If you are traveling to southern Canada, the Rocky Mountains or even the American Montana, you cannot avoid paying a visit to the Waterton Lakes National Park. In the south of the province of Alberta is the official fourth national park of Canada, which was founded in 1895. “Where the mountains meet the prairie” is the motto here, and so the beauty and diversity of Canada can be discovered all year round in a single park.
Unique in every way: Waterton Lakes
The Waterton Lakes National Park – which was named after the three large lakes Upper Waterton, Middle Waterton and Lower Waterton – is prestigious like no other. For example, it has been a biosphere reserve since 1979. This title is only given to sites that are not only nature reserves, but can also be used for sustainable economic use by humans.
Furthermore, the Waterton Lakes National Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995 and, together with the Glacier National Park in Montana, forms the so-called Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Each of these 135 Peace Parks worldwide undertakes not to build any borders within the protected area, which enables humans and animals to move freely within the states.
The famous Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton Lakes National Park, the only hotel in Canada built by an American railway company, is now a National Historic Site and is practically on the border with Montana
Nature for everyone
On an area of 525 square kilometers, the visitor has numerous opportunities to explore the national park, which has been formed by natural forces such as floods and fire. Beautiful Cameron Lake, about two hours from the main park, is a real spectacle of Waterton Lakes National Park. The encounter with a black bear or a grizzly is practically guaranteed while swimming in a canoe or boat over the lake which is so uniquely surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. With numerous picnic areas and fishing spots, Cameron Lake enchants its visitors and invites them to linger.
The Red Rock Canyon offers a color spectacle of unequal beauty. To be reached on a comfortable hiking trail, the viewer is presented with the whole color palette of nature: from the green of the forest to the unique red stones that surround the blue of the river. Of course, there are also numerous animals and plants to be found here.
Experience flora and fauna up close
More than 1,000 different, mostly rare plants and typical Canadian fauna such as bears, elk, deer and mountain goats will delight both professionals and novices in wildlife observation. The 31 hiking trails of Waterton Lakes National Park, which total over 200 kilometers, are all very well signposted and offer not only short routes such as the Townsite Route of 3.2 kilometers, but also multi-day routes such as the Tamarack Trail with its almost 32 kilometers.
The Crypt Lake Trail is also considered by connoisseurs to be one of the best hiking trails in all of Canada. At the three idyllic campsites of Waterton Lakes National Park, the Waterton Townsite, Crandell Mountain and the Belly River, the visitor can rest after a long day of hiking. At Crandell Mountain it is also possible to spend the night in a teepee during the summer.
An interesting novelty of the park is the possibility of “geocaching”.
This is a form of scavenger hunt, which shows the exact coordinates of a treasure chest via GPS. This usually contains small gimmicks and a logbook, in which you can immortalize yourself after a successful search. Anyone who has also successfully completed at least four “geocachings” will receive a souvenir from the park management.
A boat tour on Upper Waterton Lake, as well as horse riding, night walking tours and many other activities, from unique to classic, are also possible here. Waterton Lakes National Park also offers special events, such as the Waterton Wildflower Festival, a winter festival and a major Canada Day event on July 1st.