Crandell Lake Trail is a popular hike in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada.
The Crandell Lake Trail, connecting Red Rock Parkway and Akamina Parkway can be accessed from the north, via Red Rock Parkway, by taking the Crandell Mountain Campground access road across from Coppermine Creek, crossing the bridge over Blakiston Creek, and driving a few hundred metres past the bridge to the well-signed trailhead.
Alternatively, Crandell Lake can be accessed from the south, on a slighty shorter trail with less elevation gain, from the Akamina Parkway aka Cameron Lake Road. We shall use the north route, off Red Rock Parkway, with one-way distance to Crandell Lake of 2.0 KM (1.2 miles) on very good, consistent-grade trail with elevation gain of 125 m (410 ft.) to a maximum elevation of 1,600 m (5,260 ft).
The borders of Blakiston Creek are reminiscent of Stewart Canyon on Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park.
The trail is short, easy, wide and winding through lush forest with rocky sections and wildflower borders as we hike up and over a shallow ridge prior to the brief gradual descent to Crandell Lake. Occasionally, there are some nice views of surrounding mountains along the way.
Crandell Lake occupies a beautiful alpine bowl wedged between Ruby Ridge, an outlier of 2,910 m (9,547 ft.) Mount Blakiston, and the west side of 2,378 m (7,802 ft) Mount Crandell. The south-east face of Mount Crandell towers over Waterton Village which is the hub of Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada.
Like most pristine, alpine lakes, views are up close and personal. Much wider camera lenses than we are carrying are required to photograph the entire visual impression. It is always a very special experience.
The Crandell Mountain Campground is nearby. Between the Crandell Lake picnic shelter and the outhouse is a bear pole. This is used for storing food in airtight containers at least 100 metres away from the tent and a minimum of three metres off the ground. Use a rope.
Tie a rock or chunk of wood to one end of the rope. Throw the rock over the top bar. Try to avoid standing where the rock will land. Tie the other end of the rope to a sturdy bag containing separated food and garbage in airtight containers. Haul the food container up to hang below the horizontal bar.
Supporting posts may be metal clad to prevent critters from climbing up the poles to rummage for food. Bears are opportunistic feeders.
On the return hike from Crandell Lake to the car, by the same route we came, there are brief views of spectacular 2,566 m (8,418 ft) Mount Dungarvan on the north side of the Red Rock Parkway.
There are several exhibits along the Red Rock Parkway which support the fact Native people frequented and inhabited the area for thousands of years prior. There is a buffalo jump in the area.
The Red Rock Parkway is the best example of Waterton Lakes National Park unique feature. It is where the prairies meet the mountains without the presence of foothills. This feature creates an environment which supports a unique and very diverse mixture of plant and animal life.
Exhibits along the Red Rock Parkway document evidence the Blakiston Valley was an ancient Native meeting place and camping area for thousands of years.
The day ends with another excellent dinner and friendly service at Zum's Eatery followed by what has become the traditional walk along the west shore of Upper Waterton Lake reminiscing about the days adventures at Red Rock Canyon, Blakiston Falls, Lost Horse Creek and Crandell Lake.
It has been another great day in Waterton Lakes National Park.