Bow Valley Provincial Park
Guide

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Introduction

Bow Valley Provincial Park is located right where the two rivers meet. Cradled by the Bow and Kananaskis Rivers, and situated on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains, one can imagine the pleasant views this park has to offer.

The water here is one of the most turquoise waters you’ll ever get to see, and the mountains - let’s just say they deserve every bit of popularity they have gotten because of those simply majestic views. One doesn’t have to be an outdoor enthusiast of any kind to need a reason to plan a trip here.

Bow Valley Provincial Park offers many outdoor activities that visitors can enjoy to their heart's content. Bow Valley Provincial Park is a popular vacation spot for anglers with the waters teaming with a wide variety of fish. Hikers too travel from all around the world to witness the mountain beauty the various trails have to offer. Waterbased activities include windsurfing and if that doesn’t tickle your fancy then maybe a bit of horseriding will.

Those who prefer biking will also enjoy the many easy and challenging biking trails to choose from. The campgrounds offer a semi-luxurious camping experience with many amenities and facilities situated close by.

RV Rentals in Bow Valley Provincial Park

Transportation in Bow Valley Provincial Park

Driving

Bow Valley Provincial Park is part of the larger Kananaskis Valley area. If driving from Calgary, the distance to the park is about 80 km or 50 miles and the journey takes about an hour in an RV, motorhome or car.

Take the Trans Canada Hwy and take the Dead Man Flats exit to arrive at the park entrance. The parameter roads of the park are paved but in rough condition with several potholes. This makes maneuverability a challenge, especially for larger motorhomes. It is always a good idea to reserve a site ahead of time to ensure a spacious enough spot for your Big Rigs or motorhomes.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Bow Valley Provincial Park

Campsites in Bow Valley Provincial Park

Reservations camping

Lac Des Arcs Campground

This is a reservation only campground and rather small with only 28 unserviced campsites. The sites are located on the shores of Lac des Arcs, and often booked fast by windsurfing enthusiast and those seeking other water-based thrills. There are many hiking and biking trails on this campground and also some great angling and boating opportunities.

Bow Valley Campground

131 well-treed campsites are offered to RV campers with power and water hookups available, while 36 campsites are unserviced. Most of these sites are pull-through. Sewer disposals are also available at the campground. The campsites in the campground are located all along the Bow River and provide a lovely view of the valley and the encircling mountains. Boat launch, showers, concession store, playground, and bike rentals are all situated close by. This is a reservation only campground.

First-come first-served

Dawson Equestrian Campground

There are only 5 unserviced campsites for RV campers at this campground. Booking is provided on first come first served basis and the campground offers fire pits, hitching rails, loading ramp, pit/vault toilets, and a water pump. The campground is dedicated for equestrian riders only.

Willow Rock Campground

This campground offers 90 unserviced campsites, and 34 campsites with 15 amp electric hookups. Some of these campsites are shaded with heavy tree cover that offers plenty of privacy, while others are in more open areas. The campground has a playground, interpretive programs, flush toilets, showers, amphitheater, fire pits, firewood, picnic shelters, sewer disposals, tap water, and hiking and biking trails.

Three Sisters

Three Sisters offers 36 campsites without water or power hookups. There are fire pits on the sites and the firewood is also sold at the campground. Hand launch, pit-vault toilets, water pump, and picnic shelters are also offered at this campground.

Alternate camping

Bow River Campground

Bow Valley Provincial Park offers visitors plenty of choice when it comes to camping as well. With several campgrounds and many amenities available one can ensure a comfortable and memorable camping experience. Guests are allowed to stay for 16 days at a stretch and many of the campgrounds can accommodate large RVs, motorhomes and trailers.

This campground has seven unserviced campsites for RV campers seeking a more primitive camping experience. It also offers 59 campsites with water hookup and electric hookup of 15 or 30 amp. This campground is situated right on the shores of the Bow River, allowing campers to settle close to the river and have access to fishing and paddling. Pit/vault toilets, water pump, fire pits, firewood store are also available at this campground. It is also wheelchair accessible. Sites can be booked on first come first serve.

Seasonal activities in Bow Valley Provincial Park

In-Season

Fishing

The Bow River is a world-class trout fishery and campers can satisfy their thirst for fishing at the Bow River, Gap Lake, or Grotto Pond fishing spots. In the Bow Valley Campground, the Whitefish Day Use Area is also a pretty decent spot to fish Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Whitefish, throw some rocks, or just hang around and rejoice in watching others catch some truly large-sized fish

Hiking

There are 13 hiking trails throughout the park that offer hikers plenty to choose from. The hiking trails vary in difficulty, length and time required. The trails lead to spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and breathtaking forest landscape. Hiking trails are open year round. Some of the popular ones include Bow River Interpretive trail which is about 2 km/1.2 miles, the Bow Valley Paved trail that is an over 4km/2.5 mile one-way hike and the Elk Flats which is about two km long as well. The Bow Valley Trail is ADA accessible.

Boating

You can’t get that close to the rivers and not get into them. There are many ways you can feel the cool water spraying on your face as you admire the surrounding beauty. You can paddle at Barrier Lake, you can paddle and surf at Canoe Meadows, Gap Lake, or Lac Des Arc. There are many rafting opportunities as well that will take you down the Kananaskis River and all the way through the Bow Valley Provincial Park. Visitors can also indulge in powerboating, windsurfing, and kayaking on the lake and river waters.

Off-Season

Equestrian Trail

Bow Valley Provincial Park invites equestrians to come out and enjoy horseriding with some truly breathtaking backdrops. The park has an entire campground dedicated just for equestrians. The campground offers hitching rails as well as other facilities to make the activity worthwhile and safe for riders. Quaite Creek is an almost 6 km/1.7 mile one-way equestrian trail that goes all the way to jewel pass. Stoney Trail is the other, that takes riders on a 20 km/12 mile one-way journey through the heart of the park that is well worth experiencing.

Picnicking

The ideal spot for a picnic overlooking gorgeous mountain scenery, blue lakes, and dense woodlands. Bow Valley Provincial Park is the ideal family day-out picnic destination. It offers its guests many day-use areas, picnic shelters and even a number of playgrounds for the little ones to burn off some steam in the great outdoors. The park also facilitates its guests by offering picnic tables, fire pits, vault toilets, and access to drinking water.

Mountain Biking

Bow Valley Provincial Park is a haven for hikers and bikers alike. With so many paved, graveled and rugged trails winding through the park one can pick and choose just the perfect one for their level of comfort. Whether it is a bit of extreme mountain biking that you crave or simply want to glide along enjoying the picturesque views Bow Valley has it all. The more popular biking trails include the Bow Valley Biking trail which is an almost three km/two mile long stretch of beautiful winding tarmac. The Jewell Pass offers more of a challenge and is close to seven km one-way. Other biking trails include Viewpoint Trail of Praire View, Quaite Creek, and the Stoney Bike trail. With over 20 km/12 miles of biking trails to choose from, biking enthusiasts are spoiled for choice.

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