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Vendors › Canmore & Kananaskis › Attractions & Tours › Driving Tours › Bow Valley Parkway

Bow Valley Parkway

 
Banff, Alberta

Description provided by Editors

Summer

This 48-km/30-mi route between Banff and Lake Louise is more leisurely than the Trans-Canada Hwy (Map 1). To protect wildlife (and cyclists), the speed limit is mostly 60 kph/40 mph; watch for elk, sheep, deer and bears. From Banff go 5.5 km/3.4 mi west on the Trans-Canada to the Bow Valley Parkway exit. Muleshoe Picnic Area (11 km/7 mi) features a wetlands bird habitat. At Johnston Canyon (25 km/15 mi) walk the easy 2.7-km/1.7-mi interpretive trail along catwalks anchored to cliffs to two lovely waterfalls; a café is at the trailhead. Moose Meadows (27 km/17 mi) was once Silver City, a town with five mines, six hotels and 2000 residents from 1880 to 1887. No silver was found; the claim was ‘salted’ to attract investors. Down the road, Castle Mountain’s steep, crenelated cliffs were formed when older rock was thrust up and over younger rock. The parkway climbs to Castle Mountain Viewpoint (36 km/22 mi) with nice valley views. The Cabin Cafe patio (52 km/33 mi) is an inviting stop. Farther along, Morant’s Curve is a lookout with Bow River and railway views named for CP Railway photographer Nicholas Morant. The Bow Valley Parkway rejoins Hwy 1 near the village of Lake Louise.

Winter

This 48-km (30-mi) route between Banff and Lake Louise is more leisurely than the Trans-Canada Hwy 1. To protect wildlife, the speed limit is 60 kph (40 mph); watch for elk, bighorn sheep and deer. From Banff, go 5.5 km (3.4 mi) west on the Trans-Canada Hwy to the Bow Valley Pkwy entrance. At Johnston Canyon (15 km/9.3 mi), walk the 2.7-km (1.7-mi) interpretive trail along cliff anchored catwalks to icefalls (it’s slippery; consider renting ice cleats or taking a guided tour). Moose Meadows (17 km/10.5 mi) was once Silver City with five mines, six hotels and 2000 residents from 1880 to 1887. No silver was found; the claim was ‘salted’ to attract investors. Down the road, unmistakable Castle Mountain’s crenelated cliffs were formed when older rock was thrust up and over younger rock. The Parkway climbs to Castle Mountain Viewpoint (26 km/16 mi) with expansive valley views. Farther along, Morant’s Curve is a lookout with Bow River and railway view named for Canadian Pacific Railway photographer Nicholas Morant. The Bow Valley Parkway rejoins Hwy 1 at Lake Louise village.

Map to Bow Valley Parkway