I am embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of Waterton Lakes National Park. It’s a little ridiculous considering I have heard of Glacier National Park In America right next door, but that's only because I read The NVR Guys blog regularly and they go there often. Waterton is directly connected to Glacier National Park and the two parks are known as the International Peace Park.
Waterton Lakes National Park
So, now we know and now we want to tell you all about it. Waterton Lakes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an International Peace Park, and a Biosphere Reserved rolled all in one. It’s the only one of its kind in the world.
We didn’t have a lot of time in the park, but if we were to come back, we’d definitely make sure to stay overnight. The Prince of Wales hotel stands in the centre of the park overlooking a beautiful lake in a mountainous setting. The Prince of Wales used to live in Alberta and was so taken with the land he actually bought a ranch right next door to the famous Bar U Ranch. His legacy remains with this historic landmark.
There is a small village in the park with some other hotel options and a chance to rent mini motorbikes and motorboats. There are general stores and a beach. It’s a place that feels like cottage country and we certainly would love to spend a few more days here in the park exploring.
People come to this park to hike.
You can make your home base in town and then do day trip hikes into the mountains. If you are like us and are only popping in for the afternoon, there are a few short trails that will give you a taste of Waterton National Park.
One of the most popular hikes is out to Red Rocks Canyon.
There is a loop that goes around the canyon. If we had more time though, we would have joined the people who walked through the canyon. You can go canyoning and wade through the river taking in the scope of the canyon walls from below while staying refreshed in the hot summer heat.
On our way out, we also made sure to stop and see the buffalo reserve that is located just on the outskirts of the park.You can drive your car slowly through the enclosed reserve, but make sure you don’t get out. Buffalo can be dangerous. Although the buffalo were so far away, I don’t think we were in any danger whatsoever. It was still cool to see them living as they did hundreds of years ago.
On our way back to our hotel in Pincher Creek, we stopped at the ‘Waterton Park Front' one of the largest land conservation initiatives in Canada. An agreement with private landowners has made this 30,000 acre area a place to help prevent the loss of Canada’s most magnificent ranches, to keep the landscape in tact and to maintain sustainable agriculture production. I’m glad that the Weston family decided to start this initiative in the 90’s because this region is beautiful and it’s a wonderful thing to know that it will not be destroyed.
Now generations will be able to not only view the beauty of Waterton National Park, but also the surrounding area and ranch lands near by.
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