Bow Valley Parkway
Banff to Lake Louise
60 km one way
Sometimes the road less traveled does make all the difference.
On the short stretch of Trans-Canada that links Banff to Lake Louise, there’s a little-traveled side route called the Bow Valley Parkway (or Highway 1A).
It’s little-traveled with good reason, perhaps: It’s two lanes wind through rock and forest and probably double the travel time between the two points.
But getting there, in this case, is half the fun. Little 1A wends off along the base of Castle Mountain, one of the truly massive local peaks, and getting underneath it offers the truest sense of its majesty.
It’s also along 1A where you’re most likely to see wildlife — a giant elk grazing by the roadside, or maybe even a black bear (don’t even mention the bighorn sheep, which are as plentiful as squirrels).
Bow Valley Tour Itinerary
Start your Banff National Park tour at the Juniper Hotel in Banff and cap it off with a stay at Baker Creek Mountain Resort near Lake Louise.
The Bow Valley Parkway runs parallel to the Trans Canada and offers a slower, more peaceful pace for touring and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Baker Creek Mountain Resort
Lake Louise, Alberta
Two of the areas best dining establishments, the Baker Creek Bistro is rated #1 in Lake Louise and The Juniper Bistro, #1 in Banff.
Juniper Hotel - Banff, Alberta
Baker Creek Bistro
Baker Creek Mountain Resort - Lake Louise, Alberta
Banff National Park
Rocky Mountain peaks, turquoise glacial lakes, a picture-perfect mountain town and village, abundant wildlife and scenic drives come together in Banff National Park - Canada’s first national park and the flagship of the nation’s park system.
Banff Sunshine Village is ski resort just west of Banff on the Continental Divide of the Canadian Rockies. It's a popular location for big alpine skiing and snowboarding.
Between Banff and Lake Louise is the popular Johnston's Canyon hike - open year round for an amazing experience. Wear ice cleats in the winter!
Banff National Park is home to 53 species of mammals. This incredible diversity of wildlife is a reflection of the wide range of habitats found in the park due to variations in elevation, climate, and plant communities. Some species are a bit more public than others such as Elk, Rocky Mountain Sheep, Grizzly Bears and Black Bears, and often Mountain Goats can be seen along the Icefields Parkway.