Waterton Lakes National Park Itineraries
Waterton Lakes National Park itineraries can be designed for a variety of interests and budgets, but you should always plan in advance and make hotel or camping reservations as soon as possible
Chances are, if you’re planning on visiting Waterton Lakes National Park, you’re not the same type of traveller who thinks a trip to Banff entails staying at Best Western and eating at McDonald’s—instead you’re looking to experience the natural wonders of the Canadian Rockies without the crowds and commercialism.
The vast majority of visitors arrive in July and August. As with the other parks of the Canadian Rockies, June and September are fine times to visit, but as crowds are smaller here, avoiding high summer isn’t as much of an issue. Many businesses, including accommodations, close between October and April, although basic services are still available. Cross-country skiing enthusiasts will love winter in Waterton Lakes National Park, but don’t expect much else in the way of recreation.
Simply because of the out-of-the-way location, you’ll want to spend at least one day in Waterton Lakes National Park, but it’s preferable to stay two or more. With two days and one night scheduled, plan on joining the boat cruise to GOAT HAUNT on one day and spending the second day exploring the two main roads, including the AKAMINA PARKWAY to CAMERON LAKE. This still allows time to walk some shorter trails, including around the townsite to CAMERON FALLS. If you’re an enthusiastic hiker, add a third day to your itinerary and hike either the trail to CRYPT LAKE or head across the provincial border on foot to AKAMINA-KISHINENA PROVINCIAL PARK.
If your tour of the Canadian Rockies originates south of the border and you’re traveling by road, we recommend leaving Waterton Lakes until the end of your trip—the slower pace and solitude will create a pleasant ending for your travels.
Waterton Lakes National Park in One Day
The compact size of Waterton Lakes National Park makes it easy to hit all the highlights in one day. If you are a keen hiker, the full-day 8.7-kilometer/5.4-mile trek to CRYPT LAKE is undoubtedly the best way to spend limited time in Waterton Lakes National Park. If you want to get a taste of local hiking trails but are not up for a strenuous trip, start your day by heading to the top of BEAR’S HUMP for sweeping lake views. Wieners of Waterton is a good choice for lunch—eat either on the picnic tables out front or down on the lakeshore. Take an afternoon lake cruise to GOAT HAUNT. End your day with the short drive through wildflower meadows to RED ROCK CANYON. Waterton is a casual type of town, so it’s only fitting to choose a like-minded place for dinner. This means you should head to PIZZA OF WATERTON for a wide choice of delicious pizza.