Waterton Lakes National Park

Park Interpretation

Interpretive Theatre Programs, Guided Hikes & Activities

How long are you staying in Waterton? A few hours? A whole day? How about overnight, or a couple of days? Parks Canada's team of interpreters in Waterton Lakes National Park offer a variety of visitor programs during July and August. Theatre programs, guided hikes and family activities - they are all free with your park entrance fee. Check the schedule below for days, times and locations of the programs.

What is Interpretation?

Freeman Tilden, the "grand-daddy" of interpretation, said, "The chief aim of interpretation is not instruction, but provocation." So what does that mean?

Whether you're on a guided walk, or at an evening theatre program, interpretation should engage you. And all interpretation programs contain information, so if you want to learn something - great! But the best interpretation not only entertains and teaches, but ultimately provokes thought ... gives you something to chew on ... so you can decide what you think. That's Interpretation.

Happy Chewing - your Waterton Interpretive Team.

Tips From Our Team

Waterton Interpreters 2013
2013 interpreters (left to right): Jessie, Heather, Brie, Sean, Dianne, David, Hahn. © Parks Canada
Sean-60

Sean 
On a hot summer day, head up to Cameron Lake to cool off at a higher elevation. Few views in the park compare to the reflection of Mount Custer over Cameron’s cool waters. Grizzly bears are sometimes spotted on the lower slopes of the mountain, across the lake. A short paddle across the lake will take you to the international border with the USA, nestled just east of the continental divide and Alberta’s border with BC; this is the absolute corner of the province and a beautiful place to spend the afternoon.

Dianne Dianne
If it’s one of those windy days and you’re looking for a sheltered, off-the-beaten-path hike for any age, park at the junction of the Entrance Parkway and Redrock Parkway, on the eastward side of Pass / Blakiston Creek by the winter closure gate. The trail, popular with wildlife, is visible heading upstream, up the bank on the eastward side of the creek. Wander as far as you like along this historic trail that will take you through ever-changing views along the creek valley, including a high, undercut stream-bank of deep-pink coloured glacial till, groves of big cottonwood trees, streamside meadows and open grasslands. You’ll be following ancient footsteps along what is part of a major route across the backbone of the continent through today’s South Kootenay Pass. Don’t be surprised if your imagination drifts to the three ancient campsites along the way, used from 200 through to 8,000 years ago! Then further along, the steep banks above you were likely used as a bison jump.
David David
Haven’t much time? Don’t forget the Linnet Lake Trail, only a kilometre long, looping around Linnet Lake in a hollow beside the Entrance Parkway. Even in that short distance you can get a taste of the essential flavour of Waterton Lakes National Park: prairie grasses, aspen parkland, a view of the mountains beyond. Easy walking, paved and nearly level (can’t say that about many of our trails!), the Linnet Lake Trail is wheelchair accessible. And - bonus - this little gem is usually well sheltered from Waterton’s famous winds. Enjoy!
Hahn Hahn
Hike up high and enjoy the magnificent views Waterton has to offer. You can find great lookouts at the top of Bear's Hump Trail, along the ridge on the Carthew-Alderson Trail, or even from your car on the Akamina Parkway. If you’re feeling prepared and energetic, then get yourself to the top of a peak in Waterton. Just ask at the Visitor Center for some advice on the best trails to get you there and back safely.
Brie Brie
Hike the Lineham Falls Trail and enjoy the open meadow and coniferous forests as well as the incredibly picturesque falls. Be sure to have a picnic on the grass or picnic table at the Hay Barn Road recreation area. My favourite activity of just about every camping trip is to get up early on a calm morning and watch the light fill the sky and slide down the mountains while listening to the critters going about their morning routines.
Jessie

Jessie 
Take some binoculars and head to Lower Rowe Lake for a pleasant half-day hike. On the way, enjoy the diverse wildflowers that grow along the trail and look and listen for birds such as Stellar’s jays, kinglets, chickadees, warblers and thrushes. At the lake, look around for hoary marmots and golden-mantled ground squirrels, as they are often seen there. If you’d like to hike some more, Upper Rowe Lake is 2.5 km from the turnoff to Lower Rowe Lake. On the way to Upper Rowe Lake you will pass through a beautiful alpine meadow that is home to many brilliant alpine wildflowers.

Heather

Heather 
Don’t forget your camera as you walk up to Bertha Lake - the views will surprise you around every corner. If you’re looking for a shorter hike, stop at the magnificent lower Bertha Falls and be refreshed by the mist. This trail has many viewpoints along the way looking over the village and of Upper Waterton Lake into Montana. This has been a favourite spot of mine since I was a kid.

Programs begin Friday June 28 2013 and run until Sunday September 1 2013 (unless otherwise noted).

Evening Theatre Programs

Join us at the Falls Theatre (near Cameron Falls and the Townsite Campground) or the Crandell Theatre (in Crandell Mountain Campground) at 8pm every night for a 45-minute program. From bats to bears, felines to fire, wolverines to wildflowers, we share the latest research and fun stories to kids and adults alike.

  • Falls Theatre, 8pm, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
  • Crandell Theatre, 8pm, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Guided Hikes

Cameron Lakeshore Stroll

Cancelled for 2013

  • Easy 3 km (1.9 miles) return, family friendly 
  • Look for a roving interpreter at Cameron Lake
  • A refreshing walk along the west shore of this subalpine lake provides scenic views of Mount Custer and Mount Forum. Be serenaded by Steller's jays, gray jays, thrushes and various woodpeckers
  • 1pm and 3pm, Saturday and Sunday
Blakiston Falls Walk
  • Easy 2 km (1.2 miles) return, family friendly 
  • Look for a roving interpreter at Red Rock Canyon
  • Join us for a walk in the park! This short stroll delights with fragrant pine forests that lead to a magnificent waterfall
  • 1pm and 3pm, Saturday and Sunday
Bertha Falls Walk
  • Moderate 5.2 km (3.2 miles) return, family friendly 
  • Meet at Bertha Lake trail head in the Townsite
  • Brilliant flowers? Yes! Stunning scenery? You bet! A cascading waterfall to greet you at the end of your walk? Indeed! Join us for this guided walk along one of Waterton's most popular trails
  • 2pm to 5pm, Tuesday and Friday
Through Ancient Eyes: Bison, Bunchgrass and Burning
  • Easy 7 km (4.3 miles) return, adults and older children 
  • Meet at the pullout on the north side of Red Rock Parkway, below Mt. Bellevue
  • How did people survive here 10,000 years ago? Have arrowheads been found in the park? Join us for a walk along the base of Mt. Bellevue and gain a unique persepective on the park
  • 1pm to 4pm, Tuesday and Thursday
Crandell Lake Hike
  • Easy 4 km, (2.5 miles) return  
  • Meet at Crandell trail head in Crandell Campground 
  • 1pm to 3pm, Thursday
The International Peace Park Hike (adults and older children)
  • Moderate 13km (8 miles) one-way (boat ride back), adults and older children 
  • Meet 10am at Bertha trail head
  • 10am to 6.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday 

Did you know that Waterton Lakes National Park and Glacier National Park formed the world's first International Peace Park? For over 30 years, visitors have hiked across the Canada / U.S. boundary on foot, accompanied by both a Glacier Park Ranger and a Waterton Park Interpreter.

Hike along the shore of Upper Waterton Lake and hear stories of what the two parks share - an ecosystem with over 1,200 species of plants, over 60 species of wildlife, and the various ways we work together.

The International Peace Park Hike © Parks Canada

The hike ends in the United States at the Goat Haunt Ranger Station, where you can receive a special U.S. entry stamp in your passport before boarding a boat to return to the Waterton townsite.

Spaces are limited so please pre-register, either in person or by phoning the Waterton Visitor Centre (403-859-5133), or the St. Mary Information Center (406-732-7750).

Cost: The hike is free with your park entry fee, but there is a charge for the boat ride back. Please purchase your boat tickets in advance at Waterton Inter-National Shoreline Cruise Co. at the marina in Waterton.

Identification: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires Canadian and American citizens to carry a passport or passport card. All visitors from countries other than Canada or the United States need their passports and have to have been documented at another U.S. port of entry.

The IPP Hike Checklist (PDF, 146 KB).

Activities

Look, See, Play!
  • Family friendly / children aged 4-12
  • Follow Waterton Avenue past the campground to the last building on the left (Community Kitchen Shelter). Look for a park vehicle in the parking lot
  • Come discover what makes Waterton unique through family games and activities near the lakeshore. New activities every day
  • 2pm to 4pm, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday
Geocache 101
  • Family friendly
  • Meet the interpreter at Waterton Heritage Centre on Waterton Avenue in the Townsite
  • Curious about what geocaching is? Find out more here
  • 10am to 12pm, Wednesday and Saturday
Blackfoot Crafts and Stories
  • Family friendly
  • Meet in the Crandell Theatre tipi at Crandell Campground
  • Join our Blackfoot Interpreters. Listen to stories, hang out by the fire, and make a small craft to take home with you
  • 10am to 12pm, Tuesday and Thursday

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