We crossed back into Banff National Park after our hike to Wilcox Pass. The drive along the Icefields Parkway is stunning, but few pullouts really provided the opportunity to capture the beauty. Since I was driving I tried to pull off the road a couple of times for us to take some pictures, but it never quite worked. Hiking is really the best way to access the grandeur of the area.
Our destination for the evening was the campground at Lake Louise, but since it was such a beautiful day I thought we should stop at Bow Lake for the afternoon. It was a popular stop, but we were able to find a place to park fairly easily. I thought we could check out the lake and do the short hike to Bow Glacier Falls. We walked down to the shoreline and were immediately struck by its beauty. Bow Lake is a brilliant aquamarine framed by towering peaks.
We followed the perimeter of the lake eventually coming to the trailhead. The trail to the falls is an easy 2+ mile hike to a cascading waterfall. We didn’t bring our packs since it would be such a short trek, but in doing so – we realized a mile in – we’d also neglected to bring our bear spray. A superbly stupid thing to do. I freaked out, but Zach was calm, and we decided to risk it and continue. The trail was heavily trafficked, and there’s always safety in numbers. (Several studies have shown that bears are less likely to attack groups of hikers.) Obviously we survived; no bear encounters. Phew.
The trail itself is uneventful, but offers stunning views as it leads hikers along the Bow Lake shoreline to an outwash plain and ultimately to the waterfall which drains from Bow Glacier. We didn’t go all the way to the falls, but stopped instead at an overlook. We went back the way we came, my anxiety level decreasing the closer we got to the Num-ti-jah Lodge.
We briefly explored the lodge gift shop before heading back to our car. The lodge was gorgeous inside (from what we could see), and it would be fun to stay there sometime. But for this trip our time was up and we drove off toward Lake Louise.