Important Bulletin: Bear warnings have been issued for Crypt Lake Trail and Cameron Lake Day Use Area

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. Make sure you have the knowledge, equipment and supplies to have a safe and enjoyable hike. Use the information below or stop by our visitor centre in the Waterton townsite.

Create your own experience - we'll take care of the scenery!

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 and walks

Short hikes and walks in Waterton Lakes National Park
Trail Distance (return) Time Level of difficulty
Townsite Loop 3.2 km (2 mi) 1 hour Easy
Prince of Wales Loop 2 km (1.2 mi) 45 minutes Easy
Linnet Lake Loop 1 km (0.6 mi) 20 minutes Easy
Kootenai Brown Trail 13.8 km (8.6 mi) 0.5 to 2 hours Easy
Bear's Hump 2.8 km (1.8 mi) 1 hour Moderate
Bertha - Lower Bertha Falls 5.2 km (3.2 mi) 1.5 hours Moderate
Crandell Lake (from townsite) 12.4 km (7.7 mi) 4 hours Moderate
Cameron Lakeshore 3 km (1.9 mi) 1 hour Easy
Akamina Lake 1 km (0.6 mi) 30 minutes Easy
Crandell Lake (from Akamina Parkway) 3.6 km (2.2 mi) 1 hour Moderate
Red Rock Canyon Loop 0.7 km (0.4 mi) 20 minutes Easy
Blakiston Falls 2 km (1.2 mi) 45 minutes Easy
Crandell Lake (from Red Rock Parkway) 4 km (2.4 mi) 1.25 hours Moderate
Bellevue 7.4 km (4.6 mi) 2.5 hours Moderate

Day hikes

Day hikes in Waterton Lakes National Park
Trail Distance (return) Time Level of difficulty
Akamina Pass 3 km (1.9 mi) 1 hour Moderate
Lineham 8.4 km (5.2 mi) 3 hours Moderate
Lower Rowe Lake 8 km (5 mi) 3 hours Moderate
Upper Rowe Lake 12.8 km (8 mi) 5 hours Moderate
Bertha - Bertha Lake 5.2 km (3.2 mi) to falls; 10.4 km (6.4 mi) to lake 4.5 hours Moderate
Lakeshore 13 km (8 mi), one way 4 hours, one way Moderate
Snowshoe 16.4 km (10.2 mi) 5 hours Easy
Horseshoe 21.3 km (13 mi) 7 hours Moderate
Blakiston Valley 20.2 km (12.5 mi) 7 hours Moderate
Wishbone/Vimy 21 km (13 mi) 8 hours Difficult
Crypt Lake 17.2 km (10.7 mi) 6 hours Difficult
Carthew-Alderson 20.1 km (12.5 mi), one way 8 hours, one way Difficult
Alderson-Carthew 20.1 km (12.5 mi), one way 8 hours, one way Difficult
Boundary Creek 14.6 km (9 mi), one way 4 hours, one way Moderate

Multi-day hikes

Multi-day hikes in Waterton Lakes National Park
Trail Distance (return) Time Level of difficulty
Tamarack 32 to 36 km (20 to 23 mi) 2 to 3 days Difficult

Guided hikes

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

Interpretive trails

Our interpretive trails include information panels that tell a story about the park - the plants, wildlife and people that have shaped the area.

There are four trails with interpretive panels in Waterton Lakes National Park:

Featured hikes
Featured hikes

Great hiking is a Waterton Lakes National Park trademark. Short, well-marked trails lead to canyons, waterfalls and overlooks, while longer trails traverse more remote terrain en route to stunning vistas.

Play, Clean, Go
Play, Clean, Go

Waterton’s vulnerability to the spread of invasive plant species has increased as a result of the Kenow Wildfire. Visitors can help protect the landscape by remembering to Play Clean Go when hiking.

Staying safe

Be prepared

Hikers need to take individual responsibility for planning their trips and hiking safely. Even short trips from the Waterton townsite can have serious consequences. Minimize your risk by planning ahead.

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.
  • Consult our list of current infrastructure projects for potential impacts to your trip.
  • Be prepared for emergencies and changes in weather.
  • 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 (call 911).
  • Travel with a friend or group.
  • Ticks carrying Lyme disease may be present in the park. It is important to check yourself and your pet after hiking.
Kenow Wildfire

Areas affected by the Kenow Wildfire may have increased hazards. These hazards may be triggered at any time with little or no warning.

Snowy and icy trails

Snow can remain on some trails until early summer. Travel through hard snow and ice can be unsafe. Be prepared and check trail conditions before heading out.

Avalanche risk

Much of the mountain area within Waterton Lakes National Park is avalanche terrain. Until late June, trails may be subject to avalanche hazard.

For more information about safety while enjoying Waterton Lakes National Park, see our visitor safety section.

Recommended packing list

  • Trail guide and map
  • Full water bottle or thermos
  • High energy food
  • Bear spray
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • First aid kit
  • Headlamp or flashlight with spare batteries
  • Hat and gloves
  • Hiking poles
  • Rain/wind jacket
  • Extra warm clothing in case of an emergency
  • Cell phone or satellite emergency communication device.

Hiking etiquette

Our trails are shared by different types of users. Please be considerate of others and stay to the right of the trail to allow others to pass. As a best practice, hikers should yield to horseback riders, and cyclists should yield to both hikers and horseback riders.

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

Hiking in bear country

Waterton Lakes National Park is home to both grizzly and black bears, and other wildlife including elk, wolves and cougars. Although the chances of having an encounter with an aggressive bear are low, proper planning before you head out can help reduce your risk.

Hiking in bear country requires some extra precautions when it comes to staying safe, for both you and the bears.

Hiking with pets

Dogs are welcomed on trails in Waterton Lakes National Park, but only if they are kept on leash and under control at all times. Staying on-leash is important, not just for your dog’s safety but for the safety and preservation of many of the park's wildlife species. Please stay safe and respect this rule. And, of course, always scoop that poop and dispose of it responsibly!

Overnight backpacking

Waterton Lakes National Park offers good opportunities for wilderness recreation. See our Backcountry camping section for information on travelling and staying overnight in the backcountry.

24-hour emergency

In case of emergency, call 911 (state that you are calling from Waterton Lakes National Park). Cell phones are not always reliable in the backcountry.