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September 19, 2013 / mws

2013 Waterton Lakes National Park

September 16 – 19 

Waterton is a place where the prairie collides with the mountains.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site is tucked away in the southwest corner of Alberta and is adjacent to Glacier National Park in Montana.

Waterton's Prince of Wales Hotel

Waterton’s Prince of Wales Hotel

The main attraction in town is the Hotel.  The Prince of Wales Hotel is certainly very impressive.  We drove right up to the hotel even though in Waterton, this Hotel had already closed for the season.  It sits high on a hill overlooking the lake and town and it was VERY windy up there.  😉

On the south shore of Upper Waterton Lake you will find The Pavilion between downtown Waterton Park and the town’s Marina. This is a small park with a collection of interpretative displays that tell the story of the formation of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.  The Pavilion was established in 1982 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the creation of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.


Mamma with her 2 cubs

Mamma with her 2 cubs

Red Rock Canyon is a 30-minute drive outside of Waterton. The drive follows a river with lots of meadows for wildlife viewing.  Waterton was very uncrowded as it is considered to be low tourist season here in mid-September. So we were among the few fortunate to head out the Red Rock Canyon on the last warm September day. (Weather alert for tomorrow had been announced).

Just a short drive out to the red rock area we spotted a Mamma black bear and her two cubs.  They were very busy munching on the hillside and we were delighted to watch them for over an hour.

Along Red Rock Parkway

Along Red Rock Parkway

The Red Rock Parkway was a beautiful drive with golden prairie grasses, wildflowers, and aspen stands at the base of the mountains.  The Parkway follows the ancient Buffalo Trail used by First Nations hunting parties.  The canyon itself is very colorful and the water pristine. There is a walk to Blakiston Falls that goes through forest and rewards the hiker with the pretty falls.

We stayed at the Bear Mountain Motel in downtown Waterton.  This is an older motel, but was good for us with the easy walk downtown and the friendly staff made us feel welcome.  Downtown Waterton is very small but has shops and restaurants…we liked Zum’s and Trappers Grill for dinner.

Two bull elk

Two bull elk

After dinner we headed out for elk viewing.  On the way to the elk area, a lone black bear was along the road.  A Park Ranger was keeping close watch but we managed to get a photo as the bear was crossing the road.

It wasn’t long until we saw  cars lined up along a gravel road at the elk viewing area   So we joined in and watched (listened to the bugling).  It was almost dark by the time we got there, so it was a little difficult to get good photos.  😐

As the weather man promised, the pattern changed on our second day here.  It rained hard overnight and continued into the next day.  About half way up the mountainsides, the gray mountain had turned white.  The temperature went from 70F on Tuesday to 35F on Wednesday.  So we had a day off to edit photos, catch up and walk around downtown in the rain with a very nice meal at Trappers Grill.  How can you complain about 1 day of rain after 14 days of beautiful weather?

Waterton snowcapped mountain

Waterton snowcapped mountain

Our last day in Waterton Lakes National Park turned out to be great!  It was cold enough for the rain yesterday to be snow on the mountains and made good photos.   We started the day with strolling along the Canyon Loop at the end of the Red Rock Parkway.  Again today, we saw bears…six of them!  And we had a brief sighting of a bullmoose at the canyon.  We drove a little north to take the rolling drive through the Bison Paddock.  It was a scenic drive but you can see more bison in Yellowstone or Custer State Park.

Standing black bear

Standing black bear

Our favorite wildlife spotting of the day was a curious and amusing black bear.  He was in the berry  bushes and kept standing up to look around.  It just looked like he was posing!

In the afternoon we did a short hike at the end of the Red Rock Canyon Parkway.  This was a very scenic hike and very uncrowded once you got away from the parking area.  Whether you enjoy hiking, great scenery, wildlife watching or just solitude and clean fresh air, Waterton Lakes National Park is a great place to be!  ♥ ♥

For more photos of our trip to Waterton Park, click here

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“Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness.”  Ray Bradbury

One Comment

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  1. Rob Moses Photography / Sep 19 2013 11:25 pm

    NIce pictures. that bear looks like a squirrel haha.

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