Waterton Lakes National Park is the world's first International Peace Park.
Waterton Lakes and surrounding mountains were designated as Canada's third National Park in 1895. In 1932, Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada and Glacier National Park in Montana, USA became the world's first International Peace Park.
Waterton Lakes National Park has two points of entry and exit. One is from the north in Canada and the other is from the south in the USA. Past Maskinonge Lake, the Park Gate and Lower Waterton Lake, the Visitor Information Center occupies roadside beneath 7,802 ft (2,378 m) Mount Crandell just prior to entering the Town of Waterton.
The Town of Waterton is bordered by a small marina on the shore of Emerald Bay, the shoreline of Upper Waterton Lake and surrounding mountains. Accommodation for this hiking adventure is conveniently located at Bear Mountain Motel.
Bear Mountain Motel is a 1960's style motel with compact rooms and fundamental amenities by today's standards.
Accommodation provides two separate bedrooms, an integrated kitchenette and a tiny bathroom. The small stand up shower requires delicate yoga-like movements for complete lathering. Navigation from the shower stall to the sink demands a carefully calculated maneuver between the toilet and the paper dispenser.
The rooms are clean and comfortable. The only time spent in the motel is spent sleeping on comfortable beds after a day of hiking. The rustic character and the fundamental ambiance suits the needs of the mission.
Sunrise over Middle Waterton Lake and Emerald Bay is spectacular and the sun peeking over the horizon turns surrounding mountains a brilliant orange.
There are a number of key features in the small and compact Town of Waterton.
Deer are present throughout the Town of Waterton all the time but they are more active and numerous in early morning and late evening. The deer are not tame. They are wild, but comfortable in an urban surrounding. As long as everyone keeps their distance, there will be no problem.
Waterton Lakes National Park has, in the past, been an out-of-the-way, unspoiled orphan. Quite frankly, it is not that easy to get to.
The Town of Waterton is small and can accommodate only a limited number of guests. Reservations must be made well in advance. There is a large campground. The summer season is short and winter brings heavy snow. There are camping facilities and a very well-appointed trailer park. In the past couple of years this tiny and incredibly beautiful park has begun to gain notoriety. My advice would be to take advantage of Waterton Lakes National Park sooner than later. The park has a charm about it that will eventually fade into the ambiguity of expanding attendance.
This post is a prelude to hiking experiences gained over the next several days. Miscellaneous photos in this post would not fit in well elsewhere and are meant to provide a feel for this fabulous park.