Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta

Finally… someplace new to me!!! Waterton Lakes National Park is a place of incredible beauty, shared with the US by way of Glacier National Park. It was a tempting jaunt over the border during my last visit to Glacier actually, but I didn’t make the trip because Jazzy and Sadie were awaiting me in the motorhome many miles away… on the west side of Glacier. (Dogs aren’t allowed on most National Park trails, so best they hung out in the air conditioned rig.)

We set out relatively early from Banff National Park in hopes of snagging a campsite while Waterton Lakes was in “first come-first serve” status. Thankfully we got one, because there was little else anywhere near. At this point we’re traveling that thin line between seasons… the campgrounds are emptying out… yay! But many of them are closing for the season! Boo! [Side note… the reservation system for the national parks (US and Canada) is  frustratingly ill-informed. THEY show campsites full or unavailable, when the reality is that they are not reservable, and have moved into a first come-first serve status. I know this from experience, and years later I still have to push my way through the system to find out the REAL status of these campgrounds!]

The drive was fun, because it was new to me. I enjoyed watching the mountain landscape change to the west of me, and pulled off when ever I could.

Alberta Canada

Canadian Rockies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After settling into our campsite we took a walk into the townsite, pausing at the local waterfall along the way…

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Cameron Falls

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Historic Prince of Whales Hotel and tour boat

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Magpie… silly name for a silly bird

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Upper Waterton Lake

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Ring-billed Gull

Alberta, Canada

Mountains of Waterton Lake National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

While planning our route through Waterton Lakes National Park I discovered they’d suffered a substantial wildfire in the park in 2017. The scars are still quite evident. Most of the roads, and therefore most of the hiking trails, were closed or out of reach to us. On day two we hiked through town, and up to the Prince of Whales Hotel (pictured above). Unfortunately it had just closed for the season, so all we could do was peek through the windows and enjoy the view.

These three dragonflies stopped me in my tracks. Doesn’t look too good for at least one of them…

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Dragonflies in baffling position

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Stained glass window, Prince of Whales Hotel

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

View from Prince of Whales Hotel

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

View across Upper Waterton Lake

 

Much of our time here was spent catching up on “life stuff”. We were plugged in, and had decent cell coverage. And I found a restaurant/pub in town that had great WiFi, which afforded me the opportunity to play “catch up”. It’s a hopeless task, but I try. 🤣

After too many hours on my fanny in The Beast, I took a walk down to the lake… just for some fresh air and exercise…

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Lovely doe I found along my path

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Upper Waterton Lake

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

…and the mountains beyond…

 

The one hike we were able to do while there was Bertha Lake Trail… roughly 6 miles and 1509′ elevation gain. We set out early and encountered only a few other people on the hike up. Numerous people on the way back down, and most of them gasping for air. 😂

A good portion of the way we hiked through fire ravaged forest. It had its beauty…

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

John on the trail

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Forest fire art

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Textures of a fallen tree

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Texture in a burnt forest

 

As long as I’m on textures…

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Incredible layers of rock along Bertha Lake Trail

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Layers…

 

After a good climb (not all of it) we came upon a stream and falls. Quite lovely!!

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Bertha Falls

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Lower Bertha Falls

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Lower Bertha Falls

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Below the falls…

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

View from the trail, Bertha Lake

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Water… falling…

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Bertha Lake lower falls

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Lower falls, Bertha Lake Trail

 

And we finally arrived at Bertha Lake… Spectacular!

Bertha Lake

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Almost invisible, and quite a cairn!!

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Peak above Bertha Lake

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Falls above Bertha Lake

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Common Goldeneye, Bertha Lake

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Bertha Lake

 

I would consider Bertha Lake Trail a worthy hike. I’m guessing there are many more in this park I’d consider worthy, but a few years of forest growth would make a difference.

The following day we crossed the border back into the US, and my first discovery was a little Black Bear cub staggering down the highway!!! Seriously! You’ll have to come back for that story.

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