Some areas in Waterton Lakes National Park are now open to the public after the Kenow Fire. Closures are still in effect for other areas due to safety hazards and infrastructure damage. Please see the up-to-date list of open and closed areas.
When visiting Waterton Lakes National Park during winter be prepared for winter’s special hazards: cold temperatures, storms, challenging travel conditions, uncertain ice conditions and short days. Be sure to check and prepare for the weather before you depart, file a trip plan and bring the right gear and clothing.
Almost any slope, under the right circumstances, may release its snowy mantle in an avalanche. Even small avalanches can be deadly.
- Drivers should avoid stopping in posted avalanche zones.
- Many of the backcountry trails travel through avalanche-prone terrain and require a skill-set for evaluating avalanche risk. Backcountry skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers and hikers should be well informed about the type of terrain they will encounter when embarking on a backcountry trip in the winter.
- Travel in avalanche prone terrain also requires the use of specialized equipment (avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel). Use of this equipment requires practice, and instruction from a skilled user.
- Avalanche information is updated regularly and can be obtained by reading the Avalanche Bulletin.
- The National Parks backcountry is managed as a natural area, and as such many natural hazards exist. Backcountry travellers are responsible for their own decisions and safety - becoming well informed is a good start.
- New policies have been introduced for custodial groups planning backcountry travel in the mountain National Parks (Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Jasper, Mt. Revelstoke, Glacier, and Waterton Lakes). These policies are in effect from Nov 15 - Apr 30 each year. Parks Canada has established a new standard of care, and custodial group leaders have new obligations and pre-trip planning considerations they must understand.
- Avalanche information in the Mountain National Parks.