Banff’s Bow Falls, in Winter


With the sunlight fading, and the hours ticking away on the final full day of my Canadian Rockies vacation, I decided to end my trip the same way I did, on my previous visit, two and a half years earlier.  Back in 2009, my final stop in Banff (not counting my hotel room) was Bow Falls, an easy-to-get-to and picturesque spot, near downtown Banff and the Banff Springs Hotel.  I wiled away the evening, taking pictures, listening to the rushing water, and watching the glow on the surrounding mountains.  It was such a great way to end the trip, that it seemed appropriate to do it again.

Of course, Bow Falls looks a lot different in winter.  It’s mostly frozen, with only a small patch of moving water to be seen. Widen out the view a little…

… and you get a better idea of what this spot looks like.  Even in the summer, Bow Falls isn’t overwhelming.  It’s only about 30 feet high.

The Bow River makes its drop, just before the river mingles with the Spray River.  In the summer, you can look down through the clear water at the colorful rocks that line the riverbed.  In winter, this shallow area freezes, allowing you to walk out on the ice for a closer look at the river.

The most beautiful attraction here is the view downstream, towards the Fairholme mountain range.  These are the mountains that would be on your right-hand side, as you drive from Canmore to Banff. Here, you’re probably seeing Mount Inglismaldie and Mount Girouard, the latter being the taller of the two, at 2,995 meters (9,826 feet).

Back at the car, I realized that I had parked on top of a very large fault in the icy parking lot.  That crevasse was deep enough to get stuck in, if I hadn’t been careful.

From here, I headed to my hotel, for a long night of unpacking (the car) and packing (my suitcases).

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