The Bow River flows along the west and south borders of the Village of Banff, Alberta, Canada. It is a recreation trail, a natural attraction, a picnic destination and a paddle route. Like all natural attractions in the Banff National Park, the Bow River attracts allot of attention because it is part of the community.
The Bow River Trail is a walking, jogging, stroller, roller blading and wheelchair accessible pathway. It is mostly paved and considered a very easy going route. However.. there are some boardwalk sections, gravel trail and hilly sections located along the pathway.
Closer to the trail and to the banks of the Bow River are grass lawns, picnic tables, viewing benches, shelters and information signs. Along various sections of the pathway there are many access points to the river.
On the south side of the village this Banff National Park trail connects with Central Park and on the west side with Fenland Park. The southern section of the Bow River Trail connects with Surprise Point and the Bow River-Hoodoo Trail. Back in town, across the Bow River Bridge, is the trailhead for the Bow Falls Trail.
The Bow River Trail measures 1 kilometre from Central Park north to Fenland Park. From Central Park south to Surprise Point the trail measures 1.5 kilometres with an elevation gain of about 18 metres. That would be the hilly part.
The river, itself, is a canoe, kayak and rafting route great for sightseeing and birdwatching in the Banff area. The Bow River connects with 40 Mile Creek, the Vermillion Lakes and Spray River creating great paddle routes. There are many tour and rental companies in the area.