Waterton Lakes National Park Road Trip – What To Do
Tucked away in the southwest corner of Alberta lies one of the jewels of the Canadian Rockies. Waterton is where the rolling prairie Alberta grasslands meet the mighty Rockies. Discover the top things to do on a Waterton Lakes National Park road trip.
Thanks to my recent ZenSeekers three day stay I was immersed in all the fun things possible on a Waterton Lakes National Park road trip. My trip was so relaxing and a complete zen experience in this stunning natural setting. Experience my trip for yourself in my story HERE.
Waterton Lakes National Park Road Trip Top 10 Things To Do
As most of us know there was a devastating fire that burned much of Waterton in September of 2017. The Kenow Fire was the result of a lightning strike outside the park with the spreading fire making it’s way to the park. By the time the fire was stopped 19,000 hectares of wildland within the park was burned. Akima and Red Rock parkway as well as 80% of the hiking trails were affected.
The thing about fires though is it ignites something else, it ignites the RENEWAL of a region. The landscape is coming back with vibrancy and rebirth, changing shape before our eyes. The Prince of Whales Hotel, the Waterton Village and so much more was never impacted. The park and the locals are helping visitors experience the park with a fresh set of eyes and share in watching the renewal of the land.
Many park amenities have been opening back up and are always changing. The best way to stay on top of what is open going forward during your visit is on the Waterton Lakes National Park What’s Open in 2018 page. The page is always being updated so check back often.
Along with the Parks Canada page I have compiled a list of activities that have not been affected by the past fires. Here are my Waterton Lakes National Park Road Trip Top 10 Things To Do.
Experience Upper Waterton Lakes on Shoreline Cruise Co
Board the historic MV International built in 1927 at Waterton Village operated by Waterton Shoreline Cruise Co. This tour of Upper Wateron Lake gives you a unique perspective of Waterton Lakes National Park. You even cross international waters into the Montana side of Glacier National Park.
Horseback Rides with Waterton Alpine Stables
Discover Waterton Lakes National Park the same way the first visitors to the region did. With the extremely friendly and helpful guides at Waterton Alpine Stables travel the horse trails around the park. From one hour rides to full day trips experience the park in a relaxing quiet tour connected with nature.
Discover the Kootenai Brown Trail on Bike
The Kootenai Brown trail is a multi use pathway system perfect for those wanting to see more of Waterton Lake National Park by bike. Built as a lasting legacy in recognition of Canada’s 125th birthday of the National park system it provides a pedal powered perspective. The trail runs from the park gates all the way to the outskirts of the village, allowing you to enjoy nearly 7km of trail.
Explore Waterton Village on a Surrey Bike
Truly unique to Waterton are the Surrey bike rentals from Pat’s Waterton. Tiny replicas of the vintage horse drawn surrey carriages these pedal powered bikes seat three people and even have a steering wheel. Ride around the village checking out all the local attractions, views and maybe even a stop for ice cream.
Take at Photo at the Parks Canada Red Chairs
According to the Parks Canada website they started the Red Chair Program to connect Canadian with Nature in the countries most unique and treasured places. Waterton Lakes National Park truly meets this description and is home to not one but five sets of red chairs. Can you discover them all? Be sure to follow their #ShareTheChair hashtag on twitter and instagram.
Take a Parks Canada Interpretive Program
Throughout Canada at the many National parks there are wonderful interpretive programs available. Learn about the parks history, the flora, the fauna and also the original indigenous culture of the first nations people who’s traditional territory the park sits on. This year with the renewal of the park after the Kenow Fire there is so much to learn in these educational opportunities.
Visit the Historic Prince of Wales Hotel
Built in 1927 by the Great Northern Railway, this 7-storey Swiss influenced Prince of Wales Hotel was constructed entirely of locally milled lumber. The hotel sits perched high on the hillside overlooking Waterton Lake and Village. An iconic testament to craftsmanship, fortitude and perseverance the hotel has been designated a National Historic Site. Stop by for the view of Upper Waterton Lake, high tea or maybe even a stay in one the 90 original preserved rooms.
Take an Evening Tour with Dark Sky Guides
In 2017 Waterton Lakes National Park was recognized as a Provisional International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association. This happened in no small part due to the efforts of the Robinson Brothers, their love of the sky and subsequent launch of Dark Sky Guides. When the sun goes down the exploration is just starting. Hike in the dark under the careful supervision of the guides in a remote dark part of the park. They set up the telescopes and your world expands as you gaze upwards to a whole new world you never expected to see in Waterton.
Enjoy a Sweet or Savoury Lunch
Two of the best places in Waterton to keep yourself energized for all the adventures are located side by side. Waffleton and Weiners by Waterton make the perfect destination for breakfast, lunch or supper. For those with a sweet tooth looking for a filling meal the traditional belgian waffles from Waffleton are a must on your visit, I also loved the nutella banana topped one. On the savoury side of things next door is Weiner’s of Wateron. This quick eat location is the number one rated food stop in all of Waterton. I really enjoyed the local favourite deep fried pickles.
Experience the Waterton Trails with Hike Waterton
The Baker family has called Waterton home for over 100 years and in business in the village for over 96 years. Aside from helping operate the towns beloved family run Tamarack outdoor shop, Kelly Baker heads up Hike Waterton. Experience the trails from someone who calls the region home and looks at the park as part of their family. Most notable hikes that are musts in Waterton Lakes National park are Vimy Ridge, Sofa Basin and Crypt Lake.
Waterton Lakes National Park Road Trip- If You Go
Waterton Lakes National Park is about a three-hour drive south of Calgary.
Travel Alberta also has lots of great information about things to do and places to see in Waterton Lakes National Park.
Canalta Hotels has partnered up with a collection of destinations across Southern Alberta. Stay a Night & See a Sight. They’re set to help you plan your trip.
Disclosure: This post was published in partnership with ZenSeekers
I really hope you liked my Waterton Lakes National Park Road Trip ideas. For other fun summer trips and suggestions check out my Mindful Explorer Road Trip Page . As well I am always grateful for a follow on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.