"Alberta's Forgotten Gem - Waterton Lakes NP" Top 5 Page for this destination Waterton Lakes National Park by Bwana_Brown
Waterton Lakes National Park Travel Guide: 198 reviews and 371 photos
We had been in Alberta for two weeks, spending 9 days in the 'northern' town of Cold Lake visiting our oldest daughter and grandchildren, followed by 4 days in Calgary visiting our youngest daughter and one of my sisters. Now, the final week of the trip was for us to enjoy some new territory! We had already been to Banff and Jasper National Parks on previous trips (but not really much more than drive throughs), so we decided to head for the out of the way southwest corner of the province where Waterton Lakes National Park is located. A few days there, followed by a few more over the USA border in Glacier National Park, Montana looked like it was going to do the trick - we had gorgeous warm and sunny weather!
The beginnings of Waterton Lakes NP go back to 1895, when it was made the 4th National Park in Canada, at that time named Kootenay Lakes Forest Park (15 years ahead of Glacier). Because of their shared habitat and ongoing cooperation between the countries, an agreement was signed in 1932 between the Canadian and American governments to designate these two National Parks as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. They were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, a century after Waterton made the first step in this direction.
One of the reasons this area is so interesting is that it is an important biological crossroads, due to the fact that it is here that the Rocky Mountain Ranges reach their narrowest width in North America. With the Prairies up to their doorstep and warm Pacific breezes having more effect because of fewer intervening mountain ranges, there is an amazing variety of animal, plant and insect life to be found at the different elevations as the seasons change. Of course, the thing that most impressed us were the rugged mountains. No matter where we looked, the sights were spectacular!
It was great to get out there with nature as we made a few hikes as well as short drives on the Park's two scenic Parkways. Our accommodations at the Northlands Lodge was an experience in itself and even the townsite of Waterton Park was fun to explore. One of the advantages of being located some distance from anywhere is that there is just that much more breathing space when out and about enjoying the attractions!
As we approached Waterton Lakes National Park from Pincher Creek, Alberta on Highway 6, we were greeted with a great view of where the Prairies meet the Mountains. The left peak (just above our heads) is 9080-ft (2727-m) Chief Mountain, situated in Montana, USA on the eastern border of Glacier National Park. The peaks stretching off to the right lead to 7805-ft Vimy Peak, which towers above Waterton Park townsite.
- Pros:Beautiful, compact and not crowded
- In a nutshell:Fantastic hiking - and we only did the tip of the iceberg!
Waterton Lakes National Park, 505 square km (203 square miles) in size, is so small that it does not even register on... more travel advice
On our final full day in Waterton NP, we decided to up the ante a bit more by trying our longest trail to-date. One of... more travel advice
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