Areas of Waterton Lakes National Park remain closed due to safety hazards and infrastructure damage from the Kenow Wildfire. Visit our What's open page for an up-to-date list of open areas.

Waterton Lakes National Park has 200 kilometres (120 miles) of hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to strenuous wilderness hikes.

The park is a particularly good place to enjoy a variety of shorter trails which can be easily completed in a few hours or a day.

Begin by planning your trip. Use the information here on our website or stop by our visitor centre in the Waterton townsite.

When to go

Prime hiking season runs July through mid-September. Until late June, many trails are still snow-bound and may be subject to avalanche hazard.

Trails tend to be muddier at this time and the best hiking is at lower elevations or on drier, south facing slopes. By the middle of July, most alpine passes are snow free.

Where to go

Use the trail information below to choose a hike suitable for everyone in your party.

Short hikes
Trail

Status

Distance (return)

Estimated time (return)

Elevation gain

Trail description Level of difficulty
Townsite loop Open 3.2 km / 2 mi 1 hour Minimal Paved trail beside Upper Waterton Lake Easy
Prince of Wales loop Open 2 km / 1.2 mi 45 minutes Minimal View of the Waterton Lakes Easy
Linnet Lake loop Open 1 km / 0.6 mi 20 minutes Minimal Short stroll around small lake (wheelchair accessible) Easy
Cameron Lakeshore Open 3 km / 1.9 mi 1 hour Minimal Walk through a "snow forest" beside a scenic subalpine lake. 15.4 km (9.6 mi) to trailhead from Akamina Parkway gate Easy
Akamina Lake Open 1 km / 0.6 mi 30 minutes Minimal Short stroll to a pristine subalpine lake. 15.4 km (9.6 mi) to trailhead from Akamina Parkway gate. Easy
Red Rock Canyon Loop Closed 0.7 km / 0.4 mi 20 minutes Minimal Paved trail along a colourful canyon Easy
Blakiston Falls Closed 2 km / 1.2 mi 45 minutes Minimal A short walk leads to waterfall view points Easy
Kootenai Brown Trail Open 13.8 km / 8.6 mi 0.5 to 2 hours Minimal Paved trail with view of lakes, prairie and mountains (wheelchair accessible) Easy
Crandell Lake (Red Rock Parkway) Open 4 km / 2.4 mi 1.25 hours 125 m / 410 ft Steady uphill trail through montane forest. 8.9 km (5.5 mi) to trailhead from Red Rock Parkway gate Moderate
Crandell Lake (Akamina Parkway) Open 3.6 km / 2.2 mi 1 hour 75 m / 246 ft Steady uphill trail through pine and aspen. 6.7 km (4.2 mi) to trailhead from Akamina Parkway gate Moderate
Lower Bertha Falls Open 5.2 km / 3.2 mi 1.5 hours 175 m / 574 ft Moderate climb to a cascading "bridal veil" waterfall Moderate
Bear's Hump Closed 2.8 km / 1.8 mi 1 hour 225 m / 738 ft Steep climb with panoramic view of Waterton Valley Moderate
Bellevue Open 7.4 km / 4.6 mi 2.5 Minimal An easy walk through open prairies with mountain views. 3 km / 1.9 mi to trailhead from Red Rock Parkway gate Moderate
Day hikes
Trail Status

Distance (return)

Estimated time (return)

Elevation gain

Trail description Level of difficulty
Akamina Pass Open 3 km / 1.9 mi 1 hour 123 m / 404 ft This short, moderately steep trail climbs to the Alberta-B.C. boundary then continues into Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park. 14.3 km (8.9 mi) to trailhead from Akamina Parkway gate. Trail closed at B.C. border Moderate
Forum Lake, B.C. (via Akamina Pass) Closed 8.8 km / 5.5 mi 3 hours 350 m / 1148 ft Impressive rock wall surrounds lake in B.C. provincial park. Trail closed at B.C. border Moderate
Wall Lake, B.C. (via Akamina Pass) Closed 10.4 km / 6.5 mi 3.5 hours 110 m / 361 ft Popular alpine lake in B.C. provincial park. Trail closed at B.C. border Moderate
Summit Lake Open 8 km / 5 mi 3 hours 305 m / 1000 ft Switchbacks through old growth forest to Summit plateau. 15.4 km (9.6 mi) to trailhead from Akamina Parkway gate Moderate
Lineham Creek Open 8.4 km / 5.2 mi 3 hours 350 m / 1148 ft Forested uphill hike to view a 250 m (410 ft) high falls. 9 km (5.6 mi) to trailhead from Akamina Parkway gate Moderate
Lower Rowe Lake Open 8 km / 5 mi 3 hours 350 m / 1148 ft Forested and open slopes lead to a small alpine lake. 10.4 km (6.5 mi) to trailhead from Akamina Parkway gate Moderate
Upper Rowe Lake Open 12.8 km / 8 mi 5 hours 575 m / 1886 ft Meadow of wildflowers at 5.2 km (3.2 mi), steep climb to lake. 10.4 km (6.5 mi) to trailhead from Akamina Parkway gate Moderate
Bertha Lake Open 10.4 km / 6.5 mi 4.5 hours 460 m / 1509 ft Steady uphill to this popular and pretty lake Moderate
Lakeshore Trail Open 13 km / 8 mi (one way) 4 hours 125 m / 410 ft Requires return boat trip from Goat Haunt, USA or return hike Moderate
Snowshoe Closed 16.4 km / 10.2 mi 5 hours 150 m / 492 ft Old fire road suited for cycling Easy
Horseshoe Basin Open 21.3 km / 13 mi 7 hours 350 m / 1148 ft Hike through open prairie. Abundant wildflowers in spring Moderate
Blakiston Valley Closed 20.2 km / 12.5 mi 7 hours 350 m / 1148 ft A creekside trail in a fairly open valley Moderate
Goat Lake Closed 14 km / 8.7 mi 5 hours 500 m / 1640 ft Steep switchbacks and open rocky slope to hanging valley Difficult
Wishbone Open 21 km / 13 mi 8 hours Minimal Hike through aspen forest and wetlands. Access to Vimy Peak Difficult
Crypt Lake Open 17.2 km / 10.7 mi 6 hours 675 m / 2214 ft Waterfall, natural tunnel and cliff traverse. Requires boat shuttle Difficult
Carthew-Alderson Closed 20.1 km / 12.5 mi 8 hours 650 m / 2132 ft Spectacular views from Carthew Ridge. May need car shuttle Difficult
Twin Lakes Closed 22.8 km / 14.1 mi 9 hours 455 m / 1492 ft Steady uphill trail to two alpine lakes Difficult
Multi-day hikes
Trail Status

Distance (return)

Estimated time (return)

Elevation gain

Trail description Level of difficulty
Tamarack Trail Closed 32 to 36 km / 20 to 23 mi 2 to 3 days Varies with route selection Scenic hike along the Continental Divide. Access to Lone Lake. May require car shuttle Difficult

Be prepared

Hikers need to take individual responsibility for planning their trips and hiking safely. Parks Canada provides information to help people understand and assess the risk so that they can make travel decisions. Make sure you have the knowledge, equipment and supplies to have a safe and enjoyable hike.

  • Study trail descriptions and maps before starting.
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Check current trail conditions and any trail cautions or closures.
  • Choose a trail suitable for the least experienced member in your group.
  • Pack adequate food, water, clothing, maps and gear.
  • Carry a first aid kit and bear spray.
  • Tell somebody where you’re going, when you’ll be back and who to call if you don’t return.
  • Travel with a friend or group.
  • Be prepared for emergencies and changes in weather.

Areas affected by the Kenow Wildfire may have increased hazards that last for several years or longer and may be triggered at any time with little or no warning.

Guided hikes

Take a free guided hike with a Parks Canada interpreter (from June through September).

Safety and etiquette

For information about safety while enjoying Waterton Lakes National Park visitor safety

Avalanche awareness

This winter, visitors should consider the Akamina and Red Rock parkways as backcountry terrain. For more information to plan a safe and enjoyable experience winter safety

Leave No Trace

Parks Canada encourages visitors who are planning to travel in the backcountry to practice Leave No Trace skills and ethics. Leave No Trace is a national program that promotes and inspires responsible outdoor recreation and stewardship of public lands.

The program depends more on attitude and awareness than on rules and regulations. The time you spend in the backcountry can be safer and more rewarding if you strive to Leave No Trace of your visit on the resources, or on the experiences of other visitors.

Please practice the following seven principles of Leave No Trace.

  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect wildlife
  • Be considerate of others