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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.