Summer in Banff – So Much to do, So Little Time #MyBanffFBC

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.

Buffalo Mountain lodge

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.

Buffalo Mountain lodge Banff

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.

Buffalo Mountain Lodge Banff hot tub

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!

Buffalo Mountain Lodge Banff Premier Room

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.

buffalo mountain lodge lounge

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. soberjulie-banff-park-salad

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

With a bunch of foodie bloggers touring restaurants around Banff, we would have been far too stuffed to continue if we didn’t get in some exercise. One cool way to explore Banff and burn come calories is to take out some townie bikes from Banff Adventures Unlimited. It’s inexpensive to rent the bikes, just $12/hr or $35 for the day and includes a helmet, bike lock and a bike trail map.
We met with the awesome Jonnie from Banff Lake Louise Tourism and headed out on some adorable townie bikes to explore Banff and hit some more restaurants and sights along the way.
Photo Courtesy of The Healthy Maven
Photo Courtesy of The Healthy Maven

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.

Photo Courtesy of The Healthy Maven

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.

Biking in Banff is a breeze, there are plenty of hills but all in all it’s a lovely way to explore and be IN the sights.
We visited Bow River falls and took a moment to be IN that moment. Then we were onto Vermilion Lakes which are wetlands where you’ll see wildlife and Mount Rundle in the background.

Juniper Bistro

As the day was drawing to a close we biked over to Juniper Bistro to enjoy dinner. After biking all day I was gasping…which means I was thirsty! Thankfully the Juniper Bistro has some fantastic choices for non-alcoholic drinks and I enjoyed a lovely virgin sangria with a killer view on the patio. Juniper Bistro is located within the Juniper Hotel where the sun shines strong and the views are incredible.
We sat and enjoyed one another, rehashing the fun events of the day while indulging in some seriously delicious food!
My dinner choice was Mushroom Gnocchi which had roasted peppers, wild mushrooms, pistachio, goat cheese, romesco and arugula w/ brown butter gnocchi. It was divine, to the point where I almost wished there was more!
Ethan chose the Juniper Burger – short rib & brisket patty, black pepper bacon, smoked cheddar, Juniper berry dijon, aioli and pickles in a house made brioche bun with triple cooked chips. I have to share it with you all because it looks devilishly good…and I really like that I have a photo of Ethan taking a photo.
The Juniper Bistro was an experience I would love to repeat one day with my family. They proudly offer gluten-free and vegetarian options for every meal which will make choosing easier for my gluten-free child.

Mt Norquay’s Via Ferrata and Cliffhouse Bistro

After a good night’s rest at Buffalo Lodge, we all boarded a taxi and headed to enjoy Mt Norquay’s Via Ferrata. Mt. Norquay is Canada’s first ski resort, opened in 1926 it now offers a variety of sports and activities year round. We were offered the choice of climbing Mt Norquay on the Via Ferrata Explorer route. Well now, this 42-year-old woman was bound and determined to do this…and then my serious fear of heights took over so I chose the sight seeing option instead.
We all took a 10 minute chair lift ride up Mt. Norquay and after waving goodbye to the writers who were braver than I…I went to the outlook spot to enjoy the view.
I don’t even have words to express the magnitude of the mountains….I’ll let the photo explain…
mt norquay
This was one of those moments where I realize how very lucky I am to be on this Earth.soberjulie-banff-mt-norquay
Once my friends were done braving the mountain, we all headed into the Cliffhouse Bistro to enjoy some nibbles and relish in their glow of achievement. The Cliffhouse reminds me of a James Bond hideaway, built right into the mountain. The neat thing is that all of the materials used to build the Cliffhouse were brought up by the chairlift in the 1950s.
We enjoyed some fresh focaccia breads with spread, homemade chips and a divine charcuterie board.
After enjoying our time on Mt. Norquay we headed back to Buffalo Mountain Lodge to soak in the claw foot tub and rest up for our evening.
Indian Summer at Fairmont Banff Springs
For the evening meal, we had the pleasure of going to Indian Summer in the Rundle Lounge at Fairmont Banff Springs. Fairmont Banff Springs is heralded around the world as one of the very best luxury hotels in the world. As we spied the castle (yes it really looks like a castle) in the distance I felt my British-bred heart begin to quicken.
Photo Courtesy of Fairmont Banff Springs
Photo Courtesy of Fairmont Banff Springs
The hotel is steeped in history which you can see on their site, suffice it to say that the atmosphere brought me back to my days touring castles in England. Knowing I’d be dining at Indian Summer was a highlight of the trip to Banff. Indian Summer is a seasonal restaurant which can only be enjoyed in the summer. We enjoyed a sampling menu which was specially prepared for us.
Chef J.W. Foster has created a lively menu which challenged me to explore. It is artfully thought out, with freshly made Naan and chicken masala calling my name. Chef Vij also had a hand in Indian Summer, taking on the creation of 2 dishes to compile what has resulted in a variety of Indian cuisine any traveller would be fortunate to enjoy.
Dessert….oh yes it was scrumptious.
Amidst a table full of colourful, flavourful foods we learned all about the history of Fairmont Springs and were absorbed by the view. The clatter of the cutlery on the plates, the view…well the whole experience was unique and over-the-top memorable in a very good way.

Final Thoughts

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.

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31 Responses

  1. 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.

  2. 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!!!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!!!!

  5. 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.

  6. One of my favourite places all year long. I grew up just minutes outside Banff. The beauty is large than life

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. We stay at BUFFALO MOUNTAIN LODGE every year and love it! Banff and Jasper are my favorite holiday destination!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

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