Camping, Bow River, and Lake Minnewanka hiking!

Neither of us had done much reading on what were key interesting spots or hikes to do while here and we’re open to landing anywhere comfortable and just enjoying the area.

Bow River park map


Figured out if you really want the popular places, book ahead. If you’re like us and unscheduled just arrive no later than afternoon to start hunting. The alternative Lake Louise overflow also seems to be a sleepover spot that many RV’rs and campers don’t seem to mind. We opted to pay for a campsite, so we drove around for a bit. One campground was closed for improvements and we ended up at the next one down.

Great central location to both Banff and Lake Louise areas is Castle Mountain campground. Another plus is proximity to the HWY 1 and HWY 93 intersection making the exploring jaunts efficient. Discovered we could deposit USD in place of Canadian dollars without converting it. A win for them.

Settling into Camp at Castle Mountain

The back sites had great bubbling creek ambiance. Most sites had some trees and forest separating them.

The campground had one loop around, had hot running water and flush toilets both a huge upgrade from what we normally hunt for. With this large of a park we had already determined to make the leap and do paid campgrounds and limit our roadtime and fuel expenses. A plus was hot running water too!

Watch out for those trees…snugged up close and when leveling the rig it leaned into a treebranch and poked a hole!!
Striking view heading down Bow River Valley Parkway
Castle Mountain juntion; Driving from HWY 1 to Bow River Valley Parkway at sunrise

Lake Minnewanka

Along the picnic area lake shore And Stewart Canyon trail

After driving, hunting and successfully poking a hole in the camper, it was time to get out for a bit. We chose to stop in Banff’s downtown visitor center then head to Lake Minnewanka.

There’s a long lake hike that has restrictions due to bears so we opted to walked a short portion called Stewart’s Canyon from the boat launch area back towards a bridge.

Bridge view back to lake
And view back up river