The Bow River & Lake Louise Campground
Bow River was never on my radar while researching Banff because I don't usually research rivers unless we're planning on fly fishing. The river ran right through our campsite at Lake Louise and it was so much fun to hike around and explore. Michael did try fly fishing a few days on the river but because of the high concentration of glacial dust in the water (what makes the water bright turquoise), there really aren't many fish, and the fish that are in there are very slow and small. The other great thing about this river is that there were hardly any people on the trail which is very uncommon for Banff! We saw a few other families and some bikers but that was it. You can hike down the river from Lake Louise or drive down the the campground from Lake Louise and explore from there!
I loved staying at the campground near Lake Louise. It was a very central location with tons of people camping and having a good time. Of course I love the solitude of the back country, but when front country camping I love the quiet buzz of a happy, full campground. The campground has a big shower house if you need to shower (we didn't use them so I can't tell you how nice they were), stations to wash all your mess gear after meals and bathrooms. The campgrounds fit two tents comfortably and all have picnic benches with fire pits! Michael and I had all our gear with us from backpacking but for my parents we rented from Rent-a-Tent and it was SUCH an awesome experience. They're prices are phenomenal and they give you so much stuff! My parents rental came with nice North Face Tent (they realize that you need a 3-person tent for two people which was so great!), two very thick sleeping pads, two camp chairs, a camp stove, fuel canister, cooking pots and pans, mess gear (plates, bowls, knives, forks, etc.), a cooler, cooking utensils, cleaning stuff, trash bags, and so much more! If you're new to camping they give you a run down of all the equipment and how to use it before you head out as well which is really nice. We had such a wonderful experience with Rent-a-Tent, if you're ever visiting Banff or that area and don't want to pack a ton of camping supplies, just rent it from them!