Located in southwestern Alberta and two and a half hours from Calgary, Waterton Lakes National Park should be on the list of places to visit for any adventurer. Botanists, ornithologists, photographers, and hikers love rare wild flowers, bird songs, turquoise water and snow-capped peaks. With so much to do in Waterton, it can be hard to plan a weekend outing – but here are six stops you will want to include.
Hiking on the Bear’s Hump
Even if you arrive late Friday afternoon, you will still have time to enjoy the picturesque view over the city of Waterton from the top of the Bear Hump. This quick hike extends only 1.5 kilometers or about 45 minutes from the Visitor Center. Stroke your legs and get a glimpse of what the rest of your weekend in Waterton will offer you.
Take a quick meal in the village
The village of Waterton is located next to Superior Waterton Lake. There are many charming restaurants, most of which offer magnificent views of the lake. For a quick meal before continuing the day, head to the Glacier Bistro. This restaurant on Waterton Avenue serves snacks and meals, both take away and on-site dining. Go to the restaurant in the morning to stock up on healthy snacks and pre-packed lunches, perfect for hikers.
Camping or luxurious accommodation?
There are no bad choices at Waterton Park. If you want to pamper yourself, the Prince of Wales Hotel, built in 1927 as a railway station hotel, is the most famous historical accommodation in the area. The common area and the rooms with lake view offer some of the best views. If sleeping under the stars matches your getaway, book a camping site at Waterton Townsite Camping, Belly River Campground or at Crandell Mountain Campground.
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One-Day Excursion to Crypt Lake
Not everyone knows the existence of the challenge for hikers nicknamed The Triple Crown of Waterton. Completing the Triple Crown includes trekking to Crypt Lake, Akamina Ridge and Alderson-Carthew summit in one summer. Start slowly with Lake Crypt, the shortest of three hikes.
Wake up early on Saturday morning to catch the Waterton Village Marina ferry to Crypt Landing, the starting point for your 17.2-kilometer (six to eight hour) return trip. This trail hosts only two boats of 50 people arriving each morning on a first come, first served basis.
The Crypt Lake trail winds through a forest, passes by a few waterfalls, through a natural tunnel and climbs up a cliff, with a cable to guide you, before reaching the turquoise lake. You will need hiking boots for this hike.
If you do not feel like grueling hikes, another daily ferry takes passengers to Goat Haunt, Montana. This is not a true point of entry into the United States, but you can stamp your passport as a souvenir before returning to the lake on the Canadian side.
Dinner in the village
After a day of hiking in the sun, relax for a well-deserved dinner in the village. Lakeside Chophouse offers panoramic views (as everywhere in Waterton) and full meals. Starters, dishes to share, hamburgers and fries or steak, all dishes are served by the lake.
For a more relaxed dinner, try one of the other restaurants in the village, including The Taco Bar, Zum’s Eatery & Mercantile, Vimy’s Lounge and Grill or Trappers Mountain Grill.
Sunday morning walks
Why not take the opportunity to do some extra photos before going back to town? To start your Sunday, ride on the Red Rock Parkway to the Red Rock Canyon. Although the canyon area is presented as a trail, it is actually an easy and picturesque 20-minute walk. The Blakiston waterfalls, near the canyon, are unavoidable.
If you still have time to return to Calgary, other day trips to Waterton promise fantastic views … and sore legs! Accessible day tours of Red Rock Canyon include the Twin Lakes (22.8 kilometers) and the Blakiston Valley (20.2 kilometers).
No matter how you spend your weekend, do not forget to bring a bear repellent before you walk the trails. Waterton is known for its abundant wildlife, home to the Rockies.
We could keep on talking about the incredible views in Waterton, but you should probably experience it on your own. So where will you be on your next weekend?
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