COVID-19 and your visit to Waterton Lakes National Park
Starting June 1, some Parks Canada places will begin to offer limited access and services while maintaining physical distancing measures. Information will be updated regularly.
Only places and activities where health and safety risks can be managed will be available for visitation. We are asking visitors to be cautious and conservative in their use of these places, to observe travel restrictions, respect closures, follow the guidance of public health experts, and to make every effort to keep one another safe.
Opening details will differ across the country. Please check the Parks Canada national information portal dedicated to COVID-19 for regular updates.
Parks Canada and COVID-19 (updated May 27, 2020)
The health and safety of Canadians, visitors and Parks Canada team members is our top priority.
Being outdoors and in nature brings a number of health and wellness benefits., It is important that people have access to natural spaces where they can go to get exercise and fresh air in settings that facilitate physical distancing.
On June 1, 2020, Parks Canada will begin a safe, gradual opening of some outdoor locations in national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas.
- Starting June 1, visitors will be permitted to access some trails, day use areas, and green spaces at some locations. Until then, all suspensions of visitor services and closures of facilities announced in March remain in place.
- For their own safety, visitors should not try to access locations that are closed.
- All camping facilities remain closed until at least June 21, 2020, while Parks Canada assesses whether and how these services might resume. Group activities and public events will be prohibited until further notice. All existing reservations set to take place prior to June 21, 2020, will be automatically cancelled and refunded in full.
- Highways and roadways which pass through Parks Canada places will remain open.
Important information about your visit to Waterton Lakes National Park
Starting June 1, 2020, Waterton Lakes National Park will offer limited visitor access and basic services.
Until then, all suspensions of visitor services and closures of facilities remain in place.
Facilities, services and activities that visitors will be able to access in the park from June 1 are listed in the sections below. Information will be updated regularly.
Visiting Waterton Lakes National Park will be different than it has been in the past. Your cooperation is required to ensure a safe experience for yourself and others.
For the health and safety of all visitors, Parks Canada may monitor traffic at peak periods. When traffic volumes affect the ability of the park to operate safely, Parks Canada may temporarily divert traffic.
What is open and what is closed in Waterton Lakes National Park
What’s open (updated May 27, 2020)
Facilities and services that are currently closed and listed in the What's closed section below may be available on June 1. The information on this page will be updated regularly.
Parks Canada will continue to maintain the following basic critical operations in Waterton Lakes National Park:
- highways operations and snow removal
- visitor safety and search and rescue
- townsite management
- water testing, potable water and waste-water treatment
- human-wildlife conflict response
- wildfire response
- emergency dispatch
- law enforcement
- construction project implementation support
- cultural and ecological integrity monitoring
The Firehall washroom in the Waterton townsite is open.
What’s closed (updated May 27, 2020)
Parks Canada information
- Opening June 1 Park Gate, entrance fees are in effect, staffed hours of service may vary
- Opening June 1 Visitor Centre on Fountain Avenue
- Daily 9 am to 5 pm, for limited in-person services and enquiries by telephone and email
- Opening June 1 Chief Mountain Highway as far as Belly River Bridge
- Chief Mountain Border crossing is closed until further notice
- Opening June 1 Red Rock Parkway, for hiking and cycling (non-motorized use)
- Opening June 1 Bison Paddock Overlook to Bellevue / Horseshoe trailhead
- Akamina Parkway is closed to all traffic, including non-motorized use, for major reconstruction. An Area Closure is in effect. This closure is expected to continue into late 2020
- Bison Paddock Loop Road
All camping facilities, including backcountry camping, remain closed until at least June 21, 2020, while Parks Canada assesses whether and how these services might resume.
- Townsite Campground, closed until further notice
- Belly River campground, including the group campground, closed until further notice
- Backcountry campgrounds, closed until further notice (Parks Canada is not issuing permits for backcountry camping until further notice)
- Pass Creek winter campground, closed for the season
Parks Canada will cease taking new reservations for camping, accommodation and activities until June 21, 2020 while we assess whether and how these services may be provided.
Crandell Mountain Campground remains closed due to damage from the 2017 Kenow Wildfire. It is scheduled to reopen in 2022. See Infrastructure projects for updates.
Day use/picnic areas
- Opening June 1 Cameron Falls, including washroom
- Opening June 1 Cameron Bay, picnic tables only. Picnic shelters and washroom will remain closed
- Opening June 1 Community Kitchen, picnic tables only. Picnic shelter and washroom will remain closed
- Opening June 1 Lakeshore, picnic tables only. Picnic shelter and washroom will remain closed
- Opening June 1 Emerald Bay, picnic tables only. Picnic shelter and washrooms will remain closed
- Opening June 1 Driftwood Beach
- Opening June 1 Lost Horse Creek (non-motorized access only)
- Opening June 1 Red Rock Canyon (non-motorized access only)
- Opening June 1 Hay Barn
- Opening June 1 Linnet Lake
- Opening June 1 Maskinonge, picnic tables and washroom only. Picnic shelter will remain closed
- Opening June 1 Pass Creek
- Cameron Lake
- Little Prairie
- Coppermine Creek
- Knight's Lake
Hiking and trails
Opening June 1 Many trails in the park will open for day use.
The following trails will remain closed after June 1:
The Akamina Parkway is closed for construction. An Area Closure is in effect. All trails along this road are closed, including:
- Carthew-Alderson, closed between Carthew Summit and Cameron Lake
- Crandell Lake, trailhead on Akamina Parkway closed
- Akamina Lake
- Cameron Lakeshore
- Rowe Lakes
- Summit Lake
- Akamina Pass
Crypt Lake trail can be accessed via Wishbone trail or non-motorized watercraft.
For a list of trails and trail descriptions, visit our Hiking section.
Map: Map of hiking trails
- Opening June 1 Upper, Middle and Lower Waterton Lakes will be accessible for non-motorized water recreation
- Opening June 1 National park fishing permits can be obtained by phoning or going to the Visitor Centre. Permits must be picked up in person
Interpretive programs and special events
In-person interpretation, group activities and events are suspended until further notice.
The volunteering program in Waterton Lakes National Park is suspended. Some individual activities may resume at a later date.
For information on commercial activities and services in Waterton Lakes National Park, contact the Waterton Chamber of Commerce.
Suspended visitor services
- Trail maintenance/trail conditions reporting
- Park Administration building on Mount View Road
- Parks Canada Operations Compound on the Entrance Road, including:
- The Operations Building
- The Warden’s Office
Frequently asked questions
What is Parks Canada doing to help limit the spread of COVID-19?
Health and safety is a shared responsibility. Parks Canada will put appropriate measures in place to help Canadians stay safe, and visitors are expected to follow the recommendations of public health officials.
Parks Canada will be following the advice of public health authorities and implementing measures for cleaning, hygiene, and physical distancing at all places open for visitation. In Waterton Lakes National Park, this includes cleaning washrooms at least twice each day.
What should I bring to protect myself and help limit the spread of COVID-19 during my visit?
Bring your own hand sanitizer. A reusable mask is recommended for areas where physical distance cannot be maintained. Outdoor surfaces like picnic tables and hand railings are not being regularly cleaned. Practice good hygiene like regular hand-washing.
Items like disposable gloves and disinfectant wipes can be helpful, but please ensure these are being disposed of properly. More than ever, Parks Canada requires your help to keep trails and facilities free of garbage.
Visitors should follow the advice of public health experts and to practice physical distancing and hygiene measures, limit public gatherings and respect travel restrictions and closures.
Will Parks Canada limit the number of visitors/vehicles in Waterton Lakes National Park this year?
Parks Canada’s goal is to provide the safest possible experience for visitors, wildlife and staff. When traffic volumes affect the ability of the park to operate safely, Parks Canada will temporarily divert traffic.
Visitors can follow us on social media or visit our website for live park information on busy weekends. Parks Canada encourages everyone to plan ahead and check these resources prior to their arrival to have the best possible experience.
What if a parking lot is full? What options do I have?
Visitors have a responsibility to maintain physical distance. If a parking lot is full, it is best to go elsewhere. There are over 500 parking stalls in the Waterton village, which is very walkable. Visitors can park anywhere in town and be a short walk away from attractions and services.
Do not overcrowd parking lots, park illegally along roadway shoulders or off-road.
Will Parks Canada limit access to busy trails in Waterton Lakes National Park?
Maintaining physical distance on trails is your responsibility. Some trails in the park, specifically Bertha Falls/Lake and Townsite loop can be crowded on busy days. Consider hiking earlier or later in the day to avoid crowds.