Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta

Tucked away in the south-western corner of Alberta and running along the Canada-USA border, is Waterton Lakes National Park. The Canadian side of the park actually combines with Montana's Glacier National Park creating an international peace park. The park is an unspoiled gem that is rife with an assortment of natural attractions. Some of the park's most visited sites include Cameron Falls and Red Rock Canyon, both serving as great backdrops for wildlife viewing, day hikes and more. There is also an 18-hole public Golf Course.

Waterton town site is located in the heart of Waterton Lakes National Park and provides easy access to all the park's attractions, along with numerous restaurants, accommodations and gift shops. Here one can also board the historic M.V. International that has been cruising Waterton Lake since 1927.

It's a two and a quarter hours cruise, which includes a half hour stop-over at the Goat Haunt Visitor Center in Montana's Glacier Park. Experienced Guides provide an informative commentary. Tours operate from the end of April to the beginning of October.Hiking is a favourite pastime of those who frequent the Waterton area and the Crypt Lake Trail continues to impress hikers of all skill levels. It is rated one of Canada's top-rated hiking trails. After the boat-taxi across Waterton Lake hikers set off onto the trail.

Points of interest along the trail include a 186-m (600-ft) waterfall, natural tunnels and an assortment of wildlife. The destination is the turquoise Crypt Lake.Bear's Hump Trail is another of Waterton's most popular trails.

Hikers are rewarded at the top of Bear's Hump with a panoramic view of the entire park. The Carthew-Alderson Trail is another of the popular trails in Waterton Lakes National Park. The trail winds through the Rockies, showcasing the ecological diversity of the park with a breath-taking view from atop Carthew Summit and a misty walk through one of Waterton's oldest forests. Both these trails can be accessed at Cameron Falls (in Waterton townsite) but - while the Bear's Hump can be hiked in about an hour - the Carthew-Alderson takes a full day (18 kms).

In addition to numerous inns, lodges and motels, for accommodation there is also the Prince of Wales Hotel. The 86-room hotel, named after the popular Prince Edward, was opened in 1927. Its steep, sloping gabled roof is an area landmark and attracts many that consider a stay at The Prince of Wales an annual tradition.

Its romantic appeal has made it a favorite for honeymooners for more than half a century.Other activities in the area include fishing the "blue ribbon" trout streams, snorkeling and scuba diving and guided tours of every kind. As an example High Five Adventures offer a guided tour of the area on mountain bikes or you can see the country and have a llama carry the load. Or, if you really want to get away from the crowds, you can participate in a cattle drive, herding 400 cattle on a 3-day adventure through the Porcupine Hills to the historic Waldron Ranch.

There are guided trips ranging from two days to two weeks in the Canadian Rockies in and around Waterton Lakes National Park. These are rugged and remote trails that are off the tourist's beaten track. Each trip typically includes all equipment & supplies, accommodation, guide, meals and your own individually assigned horse. For more information on any of these activities, simply Google Waterton Lakes National Park and follow the links.

To access the Waterton Lakes, besides car rentals, there is Carefree Express Ltd., a motorcoach tour company operating from Lethbridge since 1983 that offers personalized service with deluxe motorcoaches.Waterton Lakes National Park is not the largest in Canada's National Park system, nor the most easily accessible, but for sheer natural beauty in a mountain lake setting, it cannot be excelled.


Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Canada Vacation.

By: Michael Russell


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