Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes NP - Hiking Alberta

 

Lower Rowe Lake is a short, easy hike in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada.

 

 

The Lower Rowe Lake trail-head is clearly marked and located on the north side of the Akamina Parkway west of Waterton Village and past the Lineham trail-head.

 

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada The Rowe - Tamarack Trail-head on Akamina Parkway west of Waterton Village, Alberta, Canada

 

The hike is 4 KM (2½ miles) one way with a gradual and consistent elevation gain of 350 m (1,148 ft) in the first half of the hike.

 

 

 

The trail heads straight and level into the forest from the roadside parking area.

 

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada The level, gravel trail makes a graceful entry into forest.

 

Soon the trail surface turns red.  The trail is gradually tracking closer to Rowe Creek on the left, determined by the increasing volume of water rushing over rock.

 

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Near trail beginning there is a predominantly red section of trail

 

When cascading, white-water Rowe Creek is directly beside and below the trail, it is immediately reminiscent of Sunrift Gorge in Glacier National Park, Montana.  The red color comes from a large deposit of red Grinnell argillite which is a fine-grained, sedimentary mudstone common in this area, but less commonly seen in Waterton Lakes National Park than our much larger International Peace Park neighbor to the south.

 

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada The trail parallels and gradually gains elevation adjacent to Rowe Creek

 

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

White, crystal-clear water flowing over red rock is always very dramatic and the short distance recalls the sights and sounds of past hikes.  Soon, a short series of well-graded and maintained switchbacks lift the Rowe Lakes Trail up the side of 2,728 m (8,950 ft) Mount Lineham through dense forest to traverse a series of relatively level, grassy avalanche chutes interrupted by sections of forest on the southeast flank of Mount Lineham.  There are outstanding views of the surrounding valley and 2,446 m (8,025 ft) Mount Rowe to the left.

 

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

The Rowe Lakes Trail is interesting, with a wide range of hiking experience on easy trail, through a broad range of forest offering frequent openings to outstanding views of the valley between Mount Lineham and Mount Rowe.  It is berry season and bushes, at trail-side in several lengthy sections, are loaded with fruit, so due diligence dictates practicing bear awareness skills.

 

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

There are a lot of flies but they are not an issue.  The flies are congregated on large white blossoms, turning them dark.  Within close view, at any given time, there are hundreds of blossoms and thousands upon thousands of flies.  An effort to photograph a blossom up close causes many of the flies to depart but imagine all the blossoms near completely black from being covered with flies.

 

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Soon, arrival at the clearly-signed trail junction for Lower Rowe Lake takes off to the left.  Straight ahead leads to another trail junction for Upper Rowe Lake or Lineham Ridge and on to the Tamarack Trail taken by multiple day backpackers.

 

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

The trail to Lower Rowe Lake crosses a bridge and climbs gently on trail adjacent to a beautiful, rocky creek flowing from the lake.  The surrounding view expands exponentially on the approach to scree slopes beneath steep mountain walls.

 

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Arrival at Lower Rowe Lake is breathtaking.  The still surface mirrors the stunningly beautiful surroundings.  The superb view is captivating.  It would be easy to spend the entire day here exploring the circumference of the lake, surrounding rock and forest terrain but reluctantly, a retreat is necessary to hike back down to the main trail junction for more hiking.

 

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada The pristine, sub alpine, Lower Rowe Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park is stunningly beautiful.

 

The next intended objective for this day is the hike to Upper Rowe Lake and then to the top of Lineham Ridge.  This plan will make the day quite aggressive so leisure time is limited.

 

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada The pristine, alpine, Lower Rowe Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park is stunningly beautiful.

 

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada The pristine, alpine, Lower Rowe Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park is stunningly beautiful. Lineham Ridge consumes the background.

 

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada The pristine, alpine, Lower Rowe Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park is stunningly beautiful.

 

On the hike out from Lower Rowe Lake, there a good view of Lineham Ridge to the north.

 

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Lower Rowe Lake - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada The trail junction from Lower Rowe Lake turns left to meet the trail to Upper Rowe Lake.

 

The distance to the next trail junction for Upper Rowe Lake is 1.3 KM (¾ miles) through forest on relatively level trail.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Thank you for your comment, Sheryl. The short, easy hike into Lower Rowe Lake is a fitting prelude to the continuing hike through wildflower emblazoned Rowe Meadow and beyond to Lineham Ridge where I can see the Lower and Upper Rowe Lakes from a much higher altitide. Some of the alpine plants in bloom around 2,440 m (8,000 ft) are amazing. I do not know their names but they literally flouish in shattered rock. Years ago, I was given 'Central Rockies Wildflowers' by Mike Potter and I have tried to appear more well-informed but the truth is many of them look the same in the book. I have decided to simply enjoy these magnificent plants and leave identification for someone else to pursue. As a side note, if I had taken the time to hike to the other end of Lower Rowe Lake, I would have encountered the waterfalls cascading down the headwall from Upper Rowe Lakes several hundred metres above. I can only imagine what the display of flora would have offered there but I intend to return another year to have a look.

Spectacular photos! Lower Rowe Lake is absolutely gorgeous!

We used your blog to guide us (Family of 3) to Lower Rowe Lake and Lineham Falls today. Thanks for the detailed guide! It was very helpful in selecting these two enjoyable hikes. Edan

Glad to here you enjoyed the hikes to Lower Rowe Lake and Lineham Falls.   My personal journals are meant to help people find appropriate hiking opportunities but it is never meant to be a substitute for a good local hiking guide and map.  There are excellent resources in Waterton Lakes National Park.  One of my favorite Canadian parks.  Thanks for your comment.

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