Bow Glacier Falls : Beyond the Viewpoint

A hidden giant along Icefields Parkway transforming with the times

Harshita Kasera
Globetrotters
4 min readMar 25, 2024

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Bow Lake (Photo Credits: Shot by my husband, Antriksh Saxena)

My husband and I love hiking. On these hikes, while my husband is busy capturing memories on his DSLR, I like to read about the interesting stories about the place and then share them with him on the hike.

In the summer of 2023, we planned a trip to Banff National Park, Canada. Hiking in the Canadian Rockies was a dream come true for the both of us! One of the amazing hikes on this trip was the hike to Bow Glacier Falls.

The trail travels along the shores of Bow Lake, through a forest, and then up to the base of the falls. The hike is beautiful and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.

Bow Glacier Falls is the largest waterfall along the Icefields Parkway.

Bow Glacier Falls (Photo Credits: Shot by my husband, Antriksh Saxena)

Apart from the breathtaking scenery, the fascinating details about this place made it extraordinary.

As we reached the trailhead, we came across this beautiful lodge — Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. This gorgeous looking lodge was built by Jimmy Simpson, a famous mountain guide for the Canadian Rockies.

Num-Ti-Jah Lodge (Photo Credits: Shot by my husband, Antriksh Saxena)

In the late 1890s, he camped at Bow Lake and dreamt to build a shack there one day. It took him 25 years, but his dream finally came true. Witnessing this beautiful log cabin lodge was a great reminder that dreams come true!

Fascinated about the story of the lodge, we started walking to the trail.

As we started to head out, we saw a wedding taking place here. The location is perfect for a wedding!

Wedding at Bow Lake (Photo Credits: Shot by my husband, Antriksh Saxena)

The hike to Bow Glacier Falls is a moderately challenging 5.5 mile out and back trail.

View the full trail details at AllTrails.

Bow Glacier Falls Trail (Photo Credits: Shot by my husband, Antriksh Saxena)

Bow Glacier Falls was named after the Bow Glacier, which feeds the waterfall.

Bow Lake (Photo Credits: Shot by my husband, Antriksh Saxena)

When the Bow Glacier was discovered in 1898, it covered most of the rock face where the falls occur. Since then, the glacier has retreated significantly.

Standing on the viewing platform at the base of the falls was mesmerizing.

Bow Glacier Falls (Photo Credits: Shot by author)

The rocks were telling the story about the retreating glacier. It was a reminder to do our part to keep these wonders around for future generations.

Research suggests the glaciers will disappear from many mountain regions, including the Canadian Rockies, within several decades to the next century or two. Source: Calgary Herlad

We spent around an hour at the falls, capturing photos, soaking in the scenery, and sharing a picnic lunch surrounded by this breathtaking beauty. We talked about the changing environment, the retreating glacier, and the importance of protecting this pristine wilderness.

As we reluctantly started our descent, I couldn’t help but steal one last glance at the falls. The hike to Bow Glacier Falls wasn’t just a usual hike; it was a gentle reminder of the impact we have on nature.

A trip to Banff is definitely mesmerizing. Matt Lillywhite shares how he never wanted to leave Banff. I can totally relate to that feeling.

Michele Maize shares her photographic journey to Banff, which will definitely make anyone want to go visit this place!

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