The Bow Valley Parkway - a year-round scenic heritage experience
Winding its way through lodgepole pine, spruce, and mixed aspen forests speckled with sunshine, the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A) in Banff National Park provides a convenient and leisurely route from Banff to Lake Louise. Paralleling the Trans-Canada Highway, the Parkway delivers superb views of some of the park’s most iconic peaks, including the multi-tiered pinnacles of Castle Mountain. A slower speed limit rewards motorists with a better chance of seeing the wildlife.
Imagine your wonder as you round a corner and encounter the towers of impressive peaks looming overhead and, if you’re lucky, the strong, yet gentle presence of a grizzly bear grazing on roadside slopes. In winter, grassy, flower-filled slopes are blanketed with white, fluffy snow, making it even easier to spot animals that aren’t hibernating, such as elk, bighorn sheep, deer and wolves.
A variety of roadside stopsalong the Bow Valley Parkway turn your drive into an experience that is both educational and inspiring. Interpretive displays and marked pullovers along the road, give visitors the chance to discover more about the landscape, wildlife and the history of Banff National Park. With its powerful, surging canyon in summer and dramatically frozen waterfalls in winter, Johnston Canyon is a natural attraction for year-round enjoyment. The Parkway also provides access to some of the park’s best spots for hiking, camping, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
All this goes to say: the Bow Valley Parkway is an experience worth driving for.