Monday, August 07, 2017

Seven Things to See and Do in Waterton Lakes National Park

I have lived in BC my whole life and only recently heard of Waterton Lakes National Park. It is a smaller park located in southwestern Alberta and was the reason for our recent road trip. We drove across southern BC to Waterton and then down to Yellowstone through there. We spent two nights in Waterton Lakes National Park and these are the highlights that I recommend doing if you find yourself there (which you should!):

Seven Things to See and Do in Waterton:

Waterton Lakes National Park

1. Hike Bear's Hump. If you do one hike, this would be it. The trailhead is at the Visitor's Centre which does not have a lot of parking so come early! The hike is 2.8 km (return) in distance and takes about one hour to do (return). It is a steady incline (200 meter elevation gain) and you're already at a high elevation so you may feel out of breath but I promise you that the view is so worth it. After 20 minutes of climbing, this is your view. Be aware that there are steep cliffs and that it is windy up there–hold onto your kids. The view behind us is Middle and Lower Waterton Lakes which are the deepest lakes in the Rockies. 


Waterton Lakes National Park

2. Visit Cameron Lake. You can rent a boat, do the lakeside trail or just play on the beach. It is beautiful.

Waterton Lakes National Park Cameron Lake

3. Hike to BC on the Wall Lake Trail.  Find this hike on the Akamina Parkway Trailhead 1 km before Cameron Lake. It is about 11.2 km total to and from Wall Lake and is relatively flat with just 165 meters of elevation gain. The B.C. border is about 30 minutes in. Go another 1.5 hours and you'll come to the beautiful Wall Lake. The trail itself is not that beautiful but the lake at the end is.

Waterton Lakes National Park Wall Lake

Waterton Lakes National Park Wall Lake

4. Drive through the Bison Paddock. This is located just five minutes from the park gate and we did it twice (it's free!). You can park at the look out or drive through the paddock; this was a hit for our whole family.

Bison Paddock

5. Walk around the Prince of Wales hotel. The view of the lakes is just below what you would see if you did the Bear's Hump trail. It is beautiful and you can walk right down to the beach. It was really windy here, too.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park

6. Drive up to the Red Rocky Canyon. We did this drive once in the day and once in the evening. It takes about 30 minutes but is so beautiful and we saw wildlife each time. We saw four black bears in one drive alone! Once up at the Canyon you can have a picnic, walk in the river, or hike to Blakiston Falls (these falls weren't that amazing but if you're looking for an easy 2 km walk, this would be one).

Bear at Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park Red Rock Canyon

Waterton Lakes National Park Red Rock Canyon

Waterton Lakes National Park Red Rock Canyon

Waterton Lakes National Park Red Rock Canyon

Blakiston Falls
Blakiston Falls
7. Jump in a lake. Any lake. When we were there it was upper 30's the whole time and nothing felt better than a jump in the lake! Well, the ice cream we got in town was pretty good too – that's a "must do" as well.


If you are wondering where we stayed, we couldn't get a reserved site in the park so we booked at Waterton Springs Campground which is just five minutes from the entrance and a great price at just $35/night. It's a bit like a giant parking lot but worked well for us. 


There are bears in the area so be sure to keep all food and scented products inside your vehicle!


If you have never been to Waterton Lakes National Park and enjoy places like Banff and Jasper, I recommend it! It's like a mini version of the other two and is a lot quieter. You can find out more about the hiking there with this link.  My final pieces of advice would be: there did not appear to be a lot of water sources in the park (other than lakes) so be sure to pack your water bottles, check in at the Visitor Centre to ask what works best for your family (and do the kids' Parks Canada Xplorers program) and finally, be bear aware by travelling in groups and making noise (which my kids are good at).

Have you been? Is it on your list?

Love,
Louise

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1 comment:

  1. I agree! It was beautiful and I would have liked another day. Maybe we'll go back another year.

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