On our final day in Waterton Lakes National Park, we begin the day with a hearty breakfast at Zum’s Eatery before checking out at the Bear Mountain Motel which has provided us with more than adequate, fundamental accommodation at a reasonable rate.
Prior to leaving Waterton Lakes National Park, we will hike on Bertha Peak to Lower Bertha Falls. The trail continues on to Upper Bertha Falls and a loop around Bertha Lake at much higher elevation. The trailhead begins at the southwest corner of Waterton Village on Evergreen Drive, a short distance south of Cameron Falls. The trail to Lower Bertha Falls is a round trip of 5.2 KM (3.2 miles) with a consistent elevation gain on good trail of 175 m (574 ft).
At 1.5 KMs (0.94 miles), the trail to Lower Bertha Falls branches left to a viewpoint overlooking Upper Waterton Lake with an excellent view south.
Back on the Bertha Lake Trail and 50 metres (164 ft) past the viewpoint, the 10.9 KM (6.8 mile) Lakeshore Trail branches south to cross the international border between Canada and the United States terminating at the Goat Haunt Ranger Station in Glacier National Park, Montana. The Waterton Lakeshore Trail cannot be fully negotiated in either direction without approvals. We continue on the Bertha Lakes trail which is beautifully aromatic and lush as we hike on excellent trail along cascading Bertha Creek between Bertha Peak and Mount Richards looming to our left.
We arrive at the wooden bridge over Bertha Creek. This will be our destination for today but we will take the time to explore the area surrounding this gorgeous ‘bridal veil’ waterfall. In close proximity the sight, sound and cooling mist is magical. Wet rocks are slippery and require cautious footing. Negative ionization is plentiful.
Downstream from Lower Bertha Falls are a series of slanted rock formations channelling the white water towards Upper Waterton Lake. The accompanying boulders make interesting photographic subjects as we begin the return hike by the same route we came.
As we hike back to Waterton Village, there are a number of opportunities to photograph waterfalls along Bertha Creek.
On the final approach there are excellent views of Waterton Village.
On our way out of Waterton Lakes National Park, it is an opportunity to make a final stop to photograph beautiful Cameron Falls.
For those who choose to continue the hike on this trail to Bertha Lake, it is a substantially more aggressive adventure with an excellent reward/effort ratio. From the trailhead, the hike to Bertha Lake consumes a round trip time of about 5 hours with return distance of 10.4 KM (6.5 miles) and an elevation gain of 460 m (1,509 ft). After the wooden bridge, the trail steepens to moderately strenuous, however good trail over switchbacks eases the more aggressive elevation gains. Upper Bertha Falls is along the route and Bertha Lake is surrounded by Bertha Peak, Mount Alderson and Mount Richards. Bertha Lake is an excellent place to fish for rainbow trout and there are campgrounds at each end of the lake.