5 Best Picnic Spots In Banff You Must Visit!

picnic spots in Banff
Image by Jondolar Schnurr from Pixabay/Copyright 2016

Finding a few picnic spots in Banff is not unusual. In fact, in the presence of the renowned Banff National Park, you’ll witness the most lavish surroundings with ethereal views and wonderful picnic experiences.

Packed with picnic tables, and great food, along with a paved walking trail around, you’ll discover great picnic spots in Banff to choose from. All picnic areas have something unique to offer, from the scenic views of Bow River to the Spray Valley Provincial Park, you’ll witness the perfect picnic experience here in Banff.

So, pack your picnic lunch and be ready with a few picnic tables to get started with your favorite picnic site in Banff. Even though a lot of picnic spots in Banff do not have fire pits, it would be a safe option to carry one camp stove around with you, during your hiking trail.

Without further ado, let’s look into some of the most exquisite picnic spots in Banff near the Banff National Park, where you can find picnic tables, flush toilets, and much more facilities in one picnic area. Sit back tight and read on to find out the best picnic spots in Banff for a hot summer day in the Canadian Rockies.

1. Best Picnic spots in Banff

1.1 Lake Minnewanka Picnic Area

This fascinating lake area takes the first spot on our list of best picnic spots in Banff, and for a good reason, of course. This stunning glacial lake is filled with prominent hiking trails and a gorgeous lake view from the picnic site with great facilities.

One of the reasons why Lake Minnewanka is so popular is that you can experience a glamorous and adventurous boat cruise at the lake on summer days. If not a boat cruise, you can also bring your own paddleboards or kayaks to start your personal lake tour and enjoy the magnificent beauty of the lake surrounded by tall, snow-capped mountains.

Along with over 35 picnic tables, this place is spacious and has room for many family picnickers during the summer. But you may be cautious about the parking lot since it gets full pretty fast during the busy days of Summer. It is always best to arrive early to get your spot booked ahead of time.

picnic spots in Banff
Image from Banff & Lake Louise

It has clean flush toilets on the picnic site along with fireplaces and fire rings. You may also find Kitchen shelters in the picnic area as well. The town of Banff could be enjoyed massively if you visit this lovely place with one picnic table on a happy summer day with your family or friends.

When it comes to the hiking trail in Lake Minnewanka, there are a few you could visit like the Stewert Canyon Hike and the Alymer Lookout Hike, which you can visit if you have extra time at hand, since it is a bit far, but filled with gorgeous scenes. So, do not miss out on these glorious hiking trails, if you’re already at Lake Minnewanka.

The Banff Townsite and its Lake Minnewanka are among the ideal picnic spots in Banff that you can visit in Canada. You may not find fire pits, but there are other plenty facilities to picnic in Banff and its picnic spots. This picnic area is certainly among the best.

1.2 Muleshoe Picnic Area

Situated along the Bow Valley Parkway, this top-notch site is among the best picnic spots in Banff due to its large area and a good range of facilities like flush toilets, picnic tables, and other incredible options to look forward to.

Mulshoe Picnic area is one of the few picnic spots in Banff where you can get a great view of the CPR train passing by. It is a wonderful opportunity to sit back at the picnic tables and enjoy the relaxing and calming view with your family, and friends. Kids love watching the train pass by along with the elegant view of Mulshoe Lake, so it is a great place for lovely and quality family time.

During the day trip, you’ll have fun playing with the kids and enjoying a great time taking a seat at the red Banff chairs strewn at the picnic site. Among all the picnic areas in Banff, Mulshoe is well-known for having the largest parking lot. So, it is a great advantage for people to stop by this scenic picnic spot even during packed days.

The exposure to vehicles has been stopped since 2022. One can just cycle up to the Bow Valley Parkway and enjoy the picnic site at any time they like. There are also plenty of shade spots at Mulshoe. They are pretty convenient to use if the sunny days get hotter.

A project has started in 2022 by Parks Canada. The eastern part of Johnston Canyon to Bow Valley Parkway will be prohibiting vehicles, especially during the season of Winter and Spring. Precisely, Mulshoe is one of the greatest picnic spots in Banff during the summertime.

Even the Johnston Canyon is also a great picnic spot to visit meanwhile you’re at Mulshoe. It has 5 picnic tables along with flush toilets of the same. Along with an exciting Johnston Hiking trail, to the Lower falls of Johnston Canyon. It would be a perfect adventure. Additionally, you can take a rest day at the Banff Hotel as well. It is just nearby the Banff National Park.

It has over 10 picnic tables and flush toilets. So, it is among the most convenient picnic areas in Banff, near the Banff National Park. The picnic area has scenic views of the Bow River, Lake Louise, and Mulshoe Lake along the trains passing by.

You can also spot a ‘hole in the cake’ if you look up to the mountains surrounding Mulshoe. So, don’t forget to visit this breathtaking picnic area in Banff. It is one of the most anticipated picnic spots in Banff.

1.3 Banff Recreation Grounds

Being one of the most popular picnic spots in Banff, the Banff Recreation Grounds certainly deserves a big mention here in this list. If this marvelous picnic area could win an award. That would be for having the best playground in Banff townsite.

Located across the Bow River in Central Park, this picnic area is also close to a lot of required destinations like a Museum, Ice-cream shops, and even restaurants. If you’re looking for the perfect picnic area which will seize your boredom, this is the one. Especially, if you have kids or a young one with you. The Banff Recreation grounds will keep them engaged all time.

It is one of the few picnic spots in Banff which has fire pits along with a number of large picnic tables. You have a large playground for bike riding, a tennis court and even for playing basketball. This picnic area is certainly an all-rounder among the other picnic spots in Banff.

This picnic area is ideally set up for a whole family fun experience. Even if you’re not into playground games and want to enjoy solitary time in peaceful isolation, head on straight to the wooden chairs near the mountains and Lake Louise. You’ll certainly enjoy an amazing time in solitary, whilst enjoying the elegant beauty of the picnic area.

picnic spots in Banff
Image from Banff Recreation Grounds

The picnic area also has a large parking lot, which is completely free. You’ll end up saving a lot if you visit this amazing picnic spot, with fun and exciting games to play with your friends and family as well.

It is solely a wonderful location to spend some quality time with your family. Your kids may engage themselves in fun playground games. They have also introduced a brand new skating zone, a skatepark. It is the best you can find in the Canadian Rockies. There are also small stoves in this picnic area where you can try barbequing as well.

You may also have access to the hiking trails that goes up to the Bow Valley Parkway while bringing you back to the town of Banff. In short, the Banff Recreation Grounds of Banff National Park is definitely an ideal picnic spot for everyone.

It does not matter if you love games or enjoy moments alone. This picnic area has every option you’re looking for. You can now be assured why this fabulous picnic area is regarded as one of the best picnic spots in Banff.

1.4 Johnson Lake

Regarded as the sister of Quarry Lake of Canmore, this ethereal Johnson Lake is another one of the epic picnic spots in Banff. The list of things that you can do at Johnson Lake is unlimited. It has fun-featured facilities and a great location spot.

It is situated at the loop of Lake Minnewanka. It is a wonderful picnic area for spending quality family time with your kids and parents. There are plenty of picnic tables located near the lake of the site, along with a sandy beach. So, you can watch your kids play by the waters. They can play with the sand toys when you can go on with your picnicking time.

Johnson Lake is a great hike spot as well. You can witness a rope swing and benches spread and swings whilst going up the hiking trail. Even though there are no fire pits, there are other facilities like fire rings and pit toilets.

picnic spots in Banff
Image from Banff & Lake Louise

The best part about the Johnson Lake picnic spot is the Lake, obviously. You can have a wonderful time enjoying the magnificent view of greenery-packed nature and mountains. So, hit the waters with a paddleboard, kayak, or just a simple boat. Remember that this picnic area does not provide rentals. So, it is best to bring your own and plan your schedule beforehand.

The place has biking racks and a washing station. You can lock your bikes before you enter the picnic spot. Your kids can have a fun time playing with water and other stuff at the washing station. With so many great aspects, no wonder this place is one of the best picnic spots in Banff.

For the hiking trail, you can view the magnificent beauty of the Cascade Mountains along with Rundle Mountain. It is a fascinating experience to stop by this gorgeous Johnson Lake. Especially for its popularity and anticipation from the Banff dwellers. So, make sure to check out this lovely heaven of nature, when visiting Banff.

1.5 Baker Creek

Last but definitely not least, Baker Creek is another one of the best picnic spots in Banff. It has a perfect setting for a wonderful picnic time experience on a calm day of summer in the Banff area. Situated near Lake Louise and the Baker Creek Resort, this place is the epitome of calmness and relaxation.

Baker Creek region is indeed a treasure trove amongst the other picnic spots in the Banff area. It may not that renowned or popular for being a picnic spot. But, it does have great things to offer. It is among the few picnic spots in Banff, where you’ll find the vision of wildlife. Isn’t that exciting?

It is for those who love adventures, greenery, and wildlife. Baker Creek has to be your go-to picnic spot in Banff. There is also a meadow region situated just next to Baker Creek. Both of these places are the ideal locations to witness wildlife amidst the Banff National Park or Bow Valley Parkway.

You can see different and unique birds along the way to Baker Creek. If you’re lucky you may spot a Kingly Bull Elk while making your way to the forest. Either way, it is a lovely and unique picnic spot in Banff. It is absolutely endearing. This place may not be everyone’s favorite, but if you adore wildlife and adventure whilst picnicking, then you’ve found your match!

This place is filled with a lot of shades as well. So, you’ll be well-protected if the weather gets too hot or too rainy. Baker Creek is not like any ordinary picnic spot. But something extraordinary and peculiar. So, if you’re up for the adrenaline rush, don’t forget to visit one of the amazing picnic spots in Banff.

2. Conclusion

Finally, we made it to the end of the best picnic spots in Banff but there are still a lot of other great picnic spots that need to be mentioned. a few of them are – The Cascade Ponds, The Two Jack Picnic Area, and the Sundance Canyon.

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These three spots are also lovely places in Banff if you’re up for a wonderful picnicking tour near the Banff National Park. You may also find a national historic site meanwhile because picnic sites are stuffed there as well.

Good Luck Picnicking in Banff!

Sampurna is an experienced food & travel niche writer, passionate about reading and loves experimenting with new destinations and their cuisine. Aspiring to become a professional lifestyle blogger, with a media studies background, she will lead you through some of the best recipes, restaurants, and landmarks worldwide.