The Lower Rowe Lake trailhead is clearly marked and located on the north side of the Akamina Parkway west of Waterton Village and past the Lineham trailhead.
The hike is 4 KM (2.5 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.
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.
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. It becomes clear the red color comes from a large deposit of red Grinnell argillite. This 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.
White, crystal-clear water flowing over red rock is always very dramatic and for the short distance, I enjoy the sights and recall 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 on my left.
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 trailside in several lengthy sections, are loaded with fruit, so I am diligently practising bear awareness.
There are a lot of flies but they are not an issue. The flies are congregated on large white blossoms, turning them dark. Within my view, at any given time, there are hundreds of blossoms and thousands upon thousands of flies. My effort to photograph a blossom up close causes many of the flies to depart but you will get the idea. As long as they are not pestering me, I am good with it.
Soon, I arrive at the junction with Lower Rowe Lake 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.
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 view around me expands exponentially as I approach scree slopes beneath steep mountain walls.
Arrival at Lower Rowe Lake is breathtaking. The still surface repeats 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. Reluctantly, I turn around and hike back down to the trail junction.
My next objective for the day is to hike to Upper Rowe Lake and then to the top of Lineham Ridge. This will make the day fairly aggressive so I am limited in the leisure time I can enjoy at each location.
On the way out from Lower Rowe Lake, I can enjoy a good view of Lineham Ridge to the north in front of me.
The distance to the next trail junction for Upper Rowe Lake is 1.3 KM (0.8 miles), through forest, on relatively level trail.