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Dining in the Canadian Rockies: Favorite Picnic Spots

by K Gordon Schultz
Muleshoe Picnic Area, Banffd National Park

It’s Sunday afternoon, we completed all the household chores earlier this morning, and the family has been just hanging out in the backyard, soaking up a bit of sun. And Mum lazily asks what would we like to do for dinner?

And the chorus all chimed in “let’s go for a picnic!!!”

Now this is a family thing that we started doing years ago, and being able to do it spontaneously is something have organized for. We have a portable BBQ and Coleman stove fired by a 10lb propane tank. From our camping gear, we have one tub with dishes, pots and utensils. Load up a couple of lawn chairs, a cooler with whatever we will prepare for dinner and away we go!

Muleshoe Picnic Area

Over the years, Muleshoe Picnic Area as become our favorite picnic spot to head to, and is located on the Bow Valley Parkway, 5.5km from its eastern junction with the #1 Highway outside of Banff.

Muleshoe picnic area is directly above Muleshoe Pond and the CPR tracks. More often than not we will see Elk and Mule Deer in the area, and when the trains go thru, the engineer waving back is so close you can see big smiles coming back at you. For the more adventurous, or for those with no dinner chores, there is a short 1.1km nature trail starting immediately across from the picnic area. The trail takes you up to a huge open meadow with a panoramic view of the Bow Valley from Castle Mountain to the peaks overlooking Banff. With its southern exposure, Muleshoe is ideal for early season picnics, but in the spring, check everyone over for wood ticks when you return home or to your hotel.

As with all Banff National Park picnic areas, no permits are required, and tables with bench seats are abundant. Open fires are not allowed and nor is alcohol, so leave the adult beverages out of the picnic kit!

And if you don’t have all the picnic or camping gear like our family, drop into one of the Banff or Canmore grocery stores and visit the deli salads, cold meats and breads. However you do it, there is nothing like having a meal with family and friends in the great outdoors of the Canadian Rockies!

More picnic spots to consider:

Cascade Pond

Head north along Banff Avenue to Highway 1; continue under the #1 Highway and take your second right into the large picnic area directly in front of you.

Valley View

Head north along Banff Avenue to Highway 1; head east on the #1 Highway towards Calgary, approximately 9km on your right.

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