advertisement

In the southwestern corner of the province, Waterton Lakes National Park is linked with Glacier National Park in neighboring Montana; together these two beautiful tracts of wilderness compose Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Once the hunting ground of the Blackfeet, 526-sq.-km (203-sq.-mile) Waterton Park contains superb mountain, prairie, and lake scenery and is home to abundant wildlife.

During the last ice age, the park was filled with glaciers, which deepened and straightened river valleys; those peaks that remained above the ice were carved into distinctive thin, finlike ridges. The park's famous lakes also date from the Ice Ages; all three of the Waterton Lakes nestle in glacial basins.

The park's main entrance road leads to Waterton Townsite, the only commercial center, with a number of hotels, restaurants, and tourist facilities. Other roads lead to more remote lakes and trail heads. Akamina Parkway leads from the townsite to Cameron Lake, glimmering beneath the crags of the Continental Divide. At the small visitor center, you can rent canoes; this is a great spot for a picnic. Red Rock Parkway follows Blackiston Creek past the park's highest peaks to Red Rock Canyon. From here, three trails lead up deep canyons to waterfalls.

The most popular activity in the park is the Inter-Nation Shoreline Cruise (tel. 403/859-2362; www.watertoninfo.com/m/cruise.html), which leaves from the townsite and sails Upper Waterton Lake past looming peaks to the ranger station at Goat Haunt, Montana, in Glacier Park. The tour boat operates from June 1 through early October. In the high season, from the last weekend of June through August, there are five tour boat departures daily, with two or three daily in the shoulder seasons (check the website for exact schedules). Only during the high season does the boat land in Montana for a 15-minute stop. The cruise usually takes just over 2 hours, including the stop in Montana. The price is C$38 adults, C$18 children 13 to 17, and C$12 children 4 to 12.

For more information, contact the Waterton Park Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Association, P.O. Box 5599, Waterton Lakes National Park, AB T0K 2M0 (tel. 403/859-5133 summer, or 403/859-2224 winter; www.pc.gc.ca and www.discoverwaterton.com). The per-day park entry fee is C$7.80 adults, C$6.80 seniors, C$3.90 children 6 to 16, free for children 5 an under; C$20 families.