Tucked away in the southwest corner of the Canadian province of Alberta is Waterton Lakes National Park. It is not only a mountain man’s delight but it provides beautiful scenery for those who enjoy placid lakes, raging rivers and forests where wildlife is abundant.
Waterton Lake’s high mountain ranges stand majestically on the Canadian and United States border joining these two countries as well as Waterton/Glacier International Peace Park.
If you want to escape the life of busy streets and smoggy air and enter into a place urban country forgot, then Waterton is the place to go. The park is not heavily traveled like Yellowstone and it is not often you will meet scores of hikers on the mountainous trails.
Although crowds of people may be scarce, wildlife is not. The pristine wilderness provides a perfect setting for bison, Wapite, Bighorn sheep, deer, bald eagles, black and grizzly bear. If you are a hiker, be sure to check in with the rangers to find out where the grizzlies have been recently sighted. The rangers keep good records on the bear and many times trails will be closed to hikers until the grizzlies have been safely removed or have wandered off on their own. Animals in the park have the right-of-way and unless bears become destructive and threaten human life they are not usually chased away. Bears are considered dangerous so it is advisable to stay out of their way.
Bighorn sheep roam the mountain slopes and graze even on the front lawns of summer cabins located in the small town of Waterton, located on the shores of Waterton Lake. Here, if you are not tired of hiking and seeing the wonders of the park, you can stroll down the quiet streets and enjoy the gift shops and restaurants.
The park suggests hiking and camping. Hiking is popular and it is a way to get a close-hand look at the splendors of nature. More than 114 miles of back country trails twist through the mountains and canyons of the park. It’s on these trails that you will get a better chance to see the park’s wildlife. Some of the trails you may want to test will take you to beautiful lakes such as Bertha, Carthrew, Crandell, Crypt, Cameron and Goat. Along the way look for the abundance of wildflowers and by all means take a camera and plenty of pictures.
There is a wide selection of campgrounds available. Some provide kitchen shelters, firewood, tables, washrooms and running water. Camping is limited in some areas so check with park personnel before heading down the road. It will eliminate disappointments if the campgrounds are full or restricted to type of camping equipment.
Other activities at Waterton include horseback riding, golfing, at a tough and challenging 18-hole course, fishing and boating. Canoes are available for rent on Waterton and Cameron lakes. You may choose a leisure cruise from from the Canadian end of Waterton Lake to the U.S. Shore on the south. Several cruises are available that take you through a series of deep scenic bays. You will be able to see waterfalls, rugged geological formations and wildlife along the shoreline.
Waterton does not have numerous lodging facilities. However, there are a few motels and hotels available. One of the most interesting is the Prince of Wales Hotel. It sits high upon a hill overlooking the clear, blue Waterton Lake and the picturesque town of Waterton.
Once you have visited Waterton Lakes National Park you’ll want to return to the restful atmosphere that fills the park.
If you are driving south from the Canadian park you won’t want to miss Glacier National Park on the Montana side of the international border. You will continue to see fantastic scenery and you will marvel at nature’s beauty.
For more information on Waterton Lakes National Park at Canada write Box 200, Waterton Park, AB, Canada,T0K 2M0 or email [email protected]