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Leopold Kiselev
Leopold Kiselev

Bow Lake Alberta Canada

Bow Lake is approximately 30 minutes north of Lake Louise, off the Icefields Parkway (Alberta Highway 93) and a half-mile north of the Crowfoot Glacier. This stunning lake sits at an elevation of 6,300 feet and is one of the largest lakes in Banff National Park. Fed by meltwater from Bow Glacier in the Wapta Icefield, Bow Lake lies at the base of Bow Summit, which is perfectly reflected in its aquamarine waters on a calm day. Crowfoot Mountain really stands out when reflected in the early-morning still waters. The Bow River starts at Bow Lake and flows past Lake Louise and Banff. The Num-Ti-Jah lodge sits next to this beautiful lake and is the perfect stay for those wanting early-morning and late-night photo shoots.

bow lake alberta canada

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The weather in the Canadian Rockies is always changing, be it from valley to valley or hour to hour. Temperatures vary greatly from day to night, and often weather predictions can be wrong from one day to the next. December to March is the peak period for skiing. Day temperatures will rarely surpass 32 degrees Fahrenheit until mid-March and will dive toward zero at night. From April to May, there can be everything from blizzards to warm weather. Although springtime highs can reach the mid-50s, June to August are the most crowded months with the warmest weather, and average highs are in the mid-70s. Most lakes are frozen until June. September here is the height of fall with nice 60-degree temps. October can turn treacherously cold in a hurry. October and November range from mid-30s to negative digits. Snowfall ranges from 104 inches to 137 inches on average.

Fall is my favorite time to visit. I did see wonderful pictures of wildflowers growing around the lake, so late spring and summer would be another choice. Winter has its own kind of amazing beauty. I think anyone could find great times of the year to visit the Canadian Rockies; it just depends on what they like.

Bow Lake location: Banff National Park, Alberta. 5 min drive from Peyto Lake.Time to explore: 1-3 hours.Parking: could be limited. Try to drive past Num-Ti-Jah lodge; there are some spots along the lake.

Perhaps one of the most famous lakes not just in Canada, but also in the world, Lake Louise is known for its turquoise, glacier-fed lake with a backdrop of rugged Canadian rocky mountains or the popular Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

Going back to our road trip: After we went back to Peyto Lake, we also decided to come back to Bow Lake and get closer to the lake since the street-side lookout showed more of Crowfoot Mountain than the lake.

If there's one thing I've learned from Instagram and social media lately, it's that the people of the interwebz freaking LOVE photos of mountains. And lakes. And, more specifically, lakes in close proximity to mountains.

I didn't quite make it to Moraine Lake for sunrise (when the rising sun will occasionally paint the tops of the mountains red), but I did go early enough to beat the crowds and catch some great reflections of the mountains on the lake.

Moraine Lake sits in the Valley of the Ten Peaks within Banff National Park in Alberta. It's a glacially-fed lake, meaning that it's always an unusual shade of blue-green. This is common of glacial lakes because of the rock flour (rock pulverized by ancient glaciers) that floats in the water.

Peyto Lake was named after Bill Peyto, an early trail guide and trapper in the Banff area. The area around the lake is thick with forest, which you'll have to walk through to get to the best viewpoint at Bow Summit.

You can visit many of these Alberta spots year-round, though I think the best times to visit are in the summer and early autumn, when the lakes are unfrozen and you can see all those beautiful blues.

Come visit us in the wither sometime. If you can make it in the beginning of fall, before the snow is too heavy, you can skate out onto the lakes and see the frozen bubbles that get trapped in the ice and those hot springs in the snow are basically magical.

Make sure check the sunrise time and to try to arrive 30 minutes to an hour before. If you're driving north or south along the Icefields Parkway, you'll see a sign for Bow Lake, it's about 38km north of Lake Louise. There are two pull-offs for the lake, if you're heading north take the second road, if you're heading south take the first. The short gravel road takes you down to the Simpson's Num-Ti-Jah Lodge where there is public parking for those looking to walk along the shore of the lake.

Bow Lake, 34 kilometers north of Lake Louise, lies below the Crowfoot Glacier (shaped like a crow's foot and clearly visible from the road) and Bow Glacier. The lake's still and clear waters mirror the towering, snow-covered peaks of the continental divide. These glaciers form part of the great Waputik Icefield. There are lovely walks along the lake to a waterfall at the foot of the Bow Glacier (half a day) or to Helen Lake and Catherine Lake at the Dolomite Pass to the east (whole day).

Byron Harmon, 1924. Spectacular and iconic photograph of the lake with a teepee and man in the foreground. In 1924, to celebrate his 20th year of photographing in the Canadian Rockies, Harmon hiked, filmed and photographed the country along the Continental Divide to the Columbia Icefield. Hand colored photograph on paper. 9 3/4 x 15 5/8", in early gilt and board mats. Glued on the edges but not on the verso. Unsigned as far as we can see. Photograph in very good condition, top mat age discolored.[with] Harmon's photographs in a set of 12 Postcards from Lake Louise in the Rockies, Canada issued by Canadian Pacific Railway. Banff, Alberta, Canada. Seven sepia split back postcards reproductions of photographs taken by Byron Harmon along the line of the Canadian Pacific Highway, bound in a booklet with green paper cover with gold lettering. Each card perforated at left edge with standard postcard backing. Each 3 1/2 by 5 inches intact. Very good condition. Item #27400

The most popular glacier-fed lake, Peyto Lake, is also the most visited and photographed lake in the Canadian Rockies. During the summer, significant amounts of glacial rock flour flow into the lake, and these suspended rock particles give the lake a bright, turquoise colour. The lake is best seen from Bow Summit, which is 2,088 metres (6,800 feet) above sea level. Bow Summit is the highest point on the drive from Banff to Jasper and is the highest elevation crossed by a public road in Canada.

Bow Lake is the headwaters of the Bow River that runs south through the city of Calgary and onto the Oldman River, ultimately to Hudson Bay. The lake lines the Icefields Parkway and makes a perfect place to stop and view the Crowfoot Glacier (shaped like a crow's foot), Wapta Icefield, Bow Glacier, Crowfoot Mountain and Mount Thompson. 041b061a72


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