • All guides are professional and certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and take no more than 8 guests at a time.
  • Book your experience directly though http://summer.banffnorquay.com/.
When to go
  • Via Ferreta tours are offered daily June through October.
  • Tours run rain or shine and are only cancelled if it is snowing.  
  • The chairlift is open for sightseeing during the summer and can be combined with a dining experience at the Cliffhouse Bistro.
  • Mount Norquay is open in the winter for skiing, snowboarding and tubing.
Need to know
  • The tours take up to 6 hours to complete but most people linger at the Cliffhouse Bistro to continue the experience before taking the chairlift down to the main lodge.
  • It’s cooler and breezy at the top of the mountain so packing a light wind resistant jacket is advised.
  • Bring your camera to capture the adventure.
  • Bring warm layers, a small backpack, sturdy hiking shoes, snack, water and sunscreen.
  • All safety gear is provided. If visitors don’t have essential items like hiking shoes, they are provided free of charge.
Getting Here
  • Mount Norquay is 7.4 km north of the town of Banff in Banff National Park in the province of Alberta and accessed from the TransCanada highway at the town of Banff.
  • Closest international airport: Calgary International Airport (YYC) 130 kilometres east of Banff.
  • Bus shuttle from the Calgary International Airport to Banff.
  • Bus shuttles to Mount Norquay from the town of Banff.