Waterton Lakes National Park is hiking nirvana in South Alberta, Canada.
Waterton Village is the focal point of Waterton Lakes National Park in the southwest corner of Alberta, Canada. This popular park in the southwest corner of Alberta is the Canadian component of the unique International Peace Park formed in 1932 to permanently acknowledge the friendship between Canada and the United States.
Canada's relatively small, spectacular, natural wonder rests on top of Glacier National Park in Montana, USA. At only 505 square kilometers (195 sq. miles), the size of Waterton Lakes National Park may pale in comparison, but Canada's little park competes favorably in the category of natural wonder.
Glacier National Park in Montana is not to be confused with this much smaller, more rugged wilderness, and massive glacial névés of Canada's Glacier National Park at Rogers Pass between Revelstoke and Golden in British Columbia.
They are very different and they are both absolutely spectacular!
The sun feels good on the face in the cool, brisk temperature of early morning while wandering with the camera and a fresh cup of complementary coffee from Bear Mountain Motel, past the Marina to the end of the short pier protecting Emerald Bay. Mount Crandell glows golden with Bear's Hump prominent on photo left.
A right turn from the beach and through the small park adjacent to the Waterton National History Association leads directly to the historic location of Waterton's RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) detachment, constructed in 1926.
It is common to see deer roaming through town.
The timing is coordinated to arrive at Zum's Eatery for the 8:00 AM breakfast opening as usual at the usual table in the uniquely decorated dining area. There is a hearty breakfast available where staff are friendly and service is good.
Following breakfast, a short walk across Waterton Avenue to the Waterton Natural History Association reveals a wealth of historical information, a good library of books relevant to the area and there is also offers a variety of unique gifts. The quaint, old building is named on its exterior, as Waterton Heritage Centre du Patrimoine.
A walk north on Waterton Avenue, with Mount Crandell providing a bold background, leads to the short pier at Emerald Bay for morning-light views of the Prince of Wales Hotel on the other side.
After packing up and checking out of the Bear Mountain Motel, it is time to bid a fond farewell to Waterton Village until next time. The Bear Mountain Motel is unpretentious, fundamental and focused on providing clean, comfortable and affordable accommodation. The centrally located motel adjacent to Tamarack Outdoor Outfitters has provided accommodation many times and has always been a positive experience.
Waterton Village is the hub for Waterton Lakes National Park. This park is a mecca for hikers and a hiking town with incredible potential as current efforts will extend the season to keep the town busy year round. The drive north on the Park Entrance Road passes the Waterton Lakes Golf Course. Waterton Village hosts large Provincial Campgrounds.
There are several turnouts along the entrance road which provide interpretive plaques of notable pioneers in the park's history, as well as outstanding views of Middle Waterton Lake, Lower Waterton Lake and Maskinonge Lake. One turnout hosts a short trail to the grave site of John George 'Kootenai' Brown.
Highway 6 north provides the opportunity to stop at a viewpoint overlooking the Waterton Park Front Range for magnificent views of the Rocky Mountains behind rolling farm and ranch land where the mountains meet the prairies. Beyond Twin Butte and Pincher Creek, the turn is left at the intersection with Hwy 3.
At Highway 3, the drive proceeds west on the Cowboy Trail.