If you’re looking to visit the Canadian Rockies, consider taking a day trip to the Waterton Lake National Park. Waterton Lake National Park is actually connected to the Glacier National Park (in U.S. Territory), making this the world’s First International Peace Park. With both the Americans and Canadians working towards protecting the land, water, and wildlife; you will find both Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park in its pristine nature. Not too far from Banff National Park, Waterton Lakes makes a great day trip.
Lodging: If you’re looking for a budget hotel, make sure to look for rooms in Waterton Town. Better yet, grab your sleeping bag and pitch a tent near the lake. There are a few campgrounds in Waterton that you may want to consider looking into if you’re on a tight budget. Otherwise, if you’re anything like us – you would want to make lasting memories. The best place to stay in Waterton is at the Prince of Wales Hotel. Although this Hotel is a bit pricey and amenities are not the greatest, this historic hotel is the place to be while in Waterton. When you see the views from this hotel, you’ll understand why the overpriced rooms are well worth it. We got a room for the night on the 5th floor with views of the lake. Because the Prince of Wales is a historic hotel, the elevators they offered were the same elevators they offered back in the 1920’s. When we arrived, there was no one tending to the elevator, so we walked up the 5 story hotel to our room. Those who are not in good shape should reconsider or book a room at the lower levels. As we entered our Queen Suite room, we laughed. Views of the lake described on their website’s description, in reality were really only 2 tiny windows. Due to the high winds in the area, I would imagine that the windows would need to be small as they were for safety reasons. All and all, we still really enjoyed being in such a historical hotel that opened back in 1927. The Prince of Wales is situated between a valley along the hills of Waterton Lakes. This is considered as one of the windiest places in Canada. If you’re walking out to the viewpoint, make sure to hold on to your hats. The hotel also offers what they call a “High Tea,” which is an experience in itself. They offer many different flavors of tea as well as little crumpets and horderves. It’s quite similar to having an afternoon tea in London. Although “High Tea” is $30.00 per person, the views from this room is priceless.
Eatery: Outside of having an afternoon tea, The Prince of Wales Hotel also serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They have 2 restaurants: The Royal Stewart Dining Room and the Windsor Lounge. They both serve similar foods, except that the lounge is a little more laid back and the Royal Stewart Room is a little more formal. Both have great views of the lake, but the Windsor Lounge is a first come first served basis. So if you want to ensure a seat, make reservations at the Royal Stewart Room. Because both restaurants are located in the Prince of Wales Hotel, both get pretty packed, and wait time can get up to 1 hour. I personally would eat lunch at the Royal Stewart Dining Room just for the experience. For dinner, I would head to Bayshore Lakeside Chophouse instead. The Chophouse is located in Waterton Town, right on Waterton Ave. With great views of the lake, and a great ambiance. I suggest ordering their Caesar salad and any cut of their steak with either the Peppercorn sauce or the Chimichurri sauce. The food and service was excellent, and we really enjoyed our dinner here and highly recommend this restaurant over eating at the Prince of Wales.
Suggested Itinerary and Points of Interest:
Town of Waterton: If you’re visiting the town of Waterton, than you should make a quick stop at Cameron Falls. This impressive falls is very unique. The rock-face is slated diagonal, causing the falls to pour down diagonally. I would only spend about 15 minutes here, and make your way towards Bear’s Hump. The Bear’s Hump trail head starts at the Waterton Visitor Center. Two words to describe this hike would be: short but steep. This hike is less than a mile up, but it is a steady uphill climb the entire way. It took us only about 35 minutes to get to the top, and the views from up there were unreal. We headed up there early, at 6am and were the only ones up there for over an hour. This hike is highly recommended. If you do not have a full day in Waterton, I suggest making the Bear’s Hump your top priority.
Blakison Falls: Driving to the end of Red Rock Parkway will take you to the Red Rock Loop. On a warm summer day, take a walk around the Red Rock Canyon Loop. Afterwards, take a dip in the waters that run through the Red Rock Canyon. After your dip, take the Blakison Valley trail to get to the Blakison Falls. If you’re feeling up to it, hike the entire Blakison Valley loop at 12.5 miles.
Boat Tour: Taking a boat tour down Waterton Lake is a must. If you head to the Waterton Marina, you’ll see the ticket booth for the daily boat tours, where you can purchase your ticket. The boat tour we took was the sunset cruise. The tour was informational and takes you from the Canadian borders across to the US borders. Along the way, you will see the continental divide. The continental divide is literally a man-made line that separates the American border with the Canadian border. Taking the boat tour will allow you to visit different parts of the park, that is otherwise not accessible unless hiking 19 miles.