10 Amazing Bow Valley Lakes to Explore

The Bow Valley is know known for its namesake river, the Bow River, but all around are breathtaking nooks with stunning lakes.

Below are 10 world class lakes that can be busy or quiet depending on the time of year.

Lake Louise: A natural lake below some of Banff National Park’s most accessibly photographic mountains, like Victoria and Lefroy. A trail takes you to the back past rock climbing and to a tea house.

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Moraine Lake: The often still lake at the base of the Valley of the 10 Peaks, it draws countless to photograph it annually.

Lake Minnewanka: A once smaller lake that was dammed to provide electricity to the area. It’s nearly 30 km long, has the town of Bank Head beneath it and is the link between Banff and the Ghost River Valley.

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Johnson Lake: North of Minnewanka are a number of lakes and ponds, but Johnson is the most popular for swimmers, paddlers and anglers in warm months.

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Vermillion Lakes: The town of Banff’s most popular place for paddlers, the lakes stretch across a wide area with towering trees bending over the banks.

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Quarry Lake: Canmore’s watering hole where most locals can be found on hot days cooling themselves. It was once a quarry and rumor has it old equipment rests at the bottom. And it’s stocked with Arctic Grayling.

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Grassi Lakes: Two turquoise ponds sit under ancient coral reefs. The hike up is a classic and the lakes can present reflections of the surroundings that will leave you speechless.

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Gap Lake: Similar to Vermillion Lakes, Gap is a flooded area between railroad tracks the highway. In winter it provides surreal skating and in summer an escape from town.

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Grotto Pond: On the opposite side of Highway 1A is Gap Lake, a frequently fish stoked body of water that brings dozens of anglers out every weekend. The trail around one side is a nice lunch break.

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Lac des Arcs: The big body of water below the factory as you drive west into the Bow Valley from Calgary. A small island with flags mark a nice point to paddle to for a lunch on hot days.

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