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Bow Valley Parkway, 1A (in Banff National Park, Alberta Canada)

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By Black Bandit (23 McR Points) on Nov 03, 2019

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Written Directions

The Bow Valley Parkway (Driveway, Rideway?) or this section of Highway 1A starts 5 km West of the Banff townsite off the Trans Canada Highway #1. Be aware that this route will require a park pass whether you are carrying on through the National Park or not. However one pass is good for several motorcycles (5?). If you stopped in Banff you should have a pass already. From the West the route starts at the Lake Louise interchange on the North side of Highway #1.

Scenery

This route allows you to really enjoy the scenery as the speed limit is 60 kph or 40 mph. Beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains as the road meanders through the forest. The Bow River is visible at points as it wanders between highways 1A and 1. One reason for the lower speed limit is the possibility of large game on the highway. This can include elk, deer, mountain sheep and moose. Even wolves and grizzly bear are possible. Animals are generally most visible in the early morning or at dusk.

Drive Enjoyment

The route is a well maintained two lane road as it is a popular tourist route. Traffic will be higher in July and August but because of the lower speeds it is only people that are not in a rush. The road wanders back and forth through the forest with a number of pull offs to view the scenery and various mountain peaks. Because of the lower speed limit there are often bicycle riders on the roadway enjoying the scenery as well.

Tourism Opportunities

Make sure to stop at Johnston Canyon for a hike up to the falls (at 17 km). Easy hike with well maintained trails. There are some facilities located here to cater to the hikers going up to the falls. There are a number of other hiking trailheads along the route. Camping is available in several locations as well as multiple picnic spots. Castle Junction at 23 km has a restaurant, store and fuel. Castle Junction provides access to Highway 93 heading to Radium Hot Springs. Carrying on to the the Lake Louise interchange gets you back onto Highway #1 or access to the town of Lake Louise, the Chateau Lake Louise and the lake itself, all of which are very worthwhile to see.

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