Trailhead: Park at the Peyto Lake parking lot located on the west side of the Icefields Parkway approximately 42kms north of Lake Louise. Banff National Park.
Description: Follow the paved trail towards Peyto Lake lookout. From the lookout follow the short loop trail leading to your left. Near the start of the loop trail you’ll see a trail on your right that leads down to Peyto Lake. Pass by this trail and and stay on the loop looking for another trail leading off to an old fire road.
This fire road leads to Bow Lake Lookout. Follow the fire road a short distance until Peyto Lake comes into view. At this point you can take a side trip and scramble up the mountain behind you for better views of Peyto Lake. This peak is where all the calendar pictures are taken from. Views of Peyto Lake get better the higher up you go.
When you’re finished taking photos head back down to the old fire road and continue on until you reach the old Bow Lake lookout site. The lookout site is now only a rocky clearing on the ridge but it offers nice north and south views of the Icefields Parkway and Bow Lake. You can keep hiking a short distance up the lateral moraine in front of you for better views of Bow Lake. Keep your eyes open for Grizzly Bears below in the Meadows next to the highway. Over the years I have seen several bears here while driving by.
To my surprise there was no one at this lookout other than myself while hundreds of tourists were located at nearby Peyto Lake Lookout. Interesting to note that National Parks statistic show 93% of all tourist do not venture further then 1km from their cars.
Bow Lake is the headwaters of the Bow River a world class fly fishing stream. Bow Lake gets it’s beautiful turquoise green color from glacial silt created by the Bow Glacier and the Wapta Icefields. During the summer months expect huge crowds of people at the Peyto Lake Lookout. This Is Bear Country.
The old Bow Lake lookout is a nice short hike away from the Peyto Lake crowds