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 and walks
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 Loop around the hill below the iconic Prince of Wales Hotel National Historic Site with views of Upper and Middle Waterton lakes Easy
Linnet Lake loop Open 1 km / 0.6 mi 20 minutes Minimal A short stroll on a paved path around a small lake. The lake is named for a small bird called a linnet (wheelchair accessible) Easy
Cameron Lakeshore Open 3 km / 1.9 mi 1 hour Minimal A walk along a scenic subalpine lake with views south to a lush headwall in Glacier National Park, USA. 15.4 km (9.6 mi) to trailhead from Akamina Parkway gate Easy
Akamina Lake Open 1 km / 0.6 mi 30 minutes Minimal A short stroll to a sheltered 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 with red, white and green rock 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 A great family hike with a steady uphill slope along a former cart track to a beautiful lake. 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 A great family hike with a steady uphill slope to a beautiful lake. 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 This short, but very steep trail takes you to a bluff on the side of Mount Crandell, known to the Blackfoot as Bear Mountain. Views from the top are spectacular, including the Townsite, the Waterton Valley and lakes, south into Glacier National Park (USA) and northeast to prairie ranch land Moderate
Bellevue Open 7.4 km / 4.6 mi 2.5 Minimal A prairie walk below Bellevue Hill with spectacular spring and summer wildflowers. A great way to experience where the mountains and prairie meet. 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 Akamina Pass is a wide trail with steep sections which leads to the boundary of British Columbia and the Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park. Continuing into the provincial park gives access to Wall and Forum lakes. 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 Open 8.4 km / 5.2 mi 3 hours 350 m / 1148 ft Steady uphill hike to a viewpoint below a stunning 250 m/410 ft. high waterfall. Excellent views of Mount Lineham and Mount Blakiston, the highest peak in the park. 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 (Horseshoe Basin, Oil Basin and Park Line) Open 21.3 km / 13 mi 7 hours 350 m / 1148 ft Popular trail riding area and great early season walk through meadows with abundant spring and summer wildflowers. Steady ascent through mostly open terrain over the col between Lakeview Ridge and Mount Galway. The trail continues to Oil Basin and near the cut line along the park boundary. Hikers should use caution as the trail becomes indistinct in many places approaching and along the park line. Moderate
Blakiston Valley Closed 20.2 km / 12.5 mi 7 hours 350 m / 1148 ft Hiking and horseback trail along Blakiston Creek to junction. From there head north to Lone Lake, Twin Lakes and Snowshoe trail, or south to Tamarack trail and Rowe Lakes. 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 A wide trail leads through forests of aspen and birch, crosses streams and traverses some wide stretches of open prairie. The terrain steepens and is more forested just before reaching the junction with the Vimy Trail. Stay right to continue along to Wishbone Landing on the shore of Middle Waterton Lake. The trail to the left climbs steeply to the end of the Vimy trail and crosses montane and subalpine forests of fir and larch. Please note that the final kilometre from the end of the trail to the summit of Vimy Peak requires a scramble and route finding in steep terrain with loose rock and short cliff bands Difficult
Crypt Lake Open 17.2 km / 10.7 mi 6 hours 675 m / 2214 ft Be prepared for a varied all day hike with spectacular mountain views, several waterfalls, climbs along steep slopes, and a tight tunnel opening onto a narrow ledge above a cliff. A 20 minute side trip off the main trail provides views of Hell Roaring Falls and a steep canyon below. Be sure to keep track of your progress in order to make it back on time for the return water taxi to the Townsite 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

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

Etiquette

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