Popular and iconic destinations can be a pain to visit because of the crowd, but there’s a reason why they’re so popular and–of course–worth seeing. If you’re ready to see all of the places that you’ve seen on the postcards, we’ve got just the thing. We've put together a list of 20 iconic places in the Bow Valley that people come from around the world to see. From picturesque lakes to historical landmarks, there's something for everyone in this beautiful place. Let’s do this!
The Banff Springs Hotel
Known as the "Castle in the Rockies," the Banff Springs Hotel is a must-visit destination in the Bow Valley. This iconic hotel has been welcoming guests since 1888 and boasts stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The palace is filled with amazing places to eat and drink and–of course–photo ops. Even if you don’t venture inside, you need to lay eyes on this unforgettable hotel.
Arguably one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Lake Louise is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. With crystal clear water and the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, it's no wonder why people come from around the world to see this natural wonder. You won’t believe the turquoise water is real! If you like activities, you’re in luck. There is a ton of hiking, walking, climbing, and paddling to be done here.
The Three Sisters in Canmore
These three peaks in Canmore are popular landmark for locals and tourists alike. While there are opportunities for hiking and climbing on these beautiful mountains, it’s the view from afar that will leave your jaw on the floor. Find yourself a patio and a bite to eat with a great view of the Sisters.
Another beautiful lake in the Bow Valley, Moraine Lake is a popular spot for hiking, canoeing, and photography. With its turquoise water and stunning mountain backdrop, it's no wonder why people come from around the world to see this natural wonder.
Calgary Public Library
Located in the heart of downtown Calgary, the Calgary Public Library is a must-visit destination for book lovers. With its stunning architecture and vast collection of books, it's no wonder why this library has become a popular spot in the city. The beauty and innovation of this new library have been recognized globally. You need to see it for yourself.
Larch Valley in Lake Louise
If you're visiting Lake Louise in the fall, be sure to check out Larch Valley. With its golden larch trees and stunning mountain views, it's a popular spot for hikers and photographers. There are many different trails to hike that will take you to views of golden larch trees in the fall.
Located in the heart of Banff, Banff Ave is a popular spot for shopping, dining, and people-watching. With its charming mountain town vibe, it's a must-visit destination for anyone visiting the Bow Valley. The place looks like a snow globe in the winter, but it’s enchanting year-round. You really can’t go wrong.
The Bow River in Canmore
If you're looking for a peaceful spot to relax and take in the natural beauty of the Bow Valley, head to the Bow River in Canmore. With its crystal clear water and stunning mountain backdrop, it's the perfect spot for a picnic or a leisurely walk. Riverside Park is as dreamy as can be, and you’re sure to see some friendly faces.
Nordic Centre Canmore
Located just outside of Canmore, the Nordic Centre is a popular destination for cross-country skiing and mountain biking. With its network of trails and stunning mountain views, it's a must-visit spot for outdoor enthusiasts. An endless array of olympians have been through here, and the facility is truly world-class. Don’t worry, non-olympians love it here, too.
Sulphur Mountain Banff
Take a scenic gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff for stunning views of the surrounding mountains. With its panoramic views and hiking trails, it's a popular destination for visitors to the Bow Valley.
Banff Upper Hot Springs
Located at the base of Sulphur Mountain, the Banff Upper Hot Springs are a popular spot for relaxation and rejuvenation. With its natural hot springs and stunning mountain views, it's the perfect spot to unwind after a long day of hiking or skiing.
Lake Agnes Tea House
Located in Lake Louise, the Lake Agnes Tea House is a popular destination for hikers. With its stunning views of Lake Louise and its charming rustic feel, it's the perfect spot for a mid-hike break. The hike up is short and easy, but it is a bit of a climb in places, so be sure to wear good footwear!
Ha Ling Peak Canmore
Named after a Chinese cook who climbed the peak in the 1800s, Ha Ling Peak in Canmore is a popular hiking destination for adventurous visitors to the Bow Valley. The hike is short, but boy is it a climb. Be sure to check out conditions, closures, and learn about the hike before setting off.
Downtown Canmore is endlessly charming and absolutely, that's worth exploring. With its boutique shops, art galleries, and restaurants, it's the perfect spot to spend an afternoon. You will never run out of things to see and do, so set off on foot and make a day of it.
Located just outside of Banff, the Vermilion Lakes are a popular spot for photography and wildlife viewing. With its stunning mountain views and calm waters, it's the perfect spot to relax and take in the natural beauty of the Bow Valley.
Located in Banff National Park, Bow Falls is a super cool place to view for visitors to the Bow Valley. With its stunning waterfall and mountain views, it's a must-visit spot for anyone exploring the park.
This super popular hiking destination in Banff National Park, Johnston Canyon, boasts stunning views of waterfalls and narrow canyon walls. With its well-maintained trails and breathtaking scenery, it's a must-visit spot for any hiker visiting the Bow Valley.
Rats Nest Cave
Located in Canmore, Rats Nest Cave is a popular spot for adventurous visitors to the Bow Valley. With its underground chambers and passages, it's a unique and exciting way to explore the natural beauty of the region. Book a tour with Canmore Cave Tours to check it out for yourself.
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Located on the shores of Lake Louise, The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a luxurious hotel that's worth visiting. With its stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains, it's the perfect spot to relax and indulge in a little bit of luxury.
Located in Banff, Cascade Gardens is a beautiful park that boasts stunning floral displays, fountains, and rock gardens. With its peaceful atmosphere and panoramic mountain views, it's the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the Bow Valley. Whether you're a flower enthusiast or simply looking for a peaceful place to take a stroll, Cascade Gardens is a must-visit spot.