Sunset Cruise - Waterton National Park - Hiking Alberta

 

Cruising the length of Upper Waterton Lake is popular at Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada.

 

 

The historic 'International' seats 200 indoor and outdoor passengers.  This hand-crafted, wooden vessel has been in service on Upper Waterton Lake since 1927 and is powered by twin diesel engines.

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada The 'International' at Waterton Marina in Emerald Bay with Vimy Peak in the background.

 

Coast guard vessels patrol Upper Waterton Lake which lies at 1,280 m (4,200 ft) above sea level and crosses the international border between Canada and the United States. 

The bottom of the lake is shaped like a giant bathtub and the majority of the shoreline is composed of steep cliffs which drop into 25 m (80 ft) of water.

The average depth of Upper Waterton Lake is 220 feet but a trench near the middle of the lake sounds out at 130 m (427 ft) making it arguably the deepest lake in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. 

As the ship leaves port for the shoreline cruise, it passes the Prince of Wales Hotel on the opposite side of Emerald Bay.

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Initially the seating choice is the bottom deck at the stern in an open area with ceilings of the upper deck above us on an absolutely beautiful, warm and calm evening. 

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada View from the stern of the International with Mount Crandell in the distance.

 

Soon, the option moves to a standing area at the bow of the boat, for the very best views from the east shoreline, as the historic ship travels south in Canadian waters towards the United States.

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

At about the two-thirds point, cruising south, we arrive at the International Border between Canada and the United States of America.

Here the Captain takes a few minutes to carefully maneuver the boat so the starboard side floats in US waters and the port side of the boat is in Canadian water. 

There is now a clear view of the boundary marker above in the cut line separating Canada from the United States.

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada The Canada - USA border.   A boundary marker stands in the cut line joining Canada and the United States.

 

The ship continues south in USA waters along the east shore of Upper Waterton Lake in gradually dwindling daylight.

Views are constantly changing, and truly spectacular, as the historic vessel ferries towards Goat Haunt.  As well as the global view, passengers are constantly scanning the shore for wildlife sightings.  Moose and bear are commonly observed.

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Near Goat Haunt, the ferry terminal appears on the east shore of the lake.

 

Sunset Cruise, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

The 'International' docks at the Goat Haunt Visitor Center which hosts exhibits on Glacier National Park history and area wildlife.

There are benches inside to relax in front of a roaring, stone fireplace but a casual stroll on the short path towards the Goat Haunt Ranger Station provides amazing views down the 12.8 KM (8 mile) length of Upper Waterton Lake.

 

 

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada The view from the south end of Upper Waterton Lake near the Goat Haunt Ranger Station

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Returning to the 'International' docked at the Goat Haunt Visitor Center in Glacier National Park

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Back on the water returning to Canada from the Goat Haunt Ranger Station.

 

Sunset Cruise, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Sunset Cruise, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Sunset views begin to form up along the east shore of Upper Waterton Lake.

As the cruise continues along the west shore of Upper Waterton Lake on the return trip to Waterton Marina in Emerald Bay, the ship passes the triangular boat house which houses the 'International' in the winter months when the lake is frozen.

The storage building is located at the south end of the lake west of the Goat Haunt Ranger Station. 

On the cruise 'home' for the final overnight at Waterton Lake National Park, the indelible images of the sunset on the east shore are accompanied by the sound of the water lapping against the boat.

The comfortably cool air leave indelible memories of this unique experience.

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada 'International' boat house where the boat is stored over winter.

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Cruising past the west shore International Border with markers and cut line.

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Border joining Canada and United States within the International Peace Park

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Mount Crandell and the Prince of Wales Hotel at photo right.

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Final light at the summit of Vimy Peak near Waterton Marina in Emerald Bay

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Mount Crandell at Waterton Village in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta

 

Upper Waterton Lake Sunset Cruise - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Final light from the 'International' on the Sunset Cruise.

 

The sunset cruise is a wonderful way to end a day of hiking in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada.

 

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