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Waterton Lakes National Park

We love Glacier National Park, but had never visited its Canadian side, known as Waterton Lakes National Park. We arrived at Waterton to find it had gotten snow too, just not as much as Banff and Jasper. Our first stop in the park was the Prince of Wales hotel. It resembles a massive Swiss chalet, built on a hill overlooking Upper Waterton Lake. Thick clouds added to the hilltop panorama.

Upper Waterton Lake

Upper Waterton Lake

Next we headed to the visitor center, where we asked a ranger about the best wildlife viewing spots. They said someone had spotted elk by Hay Barn Road that morning. We headed down that dirt road. The elk had moved on, but we did find this grouse munching on bright red berries.

Grouse

Grouse

Looking out into a grassy meadow, we spotted a coyote! Awesome! We watched until it trotted off.

Coyote

Coyote

We headed towards Red Rock Canyon next. On the way, we noticed a car with binoculars pointed up towards the hillside. We stopped and asked what they saw. A black bear! The bear ate constantly as it plodded along the snowy hillside. Mid-September in Waterton meant winter was closing in. The bear must have been filling its tummy before hibernating.

Black bear eating

Black bear eating

We were very excited to have seen so much wildlife in just a few hours. But Waterton had some other surprises in store. The loop trail along Red Rock Canyon is only 0.4 miles, yet quite stunning. The canyon featured layers of deep red rock against yellow autumn leaves and evergreens. The snow and clouds emphasized all that color even further.

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon

When the trail crossed a small bridge over the canyon, we peered down into the creek below.

Snow covered logs in Red Rock Canyon

Snow covered logs in Red Rock Canyon

After reluctantly leaving the canyon, we drove the Akamina Parkway. It’s a scenic road through the park with a number of places to stop and enjoy the landscape.

Akamina Parkway

View from Akamina Parkway

The parkway ends at Cameron Lake. We were too late in the season to rent a paddleboat or canoe, but we could still enjoy the lake’s quiet majesty.

Shutterbug at Cameron Lake

Shutterbug at Cameron Lake

We scanned the shores with our binoculars hoping to get even luckier and spot more wildlife. We did have one happy yellow bird that wanted her picture taken. Cheep Cheep continues to travel with us everywhere we go. Next time she’s going to pack a warmer hat!

Cheep Cheep at Cameron Lake

Cheep Cheep at Cameron Lake

On our way back down the curvy Akamina Parkway, surrounded by steep cliffs, we came across a bear walking down the road. It broke into a run when it saw us, and disappeared around a bend.

It was getting late so we had to move on, but Waterton had a parting gift. We spotted dozens of elk in a field as we were exiting the park.

Elk

Elk

Waterton and Glacier combine to make an incredible whole. When people ask us what our favorite park is, we always say Glacier. Now we can add the lesser-known gem of Waterton to our description. What a way to end our journey through the Rockies!

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. margaret #

    Yes, for some reason, whenever I think about a bucket list, the Canadian Rockies comes to mind. So, if you’d ever like a companion, keep me in mind. You could probably drop me off somewhere, and I would tend camp while you skipped and jumped and climbed vertical rock faces all day…. :-)

    June 25, 2015
  2. Mistah Wilson Photography #

    My backyard ;)

    June 25, 2015
  3. Wild Chat #

    Really enjoying your blog, your photos and experiences are amazing. Please keep it up :)

    June 25, 2015
  4. Jane Alexander #

    Wow! Just breathtaking.

    A small aside: I really like it that you do not refer to all animals of unknown gender as “he.” :)

    June 26, 2015
  5. Bill & Ellen #

    Ellen and I enjoyed beatiful elk herd outside Florence Oregon this week, the Bulls all in full velvet, and the cows paying them no mind until they want to mate in the fall. By the way we have coyotes all over Westchester county, and our communities are learning actively teaching us hoed to live with them. Their reintroduction years back was very successful…not so much for those small she she dogs left unattended…they make a great morning morsel!

    June 26, 2015
  6. My name is Samuel am from Nigeria,viewing the pictures in your blog makes me feel happy,maybe one day i’ll visit one of the places in the pictures. :)

    July 23, 2015

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