Waterton Lakes National Park is located in the southwestern part of Alberta along the border between Canada and the United States. Glacier National Park is a neighboring national park in the United States located in northern Montana.
The park boundaries encompass an area of 195 square miles (505 sq km) and serve as the foundation for the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park while also being declared a biosphere reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The elevation of the park extends from 4,232 feet (1,290 m) to the summit of Mount Blakiston at 9,547 feet (2,910 m). The landscape represents a glorious wilderness with sculpted and rugged mountains.
Lake Waterton is a mountain lake that encompasses an area of 3.9 square miles (10.1 sq km) with depths reaching 490 feet (150 m). The southern part of the lake is located on the US side of the border in Glacier National Park.
The Glacier part of Waterton Lake is connected to the larger body of water on the Canadian side by a shallow channel called Bosporus. Two-thirds of the lake is accounted for on the Canadian side. Habitats surrounding the lake include alpine tundra, aspen parkland, grasslands, and subalpine forests.
Wildlife is varied and plentiful. Predator species include bald eagle, bobcat, cougar, coyote, black bear, fox, grizzly bear, lynx, timber wolf, and wolverine. Other popular mammals found in the park include beaver, bighorn sheep, bison, elk, marmot, moose, mountain goats, mule deer, otter, snowshoe hare, and white-tailed deer.
The rugged wilderness and majestic mountain landscapes are what drive people to visit Waterton Lake National Park. The varied and abundant wildlife is another draw.
The majority of visitors experience the highlights of Waterton by hiking some of the many trails offered throughout the park. During the summer months, visitors will also engage the lake with canoeing and other water-related activities.
Waterton Lakes National Park Trails:
Water Lakes is an incredibly scenic mountainous lake terrain and there are about three dozen trails that provide hikers with a chance to explore the lake and surrounding mountains. Trails range from easy to difficult giving each person something to explore regardless of abilities.
Red Rock Canyon Trail
This is a short scenic 0.4 mile (0.64 km) easy trail to a stunning red rocked canyon that overlooks the river cutting through. There a chances to see wildlife, however the incredible red color of the canyon rock walls is what creates the impressive landscape.
Lower Bertha Falls
This moderate rated trail ascends 646 feet (196.9 m) over 3.3 miles (5.31 km) with incredible panoramic views over the lake and out upon the surrounding mountains. There is a chance to see wildlife along the way, however, the waterfall is the destination.
Upper Bertha Falls
This is a longer 6.1-mile (9.81 km) moderate rated trail that features an elevation gain of 1,804 feet (549.86 m). Of course, the Bertha Falls is the destination, however, there are astounding panoramic views of the lake and neighboring mountains.
Crypt Lake Trail
This is one of the most popular but challenging trails. It covers a distance of 12.2 miles (19.6 km) while ascending 2,801 feet (853.74 m) up to a panoramic view out over Crypt Lake. There is a river along the way as well as views of a waterfall and wildflowers. There is a chance to see wildlife, however, the panoramic landscapes are what leave you speechless.
Waterton Lakes Highlights
- Waterton Lake
- Mount Blakiston
- All Trails, Best Trails in Waterton Lakes National Park, https://www.alltrails.com/parks/canada/alberta/waterton-lakes-national-park, retrieved July 2020.
- National Geographic, Waterton Lakes National Park, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/parks/waterton-lakes-canada-park/, retrieved September 2019.
- National Geographic, National Parks of North America, Canada-United States-Mexico, National Geographic Society, 1995.
- Parks Canada, Waterton Lakes National Park, https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/waterton/, September 2019
- UNESCO, Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/304/, retrieved September 2019.
- Waterton, Waterton, https://www.waterton.ca/, retrieved September 2019.
- Waterton Lakes National Park, My Waterton, https://mywaterton.ca/, retrieved September 2019.