We arranged to arrive early at the Gondola, taking the transit bus from the hotel. For $5 each we both bought a day pass right on the bus. The gondola trip to the mountain is short but the views are breathtaking. We didn’t quite know what to expect and we were pleasantly surprised with the long boardwalk up the observatory that we can actually see from our hotel!
We were fortunate to see a few animals like the bighorn sheep, the American pica, a hoary marmot, a few squirrels and a grey jay while having our lunch. The facilities were still in construction and there was a lot of noise but the beauty made up for it.
We spent about 3 hours there, from 10am to 1pm. In the afternoon we walked up the hot springs but opted out because of the chlorinated water.