The Bow Hut is one of my favourite hut trips in the Canadian Rockies. This approach to the hut is 8km and gains 500m of elevation. It is a relatively easy hike with one semi-technical crossing of a boulder over a river and a couple of small creek crossings. The majority of the elevation is gained at the end of the 8km, with a final push to the hut itself.
When To Go
The Bow Hut is open, and popular, year round. This article focuses on summer use of the hut.
Trail Head Location
The trailhead is located next to Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, 40 km north of Lake Louise on the west side of the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93). There is a large parking area located next to the highway and again next to a row of long drop toilets. Once parked head west, between the lake and the lodge and you will soon find yourself on the trail.
Once on the trail continue along the north shore of the lake heading west. When you reach the end of the lake you will cross the main feeding creek and then climb a little up the north side of a canyon. Soon you will want to take your first available left turn. This turn will take you over a bolder that bridges the two sides of the canyon. This is the most technical aspect of the approach and you will want to take care when stepping up with a pack.
From here you will travel through the trees for a bit before dropping down into the riverbed once again. Stay left and eventually you will find yourself in the large moraine-basin. At this point you simply head towards the large headwall at the end of the basin. There are a number of cairns to mark trails, but just keep going and you will get there. Cross the creek at the last minute, and follow any of the good trails up the final steep slopes to the right for a few hundred metres to reach the hut.
According to the Alpine Club the hut is located at
- Grid reference: 355203
- GPS coordinates: 51°38’ 06”-116°29’ 24” NAD27 11U 535296 5720566
- Hut elevation: 2,350 metres (7,700 feet)
The two maps I have found helpful are the Gem Trek “Bow Lake and Saskatchewan Crossing” map and the Canadian 1:50,000 “82N/9 Hector Lake”. Both can be purchased at MEC and/or you can download the 82N/9 from Geogratis. I made a video on how to do this here. Another service I have found helpful is All Trails Pro, with a $30/year subscription you can build and print maps of any size! Here are the maps I printed from All Trails for this hike, they have graciously let me share them in exchange for you checking them out.
You can view the Bow Hut and check availability at the ACC’s Website Here. From this page you can follow their instructions on how to book.