Crandell Lake – Waterton – Hiking Alberta

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.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

From the Red Rock Parkway, the wooden bridge crosses Blakiston Creek and leads to the Crandell Lake trailhead.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

The view upstream of Blakiston Creek from the wooden bridge on the way to the Crandell Lake trailhead.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

Blakiston Creek as viewed downstream from the wooden bridge just off Red Rock Parkway.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

Bill, at the trailhead to Crandell Lake using the north route off Red Rock Parkway.

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 - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

The trail to Crandell Lake is short and easy through lush, aromatic forest with consistent and gradual elevation gain.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

Some easily navigable, rocky sections lift us up and over a shallow ridge. Mount Crandell fills the background to the east.

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, CanadaLike 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.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

Arrival at the beach area on the north shore of Crandell Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

To our left is an easily accessible rocky ridge above the shoreline of Crandell Lake.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

So, I do.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

The texture of rock, water and lofty mountain terrain meld to become a spectacular and peaceful vision.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

From the top of the small ridge the view over Crandell Lake, rippled with a light breeze, is breathtaking.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

The crystal-clear, emerald water is a foreground to Bill and Joanne on the beach area in front of the Crandell Lake picnic shelter.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

The Crandell Lake picnic shelter in Waterton lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

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.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

The Crandell Lake bear pole at the Crandell Mountain Campground in Waterton Lakes National Park

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.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

A view of Mount Dungarvan from the Crandell Lake trail in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

Trailside natural splendor.

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.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

Mount Dungarvan as viewed from the Red Rock Parkway in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

A view across grassland and along Blakiston Creek to mountains of Waterton Lakes National Park

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

Mount Crandell from Red Rock Parkway on the approach to Waterton Village in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Exhibits along the Red Rock Parkway document evidence the Blakiston Valley was an ancient Native meeting place and camping area for thousands of years.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

An exhibit plaque at a viewpoint overlooking an ancient Indian meeting place and campground

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

The site of an ancient Indian meeting place and camping area in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

A meeting place on flats adjacent to Blakiston Creek with Vimy Peak in the background.

Crandell Lake - Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada

Where the prairies meet the mountains – Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

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.

This entry was posted in Easy Hikes, Waterton Lakes National Park and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Crandell Lake – Waterton – Hiking Alberta

  1. Pingback: Oil City - Waterton National Park - Hiking Alberta

  2. Laurel says:

    Great photos! Crandell Lake packs in a lot for a short hike. I’ve also seen moose there on several occasions which is always a treat.
    Laurel recently posted..Jasper Tramway – Canada’s Longest and Highest Guided Aerial Tramway

    • Thank you for commenting, Laurel. Congrats on recent nuptials. I am enjoying your Western Canadian adventures. We did not see a single moose on this trip to Waterton. We did have two interesting bear encounters, one of them will be documented in the post ‘Kootenai Brown’s’ Grave coming up soon.

  3. Pingback: Lost Horse Creek - Waterton - Hiking Alberta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge