NTS Map: 082N09. This trail is actually closer to Lake Louise. The Bow Summit area is famous for its postcard viewpoint overlooking Peyto Lake (top left photo, which was taken above the lookout site). Thousands of visitors flock to this viewpoint every summer, but few venture near it in winter. Located at the geographic summit of the Bow Valley, at an elevation of 6,000', the area receives ample snowfall annually.
No time or distance has been recorded for this 'trail' because there really is no trail. If you just want to snowshoe where everyone else has, then follow the bus route up to the parking area then down the short path to the lookout platform. But be careful, it's been well trodden and is bound to be slippery. The reason I like to snowshoe in this area is because of two things - the abundant snowfall at this elevation, and the lack of trees at this elevation. At 6,000' you're getting close to the treeline, so the trees are starting to thin out as well as get a little shorter in height.
In this upper area, off to the south of the bus route, lies acres and acres of semi-open snowshoeing heaven. After all, snowshoes were invented to take you where the snow was too deep to walk, not on some hard-packed 'snowshoe trail'. Leave the trail, get adventurous. You can't get lost, just turn around and follow your own tracks back.
There are many other such areas around the Bow Summit and also along the flats near Num-Ti-Jah Lodge (bottom left), as well as further south along the Icefields Parkway and out along Bow Lake (bottom right photo, 2nd row). Just look for your spot and go!
In winter please check the local avalanche conditions and bulletins.
Photos by Shelley Coffey (except for one).
41 km north of Lake Louise junction on Icefields Parkway at Bow Summit. Parking area is on the west side of the highway, just 5 minutes north of Num-Ti-Jah Lodge.
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