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HomeRoad TripThe ULTIMATE Information To Visiting Bow Valley Provincial Park (for 2022)

The ULTIMATE Information To Visiting Bow Valley Provincial Park (for 2022)

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Compiled by the Highway Journey Alberta staff

Final up to date on June 29, 2022

Searching for data on the place to hike, camp, and issues to do on a visit to Bow Valley Provincial Park? Look no additional! We’ve compiled all of the pertinent data you’ll need to discover this superb place.

Simply over an hour from Calgary, Bow Valley Provincial Park is an superior mountain vacation spot stuffed with panoramic mountain views, heart-pumping mountain climbing trails, and spectacular Bow River actions like canoeing and fishing.

Bow Valley Campground

The park generally is a choose-your-own-adventure relying on what you’re feeling up for on the day. The entire park is a mixture of rugged open air and punctiliously curated interpretive help with groomed trails, benches alongside some trails for snack breaks, designated picnic areas, and washrooms at a majority of the parking heaps.

Hikes in Bow Valley Provincial Park vary from brief interpretive trails round Bow Valley park campgrounds that are perfect for households with young children to longer hikes like Mount Yamnuska, Coronary heart Mountain, Grotto Canyon Path, Bow Valley Bunker, and extra. (Our publish on Canmore hikes offers you some nice concepts.)

This is likely one of the greatest Alberta parks with a plethora of enjoyable actions to discover…Learn on to search out out extra in regards to the Bow Valley.

Land Acknowledgement

Bow Valley Provincial Park is positioned within the conventional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy) and the folks of the Treaty 7 area. We acknowledge all the many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit whose footsteps have marked these lands in Bow Valley Provincial Park, Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park, and inside and across the Kananaskis space for hundreds of years.

About Bow Valley Provincial Park

Bow Valley Provincial Park is positioned in Kananaskis Nation on the confluence of the Bow River and the Kananaskis River, on the jap fringe of the Rocky Mountains. It spans practically 33 sq. kilometres and is surrounded by Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park to the north and southwest, and Elbow Sheep Wildland Provincial Park to the southeast. It’s a part of a notable wildlife hall – a protected route that permits wildlife to maneuver safely between areas of appropriate habitat.

There are two important entrance factors: one is off the Trans-Canada Freeway on the intersection with Freeway 1X and the opposite is on the entrance to the Barrier Dam by way of Freeway 40. This small however mighty provincial park packs a punch with spectacular views, numerous trails to stroll or hike, and glowing waters famend for difficult fishing, it’s a good cease for a day journey in nature.

Mountain view in Bow Valley Provincial Park
Mountain view in Bow Valley Provincial Park – picture supplied by Journey Alberta credit score Parks Canada

The Greatest Time To Go to

With a year-round customer centre and spectacular mountains that look superb naked or snow-capped, Bow Valley Provincial Park is accessible and enjoyable to go to any season of the 12 months! It’s only a matter of what you need to do whilst you’re there. For the quintessential provincial park summer time expertise stuffed with swimming, mountain climbing the plethora of trails, and horseback using, Might to September is right.

Bow Valley Provincial Park remains to be a worthy vacation spot in winter. The actions will after all be extra geared in the direction of snow actions if you happen to go to between November to February. Assume cross-country snowboarding and snowshoeing. It’s additionally a good time to come across some wildlife.

Heads up that there’s an annual street closure on Bow Valley Park Highway west of Center Lake from mid-October – April 30.

Bow Valley Provincial Park Landscape
Bow Valley Provincial Park with some snow – picture supplied by Journey Alberta credit score Parks Canada

Take into account that regardless of the season, automobiles parked at provincial park and public land websites in Kananaskis Nation and the Bow Valley want a Conservation Cross. Purchase your cross on-line and register your license plate or you should buy a cross on the customer centre. Just one cross per car is required and cross purchases are non-transferable to a different car.

Present charges for private automobiles (2022):

  • Day cross – $15 (registers one car)
  • Yearly cross – $90 (registers as much as 2 automobiles)

Attending to Bow Valley Provincial Park

From Calgary to Bow Valley Provincial Park

Head west out of the town on Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W and carry on this street for slightly below an hour. Following the indicators, take exit 93 towards Three Sisters Parkway/Bow River Campground for roughly 10 minutes till you attain the car parking zone for the park.

Car Driving in Bow Valley Kananaskis
Automobile Driving in Bow Valley – picture supplied by Journey Alberta credit score Sean Thonson

From Edmonton to Bow Valley Provincial Park

When leaving Edmonton, take Calgary Path to AB-2 S and comply with this freeway south for simply over 2 hours till reaching the north finish of Calgary. Preserve proper on the fork, comply with indicators for Alberta 201 W/Stoney Tr and merge onto Stoney Path NW/AB-201 W.

Keep on Stoney Path NW for 23 km till you see indicators for Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W after which take the exit towards Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W. Keep on the Trans-Canada Hwy 1 for about an hour till you see the exit for exit 93 towards Three Sisters Parkway/Bow River Campground which shall be simply shy of Canmore. Keep on this paved street for roughly 10 minutes till you attain the car parking zone for the park.

Accessibility at Bow Valley Provincial Park

Provided that Bow Valley Provincial Park is within the coronary heart of Kananaskis Nation, it’s a rugged vacation spot. Though there are some interpretive trails and paved roads across the campgrounds, the park will not be notably accessible for these with restricted mobility. Nonetheless, some campsites do provide wheelchair-accessible washrooms.

Hiking in Bow Valley Provincial Park

Tenting in Bow Valley Provincial Park

There’s numerous tenting obtainable with many glorious campsites alongside the attractive Bow River or within the forest if you wish to not be on the mercy of sturdy winds. As stays in close by Canmore accommodations in the summertime months might be dear and guide up extraordinarily fast, tenting is an incredible option to simply and affordably entry Canmore and Banff.

From any Bow Valley campground, it’s between 25-40 minutes to get to both Canmore or Banff townsite respectively. Listed below are the campgrounds inside the Provincial Park:

Camping in Bow Valley

Bow River Campground

The season runs from April till October at this accessible campsite. The majority of the 60+ campsites are serviced with energy and the campground sits subsequent to the Bow River, providing nice views to most fortunate websites. Showers, firewood on the market, firepits, and pit/vault bathrooms are a number of the facilities obtainable throughout the season.

Web site | 403-678-0760

Bow Valley Campground

Massive campground located alongside the Bow River for nice views of the encircling mountains and riverfront containing 170+ websites from unserviced to energy/water websites. Interpretive applications, concession, playground, and showers can be found throughout the season (April to October).

Web site | 403-678-0760

Bow Valley Provincial Park Reflection

Lac Des Arcs Campground

There are about 30 open unserviced websites appropriate for RVs and tents. Firepits, a playground, water (pump), pit/vault bathrooms, and a shelter for teams can be found. The campsite is on the shores of Lac Des Arcs, and there’s additionally a hand launch obtainable which makes this web site standard for windsurfers.

Web site | 403-678-0760

Three Sisters Campground

Three Sisters campground is positioned inside Bow Valley Provincial Park in Lifeless Man’s Flats (simply exterior Canmore on Hwy. 1). There are 36 well-treed websites suited to each RVs and tents (unserviced and obtainable on a primary come first served foundation). The campground is beside the Bow River and has a hand launch for small non-motorized boats.

Web site | 403-678-0760

Clouds roll by the Three Sisters mountains in Canmore
Three Sisters Mountains – picture supplied by Canmore Kananaskis Tourism

Willow Rock Campground

There are 90 unserviced and 34 energy websites, some open and a few in treed areas in a first come first served foundation from April to October. Facilities embody a playground, showers and flush bathrooms, together with sewage disposal and a picnic shelter for group use.

Web site | 403-678-0760

Canoe Meadows Campground

A small and humble campground that solely has 10 walk-in tenting websites however at a handy staging space for river adventures alongside the Kananaskis River. Bookings are by reservations solely from April to October. Facilities are fundamental with solely pit/vault bathrooms and firepits onsite.

Web site | 403-479-8017

Bow Valley Provincial Park
Bow Valley Provincial Park panorama – picture supplied by Journey Alberta credit score Parks Canada

Backcountry Tenting at Jewell Bay

Backcountry tenting in Bow Valley Provincial Park is obtainable at a scenic equestrian campground known as Jewell Bay that’s positioned on the northwest shore of Barrier Lake. Entry is from the Barrier Dam Day Use Space and it’s a brief 3.9 km stroll in. It will also be reached by boat in its place.

Tent Camping Bow Valley

There are seven campsites obtainable right here and fundamental facilities embody tent pads, hitching rails, corrals, pit/vault bathrooms, safe meals storage lockers, and firewood. The lake is the one supplied water supply.

Observe: Jewell Bay is closed yearly from April 14-June 16 for spring elk motion.

Issues to do at Bow Valley Provincial Park in Summer season

Mountain climbing

The realm is wealthy with a number of the greatest trails in Kananaskis – from simple hikes to heart-pumping treks. Plus, being a smaller provincial park, they aren’t as busy as a number of the different mountain climbing alternatives obtainable elsewhere. See a whole itemizing of the park’s trails at Alberta Parks – Bow Valley Provincial Park.

Bonus: It’s solely a brief jaunt to Canmore for much more hikes like Ha Ling Peak (closed for 2022), Woman Macdonald Teahouse, and Grotto Mountain amongst others.

Hiking Trail in Bow Valley Provincial Park
Mountain climbing Path in Bow Valley Provincial Park

Nature and Wildlife Viewing

The awe-inspiring pure panorama created by the McConnell Thrust, scenic coated timber in lush forests, stunning lakes to journey on (like Center Lake, Lac De Arcs, and Barrier Lake), and attention-grabbing wildlife to find, with one go to it’s simple to see why this park is a well-liked nature and wildlife viewing cease.

Grizzly Bear in Alberta


Though the campgrounds near campers every winter, space trails are nonetheless accessible for winter mountain climbing and images to seize the encircling mountains and beautiful surroundings.


This space is well-known for its superb fishing (particularly of the trout selection – it’s a number of the greatest fishing in Alberta) and is obtainable in Hole Lake, Bow River, or Grotto Pond (stocked).

Fishing in Kananaskis Country
Fishing in Kananaskis Nation – picture supplied by Journey Alberta credit score Andy Greatest


Geocaching is a enjoyable family-friendly exercise that could be a standard factor to do within the park. There are greater than 8 geocaches discovered primarily within the north a part of the park close to Bow Valley Campground.


Strive the paved Bow Valley Bike Path (4.2 km one-way) or bike on the street earlier than the gate closes for the season from Center Lake to Bow Valley Campground from mid-October – April 30. There are quite a few mountain biking alternatives within the space too (test choices right here).

Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking Bow Valley – picture supplied by Journey Alberta credit score AV Wakefield

Canoeing, Rafting & Boating

Many native operators provide family-friendly journeys down the Kananaskis River by means of Bow Valley Provincial Park.

If bringing a ship, it may be trailer launched on both:

  • Barrier Lake on the Barrier Lake Decrease Day Use Space
  • Hole Lake on the Hole Lake Day Use Space

* Earlier than arriving, be sure that to overview boating security necessities for pleasure crafts.

Alternatively, there are paddle alternatives (paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing) at Barrier Lake (put in at Barrier Dam, Barrier Lake, or Widow Maker), Canoe Meadows (river paddling & browsing), Hole Lake, or Lac Des Arc.

Kananaskis Outfitters canoe experience
Kananaskis Outfitters – picture supplied by Journey Alberta credit score AV Wakefield

Security at Bow Valley Provincial Park

Bow Valley Provincial Park exists in a notable wildlife hall for the animals dwelling inside the space. Many animals which you could see within the Canadian Rockies have their properties right here together with grizzly bears, black bears, cougars, wolves, deer, coyotes, mountain goats, and elk.

Wildlife within the area is energetic so it is very important train warning when within the park and observe wildlife security. Be certain to make noise when on any path, pay shut consideration to your environment, and carry bear spray (it’s much more necessary to know use it).

Mountain Goats in Bow Valley
Mountain goats in Bow Valley Provincial Park – picture supplied by Journey Alberta credit score Parks Canada

If you happen to do encounter wildlife whereas driving decelerate and don’t cease on the shoulder to seize {a photograph}. Transfer alongside and let the animals be of their pure habitat.

When happening hikes or different actions, it’s really useful to hike in teams of two or extra folks, and produce clothes for altering climate situations (that is Alberta and snowstorms can occur in summer time months at greater elevations). Most significantly have a plan in case there’s an emergency and be sure that your telephone has loads of energy in case you want to make a name when in reception areas.

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