Hiking enthusiasts from all over the world travel to Waterton Lakes National Park to experience the thrill and natural beauty that our Rocky Mountain terrain offers. With almost 200 miles of hiking trails within its boundaries, Waterton Park offers something for hikers of all levels and abilities, with varied terrain, skilled guides, numerous interpretive trails and loops.
Parks Canada maintains all hiking trails to ensure they are kept in pristine condition and as safe as possible for hikers. They also do this to help maintain the delicate ecological balance of Waterton’s mountainside slopes.
Popular Hikes in Waterton Park
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Hike
Starting from the Bertha Trail Head, this 14 km interpretive hike is jointly led by Canadian and American Park Interpreters. A moderately easy hike, it winds along the western shore of Waterton Lake, stopping at the International Boundary for a picnic lunch and moving ceremony called “Hands across the Border”. It carries on to Goat Haunt, Montana, where hikers return to Waterton by boat. This is a long but gentle trail with plenty of rest stops.
A fee of $23.00 Canadian is charged for the return boat trip.
Participation is limited to 35 people, so you must pre-register for this hike. Registration can be done up to 3 days in advance by contacting the:
Waterton Visitor Center in Waterton Park (403-859-5133)
St. Mary Visitor Center in Glacier National Park (406-732-7750)
Learn more about individual trails experiences at mywaterton and Parks Canada.
Carthew Alderson Trail
Considered to be one of the premier hikes in the Waterton area, the Carthew-Alderson Trail is a 19 km (11.8 miles) trek from the shores of Cameron Lake to the windblown pass known as Carthew Summit (2377 m/7800 ft) where you will be treated to breathtaking views of Rocky Mountain peaks, prairie landscapes and Waterton-Glacier National Park.
The descent will take you to Carthew Lakes Alderson Lake and finally to the Cameron Falls. A full-day adventure, the Carthew- Alderson Trail is moderately difficult and can take up to 8 hours – one way. Tamarack Outdoor Outfitters in Waterton Village offers a daily shuttle to Cameron Lake to make this hike both convenient and efficient. A return shuttle or transportation will be required as well.
Crypt Lake Trail
Considered one of the top 10 hikes in Canada, this 8.5 km (5.3 miles) day hike begins with a short boat ride from the Waterton Village marina to Crypt Landing. From Crypt Landing you will pass the optional detour to Hell Roaring Falls, continue on your way through a boulder-filled landscape and a crawl through a 4-ft wide tunnel that has been blasted out of the cliff wall. Once on the other side, you will navigate a cliff wall while holding onto a steel safety cable to reach your destination of Crypt Lake.
The descent ends back at Crypt Landing where you will be ferried back to Waterton Village after 6-7 hours of hiking through one of the most scenic areas in the world. Click Here to read an interesting article on the hike.
This is a classic and family-friendly Waterton hike that comes highly recommended by anyone who has ever experienced it. At only 1.5 km (0.9 miles), it is short and strenuous but well worth the climb. At its blissfully flat apex, you will be greeted by breathtaking views of Waterton Valley, the Waterton Lakes and the Prince of Wales Hotel.
Suitable for novice hikers, it is still advisable to choose good footwear and bring along water for your journey.
Waterton Hikes and Trails
There are close to 200 miles (255 km) of breathtaking terrain to hike in Waterton Lakes National Park, ranging in difficulty from short strolls to steep overnight treks. These trails are maintained by Parks Canada and can be used by hikers, horseback riders and cyclists (exceptions apply on some trails). Waterton Park trails also connect with extensive trail systems in Montana’s Glacier National Park and in British Columbia’s Akamina-Kishenina Provincial Park.
Aside from Parks Canada’s International Peace Park Hike, Tamarack Outdoor Outfitters also offers guided hike services throughout Waterton Lakes National Park. Their knowledgeable guides are Parks Canada licensed.
For more information, phone 1-403-859-2378 or stop by for a visit while in Waterton Park.