Where in the world can you find a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an International Peace Park, and a Biosphere Reserve all rolled into one? At Waterton Lakes National Park, the only place on earth endowed with all three titles.
Tucked away in in the southwest corner of Alberta, Waterton lies 3 hours south of Calgary and 1.5 hours southwest of Lethbridge. The dramatic collision of prairies and mountains has forged a rich variety of landscapes. The grasslands, aspen groves, evergreen forests and alpine tundra are home to flora and fauna found nowhere else.
The smallest of our Rocky Mountain parks, Waterton is pleasantly free of crowds. Hit the trails and you’re likely to see more wildlife than people. Take in the remarkable view at the top of the Bear’s Hump. Soak up the sun on the beach at Upper Waterton Lake, or cruise across the water to another country! Hit the links at the Waterton Lakes Golf Course and when the sun sinks below the peaks, swap stories with new friends at the clubhouse restaurant.
Embrace the Rocky Mountain winter in Waterton and snowshoe or cross-country ski along the snowy trails. Tobogganing and skating on a frozen mountain lake are true Alberta traditions. Experience the thrill of ice climbing. Go camping in the winter for free!
UNESCO. Biosphere. Border. Peace. Here’s your insider Waterton Lakes National Park checklist!
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
In 1932, the United States and Canada joined together to create the world’s first international peace park. Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is part of what’s known as the Crown of the Continent, 42,000 sq km (16,000 sq mi) of spellbinding scenery spanning the corners of Montana in the US and Alberta and British Columbia in Canada.
Upper Waterton Lake
Cruise along the shoreline of the deepest lake in the Canadian Rockies and cross the US/Canada border to Goat Haunt, Montana. Water shuttles cross the lake daily to Crypt Landing, gateway to one of the park’s most breathtaking hiking trails. Dress in layers. The weather can change very quickly.
Red Rock Canyon
To truly experience where the mountains meet the prairies, drive the 16 km (10 mi) Red Rock Parkway until you come to the canyon at the end. Walk the short Canyon Loop for stunning views of the colourful rock. Walk another 2 km (1.2 mi) to Blakiston Falls to get an impressive bird’s-eye view of the water cascading over the deep-red rocks.
Canoeing and Kayaking
Waterton is ideal for paddling, particularly on warm, calm summer days. The best spot is Cameron Lake, where the wind is a little gentler than on the main lakes. Canoes, rowboats and paddle boats can be rented here.
Rise to the Triple Crown Challenge and complete three world class hikes in one summer – Akamina Ridge, Crypt Lake and the Alderson-Carthew Summit. Bucket list material for experienced hikers.
Prince of Wales Hotel National Historic Site
Perched on a bluff high above Waterton Lake, the park’s most recognized landmark was constructed in 1926-27. The hotel is a grand survivor of the golden age of railway resort development. The panoramic view from the dining room goes perfectly with a traditional high tea.