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Trails and Hiking

Hiker approaching Carthew Lakes in Waterton Park.
Carthew Lakes

Back country travel can be an incredible experience whether on bicycle, horseback or foot. Waterton Park boasts world class hiking with incredible scenery and many opportunities to view wildlife. There are 255 km (191 miles) of trails in Waterton Lakes National Park. They range in difficulty from a short strolls to steep treks of several days duration. A variety of people make use of them, including hikers, horse riders and bicyclists. Trails in Waterton Park also lead to extensive trail systems in Montana's Glacier National Park and in British Columbia's Akamina-Kishenina Provincial Park.

Three hikes, 45 km...

Are you Up for the Challenge?

Are you ready for the next Challenge?...something international?

Basic Trail Safety

Waterton Lakes National Park offers a unique brand of challenges - not only in daring, but also certainly in judgment. Be smart! Keep the summer filled with excitement, and follow these guidelines when hiking:

  • Be sure to hike with someone else, or even better, with a group. 
  • Let someone know your route and expected time of return.
  • Try to prevent a potentially dangerous close encounter with large animals (like bears) - make noise! Every so often - especially when visibility is blocked by hills, trees, rocks, etc. - hoot and holler or clap hands loudly. In the presence of high winds or streams, make your noise-making efforts all the more intense.
  • Be prepared! Have enough food, water, clothes, rain gear and coverings (e.g. space blanket) for an unexpected overnight in the backcountry.
  • Use extreme caution around slippery rocks, especially at waterfalls. Learn how to cross unbridged stream and river crossings safely.
  • Carry good drinking water with you, or boil "wild water" in order to kill parasites and other germs that may inhabit the park's water.
  • If you are camping overnight, you must have a backcountry camping permit.
  • Become familiar with the national Leave No Trace program. In brief, whatever you pack in to the backcountry, you must pack out.
Beautiful waterfall near Alderson Lake.
Waterfall near Alderson Lake

SOME STROLLS AND HIKES

 
Length Trail Trailhead Distance
(return)
Time
(return)
Elevation
Gain
Short Hikes and Strolls Townsite Townsite loop 3.2 km loop
(2 mi)
1 hour minimal
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerald Bay Loop Townsite 4 km loop
(2.4 mi)
1.5 hours minimal
Prince of Wales Emerald Bay 2.0 km loop
(1.2 mi)
45 minutes minimal
Linnet Lake
*barrier free access
Dock area across from Warden Office 1.0 km loop
(0.6 mi)
20 minutes minimal
Cameron Lakeshore Cameron Lake 3.2 km
(2 mi)
1 hour minimal
Akamina Lake Cameron Lake 1.0 km
(0.6 mi)
30 minutes minimal
Red Rock Canyon
*hardened surface
Red Rock Canyon 0.7 km loop
(0.4 mi)
20 minutes minimal
Blakiston Falls Red Rock Canyon 2.0 km
(1.2 mi)
45 minutes minimal
Crandell Lake Crandell Campground 4.0 km
(2.4 mi)
1.5 hours 150 m
(492')
Crandell Lake Akamina Parkway 2.4 km
(1.5 mi)
1 hour 100 m
(328' )
Belly River Belly River Campground 5.8 km
(3.6 mi)
2 hours minimal
Lower Bertha Falls Townsite 5.6 km
(3.4 mi)
1.5 hours 150 m
(492')
Bears Hump Visitor Centre 2.8 km
(1.7 mi)
1 hour 200 m
(656')
Half Day Hikes Forum Lake, BC Akamina Parkway 8.0 km
(4.9 mi)
3 hours 300 m
(984')
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wall Lake, BC Akamina Parkway 11.2 km
(7 mi)
4 hours 165 m
(541')
Summit Lake Cameron Lake 8.0 km
(4.9 mi)
3 hours 305 m
(1000')
Lineham Falls Akamina Parkway 8.4 km
(5.2 mi)
3.5 hours 200 m
(656')
Lower Rowe Lake Akamina Parkway 8.0 km
(4.9 mi)
3 hours 250 m
(820')
Rowe Meadow Akamina Parkway 10.4 km
(6.5 mi)
4 hours 350 m
(1148')
Upper Rowe Lake Akamina Parkway 12.6 km
(7.8 mi)
5 hours 500 m
(1640')
Bertha Lake Townsite 11.4 km
(7.1 mi)
4.5 hours 500 m
(1640')
Snowshoe Red Rock Canyon 16.4 km
(10.2 mi)
5 hours 150 m
(492')
Goat Lake Red Rock Canyon 12.6 km
(7.8 mi)
5 hours 400 m
(1312')
Full Day Hikes Lakeshore Trail Waterton Townsite-cam return by boat 13 km (one way)
(8 mi)
3-4 hours 125 m
(410')
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horseshoe Basin Bison Paddock 21.3 km
(13.2 mi)
5-7 hours 350 m
(1148')
Wishbone Chief Mountain Hwy. 21 km
(13 mi)
6-8 hours 50 m
(164')
Crandell loop access from Akamina
and Red Rock Parkways
20.6 km
(8.1 mi)
6-7 hours 200 m
(656')
Crypt Lake Crypt Landing 17.2 km
(10.7 mi)
6-8 hours 700 m
(2297')
Carthew-Alderson
*Requires
transportation to, or back to, trailhead
Cameron Lake or
Cameron falls
18 km one way
(11.1 mi)
6-8 hours 650 m
(2132')
Blakiston Valley Red Rock Canyon 20.2 km
(12.6 mi)
5-7 hours 350 m
(1148')
Twin Lakes Red Rock Canyon 22.8 km
(14.2 mi)
7-9 hours 300 m
(984')
Avion Lakes Red Rock Parkway 22.6 km
(14 mi)
7-9 hours 600 m
(1969')
Multi-Day Hike Tamarack Trail Akamina Parkway - Red
Rock Canyon
*requires
transportation to, or
back to, trailhead
31.6 km
(19.6 mi)
2 days 600 m
(1969')

 

TRAIL ETIQUETTE

  • Check trail heads for designated uses.

  • Stay on designated trails. Shortcuts can be dangerous and may increase erosion.

  • Walk, ride and cycle in single file to lessen trail widening, erosion or braiding.

  • Hikers should move to the side of the trail when approaching horses. Allow skittish horses to pass.

  • Cyclists - travel slowly and carefully. Allow wildlife to move off the trail before passing. Signal your approach well in advance when passing hikers and indicate the side you intend to pass on. Pass slowly and with care. Dismount if approaching a horse and stand on the downhill side when possible.

Galwey Ridge in Waterton Lakes National Park.
Galwey Ridge
 

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waterton lakes green dot This site created by Waterton Park Information Services, in friendly Waterton Park, Alberta, Canada. If you have any problems or advice, Please e-mail us at WPIS