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Scenic Drives


Akamina Parkway Red Rock Parkway Chief Mountain Highway Bison Paddock

Please use our Park Map to help you in your journey!

Akamina Parkway
(Cameron Lake Road)

Beautiful Cameron Lake, a short drive from the Waterton Townsite.

Directions: the parkway intersects Highway 5 at the Waterton Park Townsite just south of the visitor Reception Centre very close to the Kilmorey Lodge. It ends at Cameron Lake.

Mileage/Time Frame: This is a 15.2 km (9.4 mile) scenic parkway with approximately one half hour of driving time, but plan to spend time stopping along the way.

Road Conditions: The Akamina Parkway is narrow and, in places, steep. In winter the road is often icy and snowstorms are frequent here even when the rest of the park is experiencing little or no snowfall. The road is closed at Little Prairie (3.0 km/1.9 miles before Cameron Lake) after late fall or early winter snow creates conditions favorable for Nordic Skiing and snow shoeing.

Parking/Pullouts: Numerous small pullouts. Large pullouts at McNeallys, Crandell Lake Trail, Discovery Well, Lineham Trail, Oil City, Rowe/Tamarack Trail, Little Prairie and Akamina Pass Trail. Parking for passenger vehicles and buses at Cameron Lake.

Restrooms: Cameron Lake (summer only). Pit toilets year 'round at McNeally's, Little Prairie and Cameron Lake.

Tips: In many Rocky Mountain locations it is necessary to hike some distance to be able to experience a sub alpine lake and the snow forest. Here it is accessible at the end of a short and scenic drive.

Facilities: Roadside plaques and displays. Picnic areas. In summer Cameron Lake boat rentals, snacks, Fishing Licenses and tackle.

Short Trails

Crandell Lake Trail. 1.2 km(0.7 mile) one way. 100 meter (328 ft) elevation gain
Akamina Pass. 1.6 km (1.0 Mile) one way. 100 meter elevation gain
Akamina Lake. 0.5 km (0.3 mile) one way. No elevation gain
Cameron Lakeshore. 1.6 km (1.0 mile) one way. No elevation gain.

Crandell Lake Trail: This was the original route from the Blakiston Valley to the oil wells of the Cameron Valley.

Discovery Well National Historic Site: The site, in 1902, of the first producing oil well in Western Canada. This was only the second producing well in all of Canada.

Oil City: the remnants of what was to be a city built on the oil boom that went bust.

Akamina-Kishinena: The most common access into the Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park of British Columbia is via the Akamina Pass near Cameron Lake .

Cameron Lake: A sub alpine lake named for Major D.R. Cameron who led the Canadian portion of the Northern Boundary Commission which surveyed the international boundary (1872-1874)

More details about hiking trails are available on the hiking page.

Touring Guide: The Akamina Parkway

Overview: This is a 15.2 km / 9.4 mile scenic parkway following Cameron Creek to Cameron Lake in the extreme southwestern corner of the province of Alberta. The valley changes from a narrow gorge near the townsite to a more typically wide U-shaped glacial valley nearer the Lake. Along the way you will pass the Discovery Well National Historic Site commemorating western Canada's first producing oil well. Cameron Lake is a sub alpine jewel with lush avalanche slopes sweeping steeply to the surrounding peaks. These slopes are essential grizzly bear habitat.

The parkway intersects with Highway 5 at the Waterton Park Townsite just south of the visitor Reception centre. It is narrow and, in places, steep. You will be sharing the road with other vehicles, cyclists, and wildlife. Please drive cautiously.

  • Discovery Well at 7.7 km / 4.8 miles

    A National Historical site with a monument and plaque are located across the road from a small parking area. They commemorate the discovery in 1902 of the first producing oil well in Western Canada (see chronology). This was the second strike in all of Canada at the time.

Discovery Well, on the Cameron Lake Road.

  • Lineham Trail Head at 8.8 km / 5.5 miles

    John Lineham was a Calgary and Okotoks based oilman. He was one of the partners who struck oil at the Discovery Well. Lineham Trail leads to a cliff where water falls from a spectacular hanging valley containing the Lineham Lakes (see Geology and Geomorphology).


  • Oil City at 9.0 km /5.6 miles

    A plaque commemorates the beginnings of a town associated with the anticipated oil boom in the Cameron Valley. When the boom went bust, settlement here dwindled All that remains easily visible is the foundation of what was to be a hotel. It is located a few yards/metres down a wooden path.


  • Rowe Creek and Rowe/Tamarack Trail at 10.2 km / 6.3 miles

    Lieutenant Rowe was an engineer and surveyor on the British Boundary Commission under Major D.R. Cameron. They are part of an American and British Commission which surveyed the international boundary from Lake of the woods, Ontario, to the rocky Mountains in the years 1872-1874. They terminated their survey at Upper Waterton Lake. The Rowe Trail leads to Lower Rowe Lake and on to the Upper Rowe Lakes. Tamarack Trial gets its name from strands of Alpine larch. Across the road from this trail head is a cross-country ski trail. It is named the Dipper for the presence dippers (small, water-loving birds) along the creek and for its many ups and downs.


  • Akamina Pass Trail 14.0 km / 8.7 miles

    This trail is the most common access into the Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park of British Columbia In the Kootenai Language, Akamina is reported to translate roughly to "bench land" and Kishinena to 'white (subalpine) fir."

Red Rock Parkway

Scenic Red Rock Canyon in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Directions: The Parkway intersects Highway 5, 2.8 km / 1.7 miles from the Visitor Reception Centre ( near the village of Waterton Park) or 4.2 km (2.6 miles) from the park entrance station. This 14km scenic road follows Blakiston (Pass) Creek to the Red Rock Canyon Day Use area.

Mileage/Time Frame: This is a 14 km / 8.7 mile road involving one half an hour of driving time.

Road conditions: Red Rock Parkway is a paved two lane road. It is narrow and has many curves. Near the end of October until the beginning of May it is closed to motor vehicles to provide cycling, hiking, and cross-country skiing experiences.

Parking Pull-outs: There are numerous small pullouts. Please use them when stopping to observe scenery and wildlife. Larger pullouts are located at these picnic areas, roadside plaques and displays: Prairie Tongue/Slow Pinch, Glacial Moraine, Backwater, Bison Jump, Blakiston Valley, Coppermine Creek, Crandell Lake Trail, Lost Horse Creek, Red Rock Canyon. The red Rock Canyon parking lot can accommodate large vehicles.

Restrooms: Pit Toilets at Coppermine Creek, Lost Horse Creek, Red Rock Canyon picnic area and Red Rock canyon parking area.

Tips: The Blakiston Valley is probably the best Example of the abrupt transition of mountain and prairie anywhere in Waterton Lakes National Park. Wildlife is commonly seen along the open slopes and in the Red Rock Canyon area.

Other Short Trails:

  • Crandell Lake Trail. 2.0 km / 1.2 mile one way. 100 metre (328 ft) elevation gain
  • Blakiston Falls. 1.0 km / 0.6 mile one way. Minimal elevation gain.

Prominent Features: Red Rock Parkway

Blakiston Creek: Named for Lt. Thomas Blakiston of the Palliser Expedition (1858), the stream is often referred to as Pass Creek as it originates near the South Kootenay Pass.

Eskerine Complex: Long sinuous hills on the prairie along the mountain front are eskers and drumlins made of glacial till.

Buffalo Jump: A roadside display explains a long history of bison hunting in this valley.

Mount Blakiston: Named for Lt Thomas Blakiston of the Palliser Expedition (1858) this is the highest peak in Waterton Lakes National Park at 2,920 metres (9580 ft).

Crandell Lake Trail: This was the original route from the Blakiston Valley to the oil wells of the Cameron Valley around the turn of the century.

Red Rock Canyon: As the name implies you will find vibrant red rock in a narrow canyon with a sparkling mountain stream. Displays, a self-guided trail, parking, picnic and toilet facilities are also available.

Touring Guide: Red Rock Parkway

Overview: The Red Rock Parkway in the Blakiston Valley is the drive which best represents Waterton Lakes National Pars' main theme, "where the mountains meet the prairie".

The Blakiston Valley is rich with both history and in archeological sites. Thomas Blakiston of the Palliser Expedition entered the prairie from the west through the South Kootenay Pass. The pass was important to the Kootenai Indians who traversed the mountains to hunt bison on the east slopes. Evidence of bison hunts and travel along this route date to more than 10,000 years ago.

  • Bison Jump 4.9 km / 3.0 miles

    An exhibit explains the use of Blakiston Valley by Native Americans to hunt Bison as long as 3,000 to 10,000 years. Bison were hunted by using jumps, pounds (corrals) and other types of traps and strategies.


  • Crandell Lake Route 7.0 km / 4.3 miles

    Visible to the left is a low pass over which the original road into the Cameron Creek Valley was built. Because of the narrowness of the lower end of the valley, a road was not built there until 1927. This route was important to the early history of oil in Waterton Park.


  • Red Rock Canyon Day Use Area 13.8 km / 8.6 miles

    Toilets, exhibits, parking area.

There is a o.7 km / 0.4 mile self guided loop trial around Red Rock Canyon. The stream has cut through layers of sediment typical of Waterton-Glacier, including red and green argillite. Ripple Marks, mud cracks and fossil, blue green algae (stromatolites) are visible along the path ( See Rock Features of Sedimentation and Rock Formations and Color sections).

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep frequent the parking area. Mostly the females and young are seen. They have short, slightly curved horns and lack the impressive curling headgear of the older males. Please remember not to feed or approach any type of wildlife!

Chief Mountain Highway

  • Chief Mountain Highway 0.0/0.0

    Chief Mountain Customs. A Small obelisk marks the international boundary. Also notice the boundary Swath (a clear cut strip of land marking the border) that runs east and west.


  • Welcome to Alberta 1.5 km / 1.0 miles

    You are now in Waterton Lakes National Park, the Canadian portion of the international peace park. Waterton Park is located in the southwest corner of the province of Alberta and is part of a system of national parks and historic sites that exist in every province and territory of the country.


  • Belly River Campground 4.0 km / 2.5 mile

    Parks Canada operates a 24 site campground along the Belly River The Belly River has recently been identified as one of the most promising east slope streams for the recovery of the threatened native bull trout. Currently, a study involving federal, provincial and aboriginal agencies is working toward bull trout recovery.


  • Wetlands 11.8 km / 7.3 miles

    The wetlands on the right hand and left hand sides of the highway are equally as important to wildlife and nesting birds like trumpeter swans. However, only the lakes and ponds on the side of the road closest to the mountains are protected inside the national park. The preservation of this critical wetland habitat outside the park relies on the sound land management of local land owners.


  • Waterton Valley Panorama 15.4 km / 9.6 miles

    Large turnout with exits:

    1. The park's main theme of "where the mountains meet the prairie" is exhibited well from this viewpoint.
    2. A map of Waterton Lakes National Park.
    3. Canada's National Parks
    4. Biosphere Reserve
    5. International Peace Park

  • Junction Highway 5 & 6 21.6 km / 13.4 miles

    Turn left to Waterton Park (entrance station/village)


  • Maskinonge Overlook 22.0 km / 13.7 miles

    Scenic overlook, spotting scope and displays regarding the significance of the Maskinonge wetlands to wildlife and in the culture of local Blackfoot groups. "Maskinonge" means "big/ugly fish" (pike) in Chippewa.


  • Junction Highways 5 & 6 22.5 km / 14.0 miles

    Turn left to Waterton Park village and services.


  • Osprey Pullout 22.8 km / 14.2 miles

    Springtime breeding birds such as blackbirds and warblers and fishing osprey ( fish hawk )


  • Entrance Station 23.2 km / 14.4 miles

    Please stop and obtain valid Parks Canada Pass. Please note that Glacier National Park pass is only valid in Glacier National Park.


  • Knight's Lake 24.6 km / 15.3 miles

    Knight's Lake is named for the sixth superintendent of Waterton Lakes National Park. It is also called Lower Waterton Lake and is one of the three lakes that make up the Waterton Lakes Chain. In the fall huge rafts of coots, goldeneyes and geese settle on the lake during migration. In summer white pelicans are frequently seen on and above the lake.


  • Kootenai Brown's Grave 25.5 / 15.8 miles

    John George "Kootenai" Brown, the park's first official and his two wives are buried along the shore of Lower Waterton Lake.


  • Red Rock Pathway 27.5 km / 17.0 miles

    To the right is the road leading up the Blakiston Valley toward Red Rock Canyon.


  • Pass (Blakiston ) Creek 27.6 km / 17.0 miles

    This creek is named for Thomas Blakiston who explored this area in 1858. The local name for the stream is Pass Creek due to the fact that it descends from the historic South Kootenay Pass used by aboriginal travelers and early explorers.


  • Golf Course 28.2 km / 17.5 miles

    An 18 hole golf course completed in 1935.


  • Alpine Stables 28.5 km / 17.7 miles

    Guided horseback rides and outfitting.


  • Driftwood Beach 29.3 km / 18.2 miles

    Logs uprooted by spring flooding are stripped of their bark and washed into Upper and Middle Waterton Lake. Many of them are carried by strong currents created by southwest winds and are cast up on this beach.


  • Linnet Lake 29.8 km / 18.5 miles

    Boat Launch, picnic area and rest room facilities. A 0.6 mile/1km self-guided, paved, accessible trail follows the perimeter of the lake.


  • Visitor Reception Centre 30.4 km / 18.9 miles

    Visitor Information.

Bison Paddocks

Visit herd of Bison at the Bison Paddock in Waterton Lakes Park. Just a short drive outside of the townsite lies a protected area where Bison (commonly called Buffalo) wander the prairie.


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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 info@waymarker.ca