Bow Lake, Banff National Park

16 Reviews

# Highway 93 Icefield Parkway
  • Crowfoot Glacier & Bow Lake, Banff National Park
    Crowfoot Glacier & Bow Lake, Banff...
    by spidermiss
  • Moraine Field on the Bow Glacier Falls hiking trail
    Moraine Field on the Bow Glacier Falls...
    by Jefie
  • Bow Glacier Falls, Banff National Park, AB
    Bow Glacier Falls, Banff National Park,...
    by Jefie

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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    Hiking up to Bow Glacier Falls

    by Jefie Updated Sep 4, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Bow Lake area was for the most part developed by Jimmy Simpson, who had emigrated to the Rockies from England in 1896 at the age of 19. He explored the area around Bow Lake, and quickly became a living legend because of his highly entertaining personality. In 1923, he built a first log cabin near Bow Lake. The completion of the Icefields Parkway in 1937 created an ever bigger demand for accomodations, to which Simpson responded by building the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, a 16-room hotel completed in 1950. Although modern amenities were added to make it as comfortable as possible, the lodge largely seems to have been frozen in time. We enjoyed touring around the property, stopping by the lodge's gift shop (Simpson's Trading Post) and grabbing a quick snack at the Bow Lake Cafe. We had moved on to a different spot by dinner time, otherwise the Elkhorn dining room would have been a very tempting option.

    But visiting Num-Ti-Jah Lodge wasn't really the point of our stop in the Bow Lake area: we mostly wanted to hike up to Bow Glacier Falls. The hiking trail goes around Bow Lake and follows the glacial stream that feeds the lake up to a huge moraine field that was created by the glacier's retreat (it is estimated that the glacier has retreated by about 1.5 km since the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850). The trail ends at the foot of the 100-m-high, thunderous Bow Glacier Falls. This turned out to be my sister's favourite hike of the entire trip: she especially liked the variety of beautiful landscapes encountered along the 4.6-km trail (9.2 km round-trip). The trail is relatively flat: total elevation gain is about 180 m, and you gain most of it by climbing up a section of really steep stairs. We had packed a lunch and sat on a big boulder in the middle of the moraine field to eat it, with the sound of the rushing waterfalls in the background. On the way back to the lodge, the water had risen quite a bit as we got closer to Bow Lake, covering long trail sections, and my sister's walking sandals turned out to be a really good choice of footwear because the walking shoes I had on got soaking wet!

    Directions: A 20-min drive from the start of the Icefield Parkway

    Website: http://sntj.ca/

    Bow Glacier Falls seen from Bow Lake Pascale and I standing in front of Bow Lake Jimmy Simpson's Num-Ti-Jah Lodge Moraine Field on the Bow Glacier Falls hiking trail Bow Glacier Falls, Banff National Park, AB
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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  • PinkFloydActuary's Profile Photo

    Bow Lake & Bow Glacier

    by PinkFloydActuary Written Aug 10, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As you continue north along the Icefields Parkway, the views of Bow Lake come into play a few times. First, there is a dedicated viewpoint. Next, there's a turnoff for Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. Things confused us a little here - there's an overlook right off the highway, but if you travel down the hill, there is another parking lot with access to a short trail (there were buses here when we arrived blocking the parking areas, which led to the confusion.) The trail takes you up and close to the lake, and you can follow the short loop along the lakefront, then circle back past the lodge to get to the parking lot again. As with many of the lakes here, the water is a spectacular color and the mountain scenery is top notch. The hike itself was less than 15 minutes - well worth the time.

    Address: # Highway 93 Icefield Parkway

    Bow Glacier in the distance The view across the lake Caught the bird by accident!

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  • spidermiss's Profile Photo

    Bow Lake

    by spidermiss Updated Apr 5, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bow Lake is part of the Icefields Parkway and is at 1920 m above sea level. It's one of the smaller lakes in the National Park but it's adjacent to the Bow River. It's south of the Bow Summit where you can get great views of Wapta Icefield, Bow Glaciar, Mount Thompson and Crowfoot Glacier and Mountains.

    Address: # Highway 93 Icefield Parkway

    Directions: As above and in Banff National Park.

    Phone: 403-762-1550

    Website: http://www.pc.gc.ca

    Bow Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta Crowfoot Glacier & Bow Lake, Banff National Park
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip
    • Photography

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  • lazyman_1's Profile Photo

    Bow Lake

    by lazyman_1 Written Aug 19, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One of the many worthwhile viewpoints along the Icefields parkway is Bow lake. The water, like all Alberta lakes seemingly, is an amazing blue colour. The crowfoot mountain in the farground gives the lake a nice backdrop.

    Address: # Highway 93 Icefield Parkway

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  • madamx's Profile Photo

    Bow Lake

    by madamx Updated Sep 9, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bow Lake is located along the spectacular Icefields Parkway, otherwise known as Highway 93. Of all the famous mountain lakes in Banff National Park, Bow Lake is probably the least crowded, and just as stunning as Lake Louise. Fishing is good on Bow Lake, and when we were there in September, we saw quite a few trout in the streams located around the lake near Num-ti-jah Lodge (see next tip).

    For more stunning views , hike around the lake and up to Bow Glacier Falls.

    Address: # Highway 93 Icefield Parkway

    Directions: Just past the Lake Louise turnoff on the Trans Canada, take the Highway 93 exit. Take Highway 93 north for 36 km, and turn left onto the Bow Glacier/Num-ti-jah Road.

    Early morning clouds on Bow Lake and Bow Glacier

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  • JanPeter74's Profile Photo

    Bow Lake

    by JanPeter74 Updated Sep 16, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bow Lake is again one of those must see lakes. Surrounded by peaks and glaciers, this area provides some of the nicest scenery along the Icefields Parkway.

    Especially if you have time do a few hours of hiking. Some rather spectacular falls come of the Bow Glacier and feed the river leading to the lake. You can see both the glacier and the falls in the back of the picture.

    Address: # Highway 93 Icefield Parkway

    Bow Lake
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism

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  • JanPeter74's Profile Photo

    Bow Lake - Bow Glacier Falls hiking trail

    by JanPeter74 Written Sep 16, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A hiking trail leads along the right side of the lake and then follows the river. After a while you have some steep climbing to do (partly steps). If you gained elevation you will have some great views of the surrounding area and the falls.

    From this point you can continue for half an hour or so across the moraine. This part is rather flat but of course very rocky and filled with numerous very small undeep streams to cross, so wear good shoes.

    Address: # Highway 93 Icefield Parkway

    Bow Glacier Falls
    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • National/State Park

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  • Webboy's Profile Photo

    Bow Lake

    by Webboy Written Jul 23, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bow Lake is one of the picturesque lakes you see in many travel brochures, and it certainly lived up to expectations.

    Luckily we had the chance to see this on a clear sunny day. What a picture with all the trees surrounding it, the hills in the background, the blue shimmer from the water, and of course the Crowfoot Glacier hanging in the background!

    The Bow Lake can be found on the infamous Highway 93 - the Icefields Parkway, just minutes after the viewing point for the Crowfoot Glacier (if you are heading north).

    The Viewing point is right on the edge of the road, so there is no walk like there is at some stopping points e.g. Peyto Lake.

    A stunning picture opportunity. Worth a stop, even if only for 5 minutes!

    Address: # Highway 93 Icefield Parkway

    Directions: Just minutes after the viewing point for the Crowfoot Glacier (heading north).

    Bow Lake
    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

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  • Sakura_Kobe's Profile Photo

    Bow Lake

    by Sakura_Kobe Written Feb 1, 2004

    We also stopped at Peyto Lake and Bow Lake. After seeing, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, I didn't feel much about them. I like Bow Lake better, because I can walk along the lake. I found a stone which was shaped like Crowfoot Mountain at the lake side. It is in my living room now.

    Address: # Highway 93 Icefield Parkway

    Bow Lake
    Related to:
    • National/State Park

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  • Waalewiener's Profile Photo

    Bow Lake Columbia Ice Fields.

    by Waalewiener Written Jun 24, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I am not a 100% sure , but I believe this is Bow Lake ,this lake was still frozen when drove by,there is a viewpoint to see Bow lake and it has a Picnic site .
    Bow lake is one of the largest lake along the Ice Fields and it is fed by melt water of the Bow Glacier, and the Wapta Ice Fields ,and it is the headwaters of the Bow River.

    Address: Ice Fields Parkway Banff Alberta

    Directions: It is 196 km fom Jasper and it is of the 93 Highway.

    Bow lake.
    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel

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  • kucera.bohuslav's Profile Photo

    Crowfoot Glacier

    by kucera.bohuslav Written Oct 1, 2006

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A century ago, the crowfoot had three toes of ice. Since then the glacier has melted back and the lower toe has been lost. These days the middle toe is disappearing, too.

    Address: # Highway 93 Icefield Parkway

    Directions: 34 km from Lake Luise

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  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo

    Stop a while at Jimmy Simpsons Trading Post

    by scottishvisitor Written Aug 13, 2005

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Lovey place to stop & rest a while - the views of the mountains & Bow Lake are truley magical from here.
    After a cold drink in the sunshine visit inside for a browse at some nice gifts & great books.

    Address: # Highway 93 Icefield Parkway

    Trading Post
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • windsorgirl's Profile Photo

    Bow Lake

    by windsorgirl Updated Jul 13, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is one of the many scenic lookouts along the Icefields Parkway. It is located between Hector Lake and Lake Peyto. Hopefully you will see beautiful mountain reflections in the water as I did.

    Address: # Highway 93 Icefield Parkway

    Bow Lake, Banff NP
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park

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  • paradisedreamer's Profile Photo

    Bow Lake

    by paradisedreamer Updated Jun 18, 2003

    The lake is the source of the Bow River. Across the lake is part of a very large icefield covering an area of the Great Divide. The Bow Glacier extends from this field over the cliffs.

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  • Sharrie's Profile Photo

    Bow Lake

    by Sharrie Updated Feb 8, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    BOW LAKE: In the winter this lake is a great place for ice-skating. Check out the icy condition by in my Banff page.

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