Free travel home page with storage for your pictures and travel reports! login GLOBOsapiens - Travel Community GLOBOsapiens - Travel Community GLOBOsapiens - Travel Community
 You are here: Member pages
 Forgot password?
sign up

Top 3 members
wojtekd 70
el2995 10
basia 4
Member snaps
bootlegga Waterton Lakes National Park - A travel report by James
about me      | my friends      | pictures      | albums      | reports      | travel log      | travel tips      | guestbook      | activities      | contact      |

Waterton Lakes National Park,  Canada - flag Canada -  Alberta
12472 readers

bootlegga's travel reports

Where the prairies meet the mountains

  19 votes
Page: 1 2
The park is remarkable because it is the only place in the Canadian Rockies where the prairies and mountains meet without a transition of foothills. One minute, you are driving on a flat prairie road, the next, towering mountains are right in front of you.

Waterton townsite
Waterton townsite
Waterton National Park is one of Canada’s and Alberta’s lesser known National Parks. Together with Montana’s Glacier National Park, it formed the world’s first International Peace Park in 1932. Today there are several other Peace Parks in the Middle East (Israel & Jordan), Central America (Nicaragua & Costa Rica), and Africa (Mozambique, Zimbabwe, & South Africa). Together they form a fantastic UNESCO World Heritage site.

Waterton has plenty to see and do. During the summer, hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing and golf are all possible. During the winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are the two most popular activities.

The Waterton townsite also has a variety of activities, from tennis to hiking, to bicycle rentals to walking Main street and window shopping. The seasons in Waterton are mild with some very warm days (up to +35 Celsius) in the summer, and warm spells in the winter caused by Chinooks (warm wind blowing in from the Pacific). The one thing you can expect is a fair amount of precipitation, no matter the season.

A couple of websites for more info; ab/waterton/default.-asp

Favourite spots:
The view from the Bear's Hump
The view from the Bear's Hump
The Bear’s Hump; It is so named because the rock cropping you climb resembles the hump on the back of a grizzly bear, not due to a preponderance of bears. While it is rated as one of the toughest hikes in the park, it is also one of the most popular. Located right behind the Park Information office, it climbs 200+ metres very quickly and can be very tiring for some. But once the summit is reached, the view of Waterton valley is unparalleled. On a clear day, it is possible to see almost the whole length of Upper Waterton Lake and most of the valley it occupies.

What's really great:
Waterton Lakes National Park travelogue picture
Due to its relative isolation (about 3 hours from Calgary, even more from major centers in the US northwest, it is quiet and not filled with tour buses and hordes of tourists the way some other more popular Rocky Mountain parks are.

Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon
One must see is Red Rock Canyon. Near Crandell Mountain, it meanders for a couple of hundred metres and is an amazing sight. A short walk south takes you to Blakiston Falls.

Closer to the townsite, you can see Cameron Falls, or after a 2 km hike, you can also see Bertha Falls. Cameron Lake is a 15 minute drive from town and once there, you can fish, canoe, or hike the lake or surrounding area. The southern edge of Cameron Lake is actually across the border in the United States, as well as a favourite feeding area for local grizzly bears.

Crypt Lake Trail has been voted in the past as Canada’s best hike. Unlike others in the park, it is a much more difficult hike. It requires a boat ride to the other side of Upper Waterton Lake, then you need to hike for about 3 hours one way, past three sets of distinct falls and climbing almost 700 meters (2300 feet), and through a 60 foot rock tunnel finally reaching your destination, Crypt Falls. It is definitely not for the faint of heart.

The Prince of Wales Hotel
The Prince of Wales Hotel
There are plenty of hotels in Waterton, but the one most people know is the Prince of Wales Hotel. Perched atop the bluffs near the Bosporus and built in 1927, it has European styling and a rugged sophistication. Here it is possible to enjoy British High Tea if one is so inclined.

Another good choice is the Bayshore Inn. Located right on the banks of Upper Waterton Lake, it offers some stunning sunrise views. It is also next to the main street in town, so it is very close to walk to your favourite restaurant or shop.

For those looking for something a little more rustic, Waterton townsite also has a campground that offers all sorts of services. The one disadvantage of course is that the campsite does not allow open fires, although propane stoves are allowed. If your mind is set on camping and enjoying a fire, just outside the park gates is Waterton Springs Campground. With over 150 sites, there is plenty of room for everyone.

The M.V. International cruising Upper Waterton Lake
The M.V. International cruising Upper Waterton Lake
Sights II

A boat tour of Upper Waterton Lake is available as well. It takes about two hours and travels the length of the lake, crossing the Canada/US border and stops at Goat Haunt in Montana. It is possible to stay and hike for a few hours and catch a later boat back to the townsite. The Kootenai Lakes hike is about 4km one way and one of the best moose habitats in the park.

The Waterton Park Golf Course is one of the oldest in Alberta. The first 9 holes were completed in 1929, and a further 9 were added about a decade later.

Sunrise on Mid Waterton Lake
Sunrise on Mid Waterton Lake
The Fireside Lounge in the Bayshore Inn is an interesting place to watch some sports and knock back a couple. For a more cultured evening, head to the Prince of Wales Hotel and enjoy the subdued elegance of the Windsor Lounge.

Cameron Falls
Cameron Falls
Zum’s was a funky little burger/pizza place that kind of reminded me of a TGI Friday’s or Maxwell Taylor’s. The food was great and the prices fairly reasonable.

Frank’s offers a menu of Chinese food and great homemade burgers. It also had a $4.95 breakfast, as well as lunch specials and a Chinese buffet available. Friendly service and good food. Located on Waterton's main street.

Down the block from Frank’s was a little Italian place, called the Trattoria (or something like that). It was a bit pricey, but the food was pretty good.

Other recommendations:
Chief Mountain in Montana
Chief Mountain in Montana
If you have time, head south and visit the other half of the Peace Park, Glacier National Park in Montana. It is a short drive (a little more than one hour from the Waterton Park gate) through some stunning scenery and once there, there is plenty to see and do, including hiking, camping, scenic lake cruises, and scenic drives.

The Crowsnest Pass is less than an hour’s drive and offers some unique sights, including the Frank Slide, one of North America’s deadliest avalanches. The drive through the Crowsnest Pass is also incredibly scenic.

In the other direction, Fort MacLeod is built on the sight of the original RCMP (then Northwest Mounted Police) fort in western Canada. Also nearby is Head-Smashed in Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage sight that explores the history of the region’s native peoples and their unique methods for hunting buffalo.

Published on Sunday December 18th, 2005

send travelogue via e-mail    Publish on Facebook  

Thu, Sep 07 2006 - 05:59 PM rating by mrscanada

When I was a teenager I lived in Lethbridge and I we went to Waterton Lakes every week end in the summer. We didn't stay at the Prince of Wales Hotel but with friends from Chicago.

I could see the Big Chief Mountain from the window in my living room.

Fri, Apr 14 2006 - 01:15 AM rating by davidx

I must have ben away when you did this but better late than never - an excellent report.

Sat, Jan 07 2006 - 08:54 AM rating by magsalex

Great report. The scenery looks beautiful.

Wed, Dec 21 2005 - 05:53 PM rating by downundergal

I could almost smell that crisp clean mountain air by just reading your report.

Mon, Dec 19 2005 - 09:56 AM rating by gloriajames

hiya james!
great report and beautiful pictures ... btw the waterton town pic reminds me so much of Queenstown, NZ.

Mon, Dec 19 2005 - 02:00 AM rating by rangutan

Another wonderful report on a very special place.

Sun, Dec 18 2005 - 02:44 PM rating by marianne


What a pleasure to read. Not only a pleasure but also informative. I like your pictures especially the sunrise. The Prince of wales hotel looks good, interesting architecture. is it typical of Canada?



Sun, Dec 18 2005 - 01:36 PM rating by mistybleu


This a lovely descriptive report that makes we want to view these sites for myself. I would love to visit the Rockies. Great pictures also.

Sun, Dec 18 2005 - 12:34 PM rating by jorgesanchez

text and pictures are magnificent!

Login if you are a member, or sign up for a free membership to rate this report and to earn globo points!

   Antwerp average user rating for this report
   Banff average user rating for this report
   Calgary average user rating for this report
   Edmonton average user rating for this report
   Elk Island National Park average user rating for this report
   Jasper average user rating for this report
   Toronto average user rating for this report
   Waterton Lakes National Park average user rating for this report
   Wells Gray Provincial Park average user rating for this report
   Beijing Shi average user rating for this report
   Xian average user rating for this report
   Arras average user rating for this report
   Caen average user rating for this report
   Paris average user rating for this report
   Saint Malo average user rating for this report

Publish your own story!
 More on Canada

   Edmonton - benkoshy average user rating for this report
   Victoria - mrscanada average user rating for this report
   Toronto average user rating for this report
   Calgary - mikkie average user rating for this report
   Quebec - anna_moon average user rating for this report

  Terms and Conditions    Privacy Policy    Press    Contact    Impressum
  © 2002 - 2024 Findix Technologies GmbH Germany    Travel Portal Version: 5.0.1