Location: upper part of Banff National Park, 5 min drive from Peyto Lake.
Time to explore: 1-3 hours.
Parking: not so bad. Try to drive past Num-Ti-Jah lodge; there are some spots along the lake.

Though it is not as stunning as Lake Moraine, Bow Lake is the place to find some peace and serenity during your visit to the Banff NP. Especially if you need to unwind and take a rest from the jammed Peyto Lake or wait for a couple of hours until crowds wear off at Lake Louise/Lake Moraine.

Upper left: Crowfoot glacier hanging above Bow Lake. The third “talon” has already melted away. Alberta, Canada

There are many picnic tables near the Num-Ti-Jah lodge (though, very few of them in the shade), cafe, restrooms, and a gift shop. Bow Lake has a vast open space to fit all the visitors. There are hardly any crowds here.

The views are incredible: Bow Glacier, a glacier waterfall, a turquoise-colored lake, and plenty of greenery. Crowfoot Glacier can be easily viewed at the south end of the lake. Worth a short stop along the Icefields Parkway. A truly serene place!

Bow Lake on a sunny day in July. Banff National Park

Bow Lake is perfect for kids. They can roam around, splash in natural “wading pools”, dip their toes in the lake, stroll along the lake, and cross bridges. Buckets and shovels will be great for some water play. Since we didn’t have any, kids were happy even with a couple of paper cups.

Catching tadpoles in front of the Num Ti Jah lodge. Water is relatively warm. Bow Lake, Banff National Park

Bring waterproof shoes/crocks/flip-flops or no shoes at all to enjoy the water play :).

Have a picnic lunch, stroll along the lake, paddle a kayak/canoe (no rental, but you can bring your own). There is no boat launch, but the water is shallow and easy to enter. It is just a short and easy walk from the parking lot behind the Num Ti Jah lodge.

Bringing a folding chair to the Bow Lake seems like not a bad idea 😉

The “Num Ti Jah” name was created by Jimmy Simpson, a legendary Canadian outfitter. He and his family were dreaming about building a lodge in the beautiful Canadian wilderness. One day they finally accomplished it. Today, for about $300 you can spend a night in a lovely room with a view right at the Bow Lake.

A cool spot to lounge behind the lodge. Bow Lake, Banff National Park

Thanks for reading and have a great time at Bow Lake!