Waterton National Park (The Ultimate Visitors Guide)

You’ll probably need to visit Waterton Lakes National Park many times before you really feel you’ve gotten the most out of the park since there are so many things to do there. You won’t get bored since there are so many restaurants, lodging options, and treks to enjoy.

We finally got the chance to visit Southern Alberta’s Waterton National Park after a few years of residing there. I don’t know why it took us so long to visit; all I can say is WOW. We were really blown away by this region of the Canadian Rockies, and we can’t wait to go again.

There is something for everyone, whether your hobbies include hiking, taking in the charming downtown area, or drinking tea at the famous Prince of Wales hotel. Here is all the information you want for a trip to Waterton National Park.

History of the Waterton National Park

The federal government established a 54 square mile area as a protected area in 1895. Prior to becoming Waterton Lakes National Park, it was known as Dominion Forest Park. The fourth created national park in Canada was Waterton. The unmistakable Waterton Lakes are the original source of the park’s name.

The renowned Prince of Wales Hotel opened its doors in 1927, marking the beginning of service to the United States’ Glacier National Park. The “M.V. Then a ship was constructed to cruise between Glacier and Waterton. International is still available today.

A lively working town had emerged from the townsite by 1921. To honor the goodwill between the United States and Canada, the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park was established in 1932. Today, this park for peace is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Nakoda, Niitsitapi, and Tsuut’ina indigenous people have traditionally inhabited the Treaty 7 land where the Waterton Lakes National Park is located.

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Favorite Activities in Waterton Lakes National Park

1. Bears Hump hike

A must-do quick Alberta walk in Waterton National Park is Bear’s Hump. It’s a fantastic Canadian Rockies walk since virtually anybody can complete it and receive stunning vistas of the park from Bear’s Hump. You can plainly see Montana from here on a clear day. Every visitor to Waterton National Park ought to do this lovely, quick, and simple trek.

With it being close to town and readily feasible in under an hour, you can fill your days in Waterton with a variety of additional activities. How to walk Bear’s Hump in Waterton National Park is provided here!

2. Crypt Lake Trail hiking

One of the world’s most exciting walks and among Canada’s top routes is the Crypt Lake Trail in Waterton National Park. For a full day on the trek, hikers go from the Waterton Township to the trailhead by boat. Over a distance of 10 kilometers, the path ascends 900 meters as it passes through the Canadian Rockies.

The route demands that trekkers hold on to cliff faces, ascend a visible ladder, and squeeze through a narrow natural tunnel. Numerous vistas of lakes, waterfalls, and soaring mountains may be seen along the path. The journey ends with a turquoise blue lake that is ideal for a cool plunge on a hot day, rewarding hikers for their efforts.

3. International Peace Park in Waterton

The International Peace Park, which celebrates the union of Glacier National Park in Montana and Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park, is situated quite close to the marina. Together, they make up the world’s first park of its sort, the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. The park contains several of the renowned red Adirondack Parks Canada chairs as well as lovely walking routes.

4. Visit the Prince of Wales Hotel for High Tea.

High Tea at the lovely Prince of Wales Hotel is one of the nicest things to do in Waterton National Park after a hike. There aren’t many restaurants that serve high tea better than this, in all seriousness. The Prince of Wales hotel in the park is a landmark and offers stunning views (more on that later). Every day from 12 to 4 p.m., both hotel guests and non-guests may enjoy sandwich squares and pastries.

5. Ghost Stories are being told at the Prince of Wales Hotel.

If you’re unsure about what to do in Waterton at night, think about listening to some ancient tales! The Prince of Wales was constructed in 1927 by the Great Northern Railway, and it is like traveling back in time. Coming in here is a unique experience—from the decor, rooms, and elevator to the beverages.

The Prince of Wales staff also tells ghost stories from the hotel as well as tales from Waterton every evening at 8 o’clock. Both visitors and non-guests are welcome.

6. The Red Rock Canyon Parkway by bicycle

The Red Rock Canyon Parkway is among the top attractions in Waterton! The Red Rock Canyon Parkway is one of Alberta’s most picturesque roads. There are several pull-off locations along the 9 km of undulating hills, mountains, and grassland plains. You may either drive it, bring your own bike, or hire one from Pat’s in the city center and pedal the whole distance!

Some of the nicest things to do in Waterton are to take in the scenery along this. I can guarantee you, even if you’re from another part of Alberta, you’ve never seen the hues of the mountains quite like this.

The Red Rock Canyon Parkway ends with the well-known Red Rock Canyon. a fantastic feature in Waterton National Park that is also easily accessible via trek. Make sure to arrive early since this location is busy, particularly on weekends.

7. Enjoy some ice cream in the city

Despite its tiny size, Downtown Waterton offers a variety of fun activities and excellent dining options near Lake Waterton. The Thirsty Bear, The Taco Bar, and Wieners of Waterton are some of our favorite places to dine. On a steamy summer day, we also couldn’t resist stopping by the Big Scoop Ice Cream Parlor for some ice cream.

Make sure to explore Lake Waterton while you’re there, whether it’s in a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard. The finest thing to do in Waterton, particularly on a hot day, is to go horseback riding. Kayaks and paddleboards may be rented for $25 per hour at Pat’s Waterton if you don’t have your own.

8. Beach-going at Waterton

A stunning pebble beach can be found on the beaches of Waterton Townsite and extends all the way to the Waterton Campground, which is close to the Prince of Wales Hotel. Choose a position in the shade beneath the trees to take in the view of Vimy Peak across the lake or lay up some chairs and towels here in the sun.

Bring a stand-up paddleboard or kayak and explore the lake. Alternately, you might swim in the frigid Upper Waterton Lake if you dare. Your breath will be taken away by the sea, even in the height of August. When you need to stretch your legs, you may stroll along a lovely sidewalk.

9. Explore Cameron Falls

One of the nicest waterfalls in Alberta to view is Cameron Falls, which is another fantastic activity near Waterton. It is quite accessible from below and breathtakingly lovely. Here, chilly mist will splash you as you stand on the observation bridge and watch pure mountain water pour down.

All ages should go to Cameron Falls since you don’t have to go far to experience the splendor. You may enjoy Waterton’s attractions with only a little detour from the automobile.

10. Lower Bertha Falls and Bertha Lake Hike

In terms of difficulty, the Lower Bertha Falls walk is comparable to Bears Hump, but the reward is waterfall sprays rather than vistas of another nation. Easy terrain and little elevation gain make this an ideal trip for families with young children.

You’ll get a lot of vistas of Waterton Lake on the walk to the falls. You have the option to extend your journey after you get to the falls by going on to Bertha Lake, which is another 3 km, 400 m, and 21 switchbacks away. A stunning lake that is green and blue is the prize!

11. Visit the Waterton Lakes by boat

Daily boat cruises of Waterton Lake are offered by Shoreline Cruise from the Waterton Marina. There are many daily cruises available for $55 per adult. It’s a fantastic method to go boating. Along the way, you’ll cross the border into Canada and make a small detour at Goat Haunt in Montana’s Glacier National Park.

The trip is available during the whole summer, and the welcoming staff will inform you along the route about the specifics and background of Waterton National Park.

One of Alberta’s greatest places to learn about indigenous culture and experience the real Spirit of Waterton is at the Paahtómahksikimi Cultural Centre. Visit this location to discover more about Paahtómahksikimi, which is Native American for “the inner holy lake.”

12. Play golf

One of the first golf courses built in Canada is the Waterton Lakes Golf Course. Golf fans are going to like this 18-hole course. The mountain panoramas make this course, which was built between 1929 and 1939 and was influenced by Stanley Thompson’s design, truly spectacular. Throughout the summer, the golf course is open seven days a week!

13. Banff horseback riding

One of the best spots in the world to go horseback riding is in the Canadian Rockies. A reputable and well-known business in the neighborhood, Alpine Stables is owned by a family. Since 1969, they have been offering tours, and they still take guests on the 200+ km of trails in Waterton Lakes National Park.

14. Travel around Waterton via bicycle

To take advantage of some of the greatest trails in the summer at Waterton National Park, bring a road bike, mountain bike, or e-bike. The greatest cycling tracks are located 36 kilometers from town on the aforementioned Red Rock Canyon path.

Consider riding to Cameron Lake via Akamina Parkway or one of two other fantastic pathways. The First Oil Well in Western Canada is a stopping point. Along this route are access points for the trails to Crandell Lake, Lineham Falls, Rowe Lakes, Akamina Pass, Cameron Lakeshore, and Carthew-Alderson.

The Prince of Wales Hotel and Middle Waterton Lake are seen from the Kootenai Brown Path, another multipurpose trail.

Activities in Waterton during the Winter

In Waterton, the majority of eateries and motels close their doors throughout the winter. Waterton Glacier Suites, Kilmorey Lodge, and Crandell Mountain Lodge are the only hotels that are still operating.

You’ll nevertheless like visiting Waterton National Park in the winter if you don’t mind missing out on the complete Waterton experience. It’s a peaceful moment surrounded by unending beauty. The winter season typically runs from November to April.

Snowshoeing in Waterton is quyite popular, The area near Cameron Lakes is fantastic for snowshoeing. Avalanche-free snowshoeing is possible on the Belleview path, Wishbone trail (to the Vimy junction), Townsite Loop trail, and Prince of Wales hill.

Cross-country skiing is permitted on the Akamina Parkway between Cameron Lake and Little Prairie Day Use Area thanks to tracks laid down by Parks Canada. Red Rock Parkway is a fantastic route for fat biking and is off-limits to cars throughout the winter. Wildlife Viewing is another great activity that you can engage with. Winter at Waterton may be a great time for wildlife viewing. Keep an eye out for elk and, with any hope, cougar or lynx sightings or, at the absolute least, their footprints.

Skilled climbers may attempt some of the region’s well-known ice climbs. The Compound Gullies, Quick and Dirty, Experts Choice, Lineham Falls, and Sullivan Falls are among the popular climbs. If the weather is suitable, ice skating at Linnet Lake at the Prince of Wales Hotel may be a lot of fun.

Final words

Follow this as a guide and visit Waterton National Park. Then you will be able to get the most out of time that you are spending here at this park.