It’s a small lake—and perhaps one that can be easily overlooked if you’re just driving on the Icefields Parkway—but that’s no reason to not make any effort to come here. Situated along the Icefields Parkway on the Bow River in the Canadian Rockies, it surrounds itself with beautiful mountain vistas including the Wapta Icefield, Bow Glacier, Bow Peak, Crowfoot Glacier, Crowfoot Mountain, and Mount Thompson.
The beauty of Bow Lake is seen when the lake itself is still. The reflection of the mountainside on the lake, the sense of serenity from the tranquility, and simply being in the middle of nature is what invigorates and refreshes you at the same time.
To enjoy Bow Lake, there’s a parking lot right off the Icefields Parkway. You can park and hike around the lake, or if you have more time, to the Bow Glacier Falls. If you really want to take in the scenery, nestled right at the bend of Bow Lake is Simpson’s Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. It is literally the only lodge within the area, and offers guests a quiet retreat from the city life.
I stayed here for one night on my way down from Jasper to Banff, and had a nice, peaceful time. The lodge itself has a wonderful rustic feel to it, with lots of family friendly activities including a billiards table, board games, books, and more. The room itself is basic but has all that you need for a night’s rest. There are no TVs or wifi in the rooms. My favourite part of the room was this window area with mirrors on either side to make it look more spacious than it really is.
It was unfortunate that we couldn’t fully enjoy our dining experience here because we were already full when it came time to eat dinner. Although service was a little slow during dinnertime—with two other tables having complaints about their meals—we really didn’t have anything to complain about besides the waiting.
Because we stayed here, I was able to see the sunset and sunrise from Bow Lake. Although it was overcast the day we were here, the stillness made for some great images. The footbridge made for a nice foreground subject matter, guiding our eye to Bow Lake. Zooming in further to the mountain and reflection, I loved the “arrow” looking pattern the snow and the greenery made here.
The sun actually sets on the other side of the lodge. But we were fortunate that this lodge is just a quick 5min. drive on the Icefields Parkway to Peyto Lake. I drove to Peyto Lake to catch the beautiful sunset there, and came back to the lodge for a great night’s sleep.
If you have the time, definitely stop by Bow Lake. I would have loved to do the hike to the waterfall had I more time here. The stay at Simpson’s Num-Ti-Jah Lodge is optional, but is also a welcome place to rest after a full day of hiking in the outdoors.