Panorama of the Bow Hut hike along Icefields Parkway, the Canadian Rockies

Bow Hut hike

Along Icefields Parkway
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Walking on Talus on the way to the Bow Hut Hike from Icefields Parkway in Banff National ParkBow Lake on the Bow Hut Hike from Icefields Parkway in Banff National ParkMount Crowfoot over Bow Lake on the Bow Hut Hike from Icefields Parkway in Banff National ParkScrambling over boulder Bridge on the Bow Hut Hike from Icefields Parkway in Banff National ParkThe Stairs going upon the Bow Hut Hike from Icefields Parkway in Banff National ParkThe Canyon coming down on the Bow Hut Hike from Icefields Parkway in Banff National ParkNum-Ti-Jah Lodge on the Bow Hut Hike from Icefields Parkway in Banff National ParkThe view of Bow Hut on the rock ledge on the Bow Hut Hike from Icefields Parkway in Banff National ParkTrail upon the Bow Hut Hike from Icefields Parkway in Banff National ParkStunning views on the Bow Hut Hike from Icefields Parkway in Banff National ParkSummer views on the Bow Hut Hike from Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park

Bow Hut hike

Distance: 15.6km
Elevation: 555m
Time: 4-6h

Difficulty Rating:

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9 Overall Rating
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Hiking to Bow Hut is a wonderful way to hike the day away if you're going to be on the Icefields Parkway. Bow Hut is an Alpine Club of Canada Hut, and the route to get there is challenging but also spectacular! Book a night at Bow Hut for a true Canadian hiking experience.

Bow Hut hike Map

Getting there

Drive on Highway 93 north towards Jasper for roughly 35.0km and park in the Bow Lake lot and Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. There is also campground and HI Hostel nearby.

I’ve done this 58 people have done this
I want to do this 51 want to do this route

About

When to do

June to October

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

At trailhead

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Low

Route Type

Out and back


Bow Hut
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Bow Hut

The hike to the Alpine Club of Canada’s Bow Hut is a challenging hike, with lots of challenging stream crossings. It is a beautiful hike, but make sure you are prepared for a more technical hike than most on our list.

Start your hike in the Bow Lake parking lot, just before Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. This lot fills quickly as the hike around Bow Lake and up to Bow Glacier Falls are also accessible from here. Try to get to the parking lot early.

The hike heads to the right of Bow Lake. You will soon pass the historic Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, a wonderful reminder of an older era of exploration in the Canadian Rockies.

Continue hiking for about 3.0km on a rough trail hugging the Bow Lake. You have wonderful views in all directions, but we particularly like the changing view as you look out over Bow Lake. Depending on water levels you may be able to scamper across the rocks at the far end of Bow Lake, saving a bit of time.

When you come to a moderate-sized stream, take the path as it goes up the right-hand side of the stream. Soon there will then be a set of stairs and another path going off to the left. The path up the stairs heads to Bow Glacier Falls, however go left here to hike to Bow Hut.

You will immediately need to scramble over a boulder-bridge to get to the other (east) side of the river. Continue on this trail on the east side of the canyon. The trail drops down to the streambed for a short distance. Stay on the left-hand side of the river.

Hike up and over boulder fields, there are cairns here you can follow, however it’s easy to miss one, so pay attention to the trail so you don’t get off-trail. You may pass through lingering snow at many points on the way up to Bow Hut. Eventually you will head left up through some trees, and your path will require what can be a challenging creek crossing depending on how much water there is in the creek.

Hike up over a hill and emerge into a stunning moraine-basin filled with rubble.There is a dramatic glacier at the far end of the basin. Bow Hut is eventually up to the right on a rock ledge. Continue on the obvious path, with cairns used when the path disappears. You may have additional creek crossings (depending on the season and recent rainfall) as you head up the left-hand side of the valley.

You will notice your path now drops down and you get to cross over the creek to the right-hand side of the valley and ascend up to Bow Hut. The creek crossing can be tough, and there are several routes marked out by cairns. Choose the one you are most comfortable with. Hiking poles are a great help here.

Once across the creek, you can choose any of the braided hiking paths headed up towards Bow Hut and make sure it’s a safe path. You soon reach Bow Hut, which is not the most attractive mountain hut, but resilient for the challenging weather it must endure year-after-year.

There is a note outside Bow Hut that says access is restricted to Alpine Club of Canada members and guests at Bow Hut. There’s often a guardian here in summer, however if there isn’t a guardian it’s best to not enter the Hut without authorization. A door accidentally left open can allow animals or bad weather into the hut, ruining somebody else’s trip.

If you want to stay at Bow Hut you’ll need to make a reservation through The Alpine Club of Canada 24 hours in advance.

Insider Hints

  • There are hiking paths above Bow Hut, however stay off the glaciers if you don’t have experience and proper equipment.

  • You can spend a night at Bow Hut, which makes a fun trip. You’ll need to bring your own sleeping bag and food, however dawn and dusk can be exceptional in good weather, and completely tranquil.

  • Consider a stay at Num-Ti-Jah Lodge if you want to do other great hikes in the area.

Comments

Richy_travels 2 months ago

It is a good hike to immerse yourself with nature. There are plenty of birds and wildlife too.

9.0 Overall Rating
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5h 00m Time Taken
Greenlife 2 months ago

It is wonderful, especially on a lovely day.

10.0 Overall Rating
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5h 25m Time Taken
Hiking-eh 3 months ago

Best possible views, water, lake, forest and balanced distance and slightly difficult. Definitely worth it!

9.0 Overall Rating
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FellWalker 4 months ago

Jaw-dropping views, water, lake, forest and balanced distance and slightly difficult. I will definitely do this again.

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Heidon 4 months ago

Great route with great scenery. Beautiful trail up to bow hut. Challenging but worth it because of the wonderful views

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noraliu 6 months ago

Amazing view of glaciers! A must-visit!

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Jacob AM 10 months ago

The views were enchanting. You should visit this at least onc ein your lifetime.

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Andrei Kantor 1 year ago

This is a good one

6.0 Overall Rating
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1h 10m Time Taken
romeoM 1 year ago

Lovely! Snow-capped mountains were one of a kind! The view on the way down is undescribable.

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Wicked T 1 year ago

Bow hut presented to be a bit of a challenge but mostly due to bad and changing weather.

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13 Comments Show all

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