As a Canadian who happens to love the outdoors, I’ve heard of the beauty of Banff, Alberta since I was a child and have always dreamed of visiting. From the majestic mountains, gorgeous lakes to the hiking trails and the animals, it seemed the opportunities were endless and they all screamed for me to hop on a plane and visit.
To be completely honest, in all of my imaginations I have envisioned visiting in the Winter season. When I was contacted by Banff Tourism and offered the chance to visit Banff and explore the Summer activities with the Food Bloggers of Canada I was exposed to an entirely new way of thinking towards Banff.
Of course I accepted and last week I joined 5 other bloggers to tour Banff and enjoy many activities and food…oh such delicious, fresh food we enjoyed in Banff! In this article I will highlight all of the sights we enjoyed but because it’s going to be long, I’ll have to write more in-depth articles about each one in future.
Enjoying Summer in Banff – Food, Activities and Accommodation
I had the pleasure of experiencing this trip with Ethan from Food Bloggers of Canada, Davida from The Healthy Maven, Annie from Chu on This, Louisa from Living Lou and Yuli from the Fat Girl Food Squad. Once we landed in Calgary, we caught the Banff Airporter shuttle which took us the 90 minutes to Banff. The bus was comfortable and the echos of our gasps as we laid eyes upon the mountains for the first time on the road.
Buffalo Mountain Lodge
Our accommodations for the trip was the Buffalo Mountain Lodge which is located on Tunnel Mountain, just a 15 minute walk from the heart of Banff.
The lodge is such a treat to view for the first time, it smacks of the quaint alpine resort with its rustic decor and post and beam construction truly affording the feeling of being in a mountain lodge.
The views at Buffalo Mountain Lodge were incredible, as we walked down to the hot tub we were greeted by the stunning mountain to remind us how fortunate we were to be in Banff.
There are many different room options, even pet-friendly choices. I was in a Premier Room which had a vaulted pine ceiling, a super-comfy queen sized bed (can you say excellent mattress and pillows?), a wood burning fireplace which is stocked nightly, a balcony and finally a large bathroom with a stand up shower and a to-die-for claw foot tub. Oh how I adored that claw foot tub!
The balcony was wonderful, I sat out there often with a cup of coffee in hand just marvelling at the view. Somehow the sheer magnitude of the mountains struck me in the soul, reminding me that God’s creation is vast, mysterious and the possibilities are endless.
Buffalo Mountain Lodge has some fantastic food which is served in the Sleeping Buffalo dining room. We enjoyed breakfast buffets and also a welcome dinner with the fine folks from the lodge and Tourism Banff.
The food is fresh, local cuisine which doesn’t disappoint. You’ll find a large breakfast buffet, full menu all day including game meats such elk, bison and bear on the menu which is from Canadian Rocky Mountain Ranch. This girl enjoyed trying each, and my final opinion is that this isn’t your typical snoring hotel restaurant which leaves you disappointed. The chef at Buffalo Mountain Lodge has taken his time to compile a creative, locally sourced menu which is just plan well done.
Park Distillery Restaurant & Bar
Our first outing was to Park Distillery Restaurant & Bar which has just opened in Banff. Park is a camping-inspired restaurant which takes everything I love about the cozy-camping theme and spins it into an atmosphere and menu that delights!
What says camping more than corn bread? This was the opening act and man it was GOOD!
In the mood for a lighter dish to power up for some hiking? Don’t worry there’s a Hiker’s Bowl salad that is jammed with Kale, arugula, pears, blueberries, trail mix, yogurt vinaigrette to get you going.
From the menu I chose the BBQ Flank Steak Tacos which are prepared on the rotissere/grill that Park is soon-to-be famous for. With Grilled peppers, salsa verde, corn tortillas this taco is anything but boring. As you can see the camping theme continues as its served on a baking tray, super simple and perfect for the vibe.
I could go on for DAYS talking about the desserts at Park…suffice it to say that their Ice Cream Sandwich featuring Cornflake cookies and fruitloop ice cream will be haunting me until I return!
Touring Banff on a Townie Bike
Block Kitchen and Bar
One of the stops along our tour was the Block Kitchen + Bar which is a wee hole in the wall in the heart of Banff.
If you enjoy tapas and chilling with friends like I do, Block Kitchen + Bar is the place for you. The atmosphere reminded me of a Toronto spot, it was cozy and yet had an urban chic feel. We enjoyed some Asian Lettuce Wraps which were offered with pork belly or Thai beef, pickled veggies and peanut and spicy sauces. These were not only delicious but light enough that we weren’t over-full for the rest of our bike tour. Feel free to check out their entire Lunch Menu…go on, you know you want to!
We carried on with our bike tour, at times it was hilarious as it had been over 5 years since I’d been on a bike but mama got it all under control soon enough.
We biked through the town of Banff and along the Bow River. The sights are simply breathtaking, our guide had offered to stop anywhere we wanted to snap photos…and our stops were frequent.
Mt Norquay’s Via Ferrata and Cliffhouse Bistro
I was honoured to be invited by Banff Tourism and Food Bloggers of Canada to experience this foodie trip to Banff. I have so much to process still, it’s like the beauty of the place and the healthy lifestyle focus is still echoing in my head. What a treat to find that Banff is truly a Summer travel location!
With its trails, lakes and fresh foods….well I assure you that you won’t be disappointed no matter your age, physical capabilities or dietary needs because Banff seems to be plugged in and eager to please!
Disclosure: I was a guest of Banff Lake Louise Tourism and my transportation, accommodation, excursions and meals were all covered. I am not being further compensated for writing about my experiences and all opinions are 100% my own.
Lisa Post says
WOW!!! Looks like you had a magnificent trip! Only one thing is missing from all those beautiful pictures……ME!!! lol
Next time let’s do a family trip!! Wait…the kids…ok a couples trip :0
I love Banff, I was just there a few weeks ago too. We stayed at the Caribou Lodge. I love the ambience and of course the breathtaking mountains and lakes.
There really is no place like it…
What a stunning vacation! OMG!! I too have dreamed of visiting the Rockies since I was child. From your photos, I don’t know which is better, the views or the FOOD!! Delicious!!!
I have to say….I can’t choose! The views and the food were just stunning
Angela V OSM says
What a great post, thanks for sharing! So many things to see and do! Plus the food, amazing!
Fariha @ CanadianMomEh.com says
Wow Julie! Your pictures alone tell a mouth watering tale of deliciousness. I am so happy to read of your trip. If I am not mistaken that looks like a gulab jamun on that plate at the Fairmont…lol a true desi could spot one a mile away :) I look forward to reading more about your trip.
oh Fariha you would have LOVED the food at Indian Summber, it was incredible
Lynda Cook says
Your pictures are amazing and felt like I was right there with you, you explained everything so remarkable, and I would love to go there sometime, just to breath in the fresh air and view the mountains, such a beautiful place!!!!
Thank you for saying so Lynda, it was a magnificient trip and I wasn’t certain I had words for it all
What great pictures! I would love to go biking there in the Summer! So beautiful!
Oh boy! Now I’m really hungry looking at all those yummy food pics. I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to eat the bear though…
I was in Banff 10 years ago briefly. I would love to go back for an extended stay and explore. It’s gorgeous.
One of my favourite places all year long. I grew up just minutes outside Banff. The beauty is large than life
Your photos are amazing!!! p.s you are/were only
Jenn C (@JusticeSadie) says
Loved reading the Blog Julie. It took me back to why I fell in love with Calgary/Banff/Canmore 19 years ago coming this October. So much so I quit a Lucrative Medical Sales career in the “Big Smoke” and left it ALL behind after 1 Long weekend. The Mountains are known to have that effect. So Glad you enjoyed you time in the Wild WEST. I think you may now understand what us Western Folk RAVE about! We western folk truly do live in Paradise.
Aeryn Lynne says
I was following your trip on Instagram, and figured you were having an incredible time, but WOW your post pics are gorgeous!! Not to say the Instagram photos weren’t, but these ones are just so vibrant; what beautiful settings. And the FOOD. I hadn’t realised this was a foodie trip, but geez, all those plates look amazing.
Terri Baker says
Looks just breathtaking!! The food looks so amazing.
Tammi @ My Organized Chaos says
Ahhh, banff. I do so love it there and feel very fortunate to live so close. Also, I love that we’ve been to Banff and area countless upon countless times and it still takes my breath away! Such a gem!
Oh wow! Such amazing photos!! I have to say, I have been to Banff both in winter and in spring; both seasons have it’s pros/cons but the warmer months are amazing with the views!
Doris Calvert says
We stay at BUFFALO MOUNTAIN LODGE every year and love it! Banff and Jasper are my favorite holiday destination!
These vistas are just so stunning. Your pictures really do justice to the beauty of nature. I couldn’t see the food for the exceptional mountainous backgrounds. Banff now on bucket list.
Florence C says
Thank you for sharing. The pictures say it all. I was there a few years back and it was just so breathtaking. OMG the food is making my mouth water. Canada has so much to offer when vacationing.
Darlene Demell says
I have never been out west but hope to one day get there. The scenery is absolutely breath taking and those
mountains are beautiful. The food looks fantastic. It would have been a wonderful holiday in a place like this. Glad you enjoyed your time there. Thanks for sharing.
Linda L says
Wow amazing pictures and article! I live in the East and have always wanted to visit West! Will for sure try and get there one day! Thanks!
Csilla Brimer says
We live in Colorado Springs, USA, and I am taking my two year old to Banff camping for her birthday this July. It will be our very first time in Canada, I am so excited. I always wanted to see Lake Louise and hike around Banff
Thank you for sharing this and your story.