"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!

Chief Mountain in the Distance

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 and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful, compact and not crowded
  • In a nutshell:Fantastic hiking - and we only did the tip of the iceberg!
  • Last visit to Waterton Lakes National Park: Jul 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (18)

Comments (17)

  • hopang's Profile Photo
    May 7, 2009 at 5:56 AM

    Superb Waterton Lakes National Park page with excellent photos! Hike Red Rock Creek, Cameron and Blakiston Falls certainly look amazing! Thanks for sharing. ~ho & pang

  • canuckmike's Profile Photo
    Aug 29, 2008 at 12:47 PM

    I haven't actually made it here yet. One day I'm going to need to make the trip here.

  • traveldave's Profile Photo
    Apr 17, 2008 at 11:53 AM

    Waterton Lakes NP might be small, but it's sure packed with amazing scenery and things to see.

  • 807Wheaton's Profile Photo
    Jul 9, 2007 at 6:34 PM

    Your pictures are really wonderful! I sure enjoyed a trip through Waterton Lakes National Park. It has definitely helped me figure out what to see and do. Marcia

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Nov 1, 2006 at 1:40 PM

    Amazing pictures of the beautiful Wall Lake and the park. Great to know it's not very touristy, seems to be ideal place for me just now :-)

  • sim1's Profile Photo
    Sep 30, 2006 at 2:32 PM

    Great page Glenn! Waterton Lakes NP looks wonderful! I am dreaming about visting Glacier and Waterton some day and you have made me even more enthousiastic about this idea!

  • windsorgirl's Profile Photo
    Sep 16, 2006 at 7:41 AM

    glad you enjoyed Waterton as much as I did...the Wall Lake hike looks amazing! Your photos are excellent, esp the interior shots of the Prince W Hotel. What are you shooting with?

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Sep 7, 2006 at 7:57 AM

    Nice to have family located in areas where you can take advantage and visit such beautiful Parks. Nice pictures and tips!

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Aug 21, 2006 at 10:51 PM

    The Waterton Lakes National Park looks like a great place for a geology class but not only that! Your photos are superb. A not-too-touristy but tough living in almost any season place seems almost the ideal!

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Aug 20, 2006 at 1:24 PM

    I agree with Myndo and can only shake my head helplessly, its a disgrace. wonderful page Glenn, excellent read and superb pix


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