Making the Most of your RV Trip to Waterton Lakes National Park
After visiting the world-famous Jasper and Banff National Parks, we were expecting to be only mildly enthused by Waterton Lakes National Park. Boy, were we wrong!
We drove in from the north, where the rolling prairies of Alberta meet the crumbling peaks of the Rocky Mountains. The weather was moody, with dark, purplish-blue rolling clouds and intermittent rain. This only added to the spectacular, vivd, and vibrant colours in every possible direction. Rust – red rocks, darkening to crimson in the rain. Yellowish strips of limestone in the towering peaks. Waving towers of purple Silvery Lupine, buttery yellow Canola, and bridal-white mariposa lillies – endless fields of them, in every direction! The deep, gemstone turquoise of the lakes themselves, with intermittent flashes of silver, gray, and emerald green as the clouds pass overhead.
We could have easily spent 2 weeks here; there is SO much to see, and do, and enjoy! Here are our suggestions to make the most of your trip to Waterton Lakes National Park!
- Make sure to stop at the “Hay Barn” day use area: (See 0:24 in the video above.) With a name like that, you’d expect to be disappointed – far from it! Fields of wildflowers with spectacular views of the mountains beyond helps give you a feel for the park before you even enter Village!
- Speaking of the Village…. EXPLORE!: (See 0:45 in the video above.) There are some great shops here! Real Belgian Waffles, a few great pizzerias, a wine lounge, a spa, and local goods and produce are all sold in the two main street village. Check out the Waterton Lakes Opera House – they have events and concerts all summer long! You might be in town for a visiting symphony orchestra or an indie film festival!
- Go on the Waterton Lake Cruise: (See video at 1:09.) Upper Waterton Lake ventures into Montana, in to the US Glacier National Park. For around $50 per person, you can board a boat in Canada, go on a tour in the lake, and even get a goat stamp in your passport on the US side! (No worries – if you don’t want to disembark, you won’t need any clearance to enter the US.)
- Visit Red Rock Canyon: This crimson red canyon is a Technicolor feast for the eyes! With the red rocks, the turquoise river, and the wildflowers, it is impossible to be disappointed here!
- Do the Crypt Lake Hike: (See video at 0:45.) This hike was rated in the top 20 most thrilling hikes in the world by National Geographic – and we can attest to this! After a steady climb through heavy vegetation, you emerge into a series of challenging and rocky switchbacks – punctuated with views of towering, spraying waterfalls, a remote, crystal clear lake, and even some wildlife! (Check out the video at 0:49 to see our close encounter!) You’ll then scale a shelf about 3 feet wide, with a 700 foot drop on one side. Up a metal ladder, through a dark tunnel, and along a cliff (with a cable to help you keep your balance), and you’re there! Crypt lake itself is a remote and beautiful location, but we’re not going to lie – for this hike, the journey is more than half the reason to go!
- Visit the Prince of Wales Hotel: (See video from 1:12 – 1:40.) We had dinner here, and it was AWESOME. The views alone make it worth it – but if you want a truly unique experience, come for high tea! An assortment of sandwiches, cakes, and delicious tea – all with a view of the rocky mountains!
Stay the night at the National Park Campground, and turn your quick visit into a multi-day adventure!
So far, on our trip through Canada, Waterton Lakes has been our favourite destination. We want to go back over, and over, and over. We hope you make time for this gem on your trip through Canada!
For more information, or to book your own Happy Holiday, email us at [email protected]!