Waterton Hikes

This last month I had the good fortune to spend some time in my favourite place in Alberta, Waterton Lakes National Park. If you haven’t heard about Waterton, you’re not alone, but in a nutshell, it’s a little rocky mountain paradise, just north of the United States border. The town itself is quite small, but the mountains seem to go on forever.

Although I do not consider myself a skilled hiker, it is one of my favourite activities to do whenever I get to the mountains. I could go on and on about how hiking is great exercise, and I would not be wrong, but what I love most about it, has very little to do with the workout, and more to do with the scenery, and the fresh mountain air. Waterton is home to many different trails, with varying length, and difficulty. No matter your experience level, there are hiking options for you, each with it’s own breathtaking scenery.

That being said, here are a few of my favourites from this trip:

3.) Red Rock Canyon

  • The official trail for Red Rock Canyon is less than 1 km, and is an easy hike. It’s a short walk overlooking the Canyon, great for the whole family, and a good intro for those with no hiking experience.
  • For the more adventurous hiker, there is also the opportunity to trek through the Canyon itself. The 0.7 km trail only covers a portion of Red Rock Canyon, but if you’re not afraid to get a little wet, walking along the Canyon floor can provide a bit more of a challenge, and can turn this 20 minute hike into an afternoon adventure.

2.) The Bear’s Hump


  • This hike is only 2.8 km round trip, and of moderate difficulty
  • The Bear’s Hump trail begins at the Waterton town site visitor center and climbs uphill to a lookout point on the side of Mount Crandall. This lookout point is named the Bear’s Hump for the way is comes off the side of the mountain in a plateau that resembles the hump of a grizzly bear. The trail switchbacks lead you to a beautiful view of the town site, the lower Waterton Lakes, and a beautiful mountain skyline.
  • This is a great hike for all fitness levels, and takes hikers approximately an hour.

1.) Carthew – Alderson Trail

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  • The Carthew – Alderson Trail is the longest hike I was able to do on this trip, but it is by far my favourite. This trail is 20.1 km and is a day long endeavor. This hike is rated difficult, however with care taken, this trail can be completed even by those who are relatively inexperienced.
  • The Carthew trail begins at Cameron Lake, and takes you up over a mountain peak, with amazing views of pristine glacier lakes. You hike down past the two Carthew lakes (the lower of which is excellent for fishing, and a great spot to stop for lunch), and then down to Alderson lake. Each lake is equally beautiful, and unique. The trail then takes you all the way down to the Waterton town site, and comes out next to Cameron Falls.
  • If you’re planning to hike the Carthew – Alderson Trail, you may need to book a shuttle, as this hike is one way.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to hike all of the trails that I wanted to while I was in Waterton this summer, but luckily, they will all still be there when I get back. I highly recommend heading to Waterton for your next hiking adventure, and checking out these trails! My to-hike list for next time includes Bertha Lake, and Crypt Lake (for starters).


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