July 15, 2014

Enamored with Waterton Lakes National Park

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 Posted by Mary , , , 4 comments

There has been one thing that's influencing my travel decisions for the past few years: the item on my bucket list that requires me to visit 50 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This interest started around 10 years ago when I was an exchange student in Japan. We'd visited a number of these sites then, and I was intrigued by their how special they were. Thankfully, my husband fully supports me in this quest, and because of it, I have discovered a new favorite--Waterton Lakes National Park.

Waterton is a Canadian national park in the southwest corner of Alberta, just a few kilometers from the US border. In fact, along with Glacier National Park in Montana, USA it forms the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site designated in 1995 because of its distinctive climate, physiographic setting, mountain-prairie interface, and tri-ocean hydrographical divide. It is an area of significant scenic values with abundant and diverse flora and fauna.

Waterton is quite a long drive from Red Deer. Four and a half hours, to be exact, so we spent the night at Pincher Creek before going to Waterton. It is its closest city, just around 40 minutes from the park. In hindsight, that might have been a bad decision. We should have just driven directly to Waterton and spent the night there. It would have given us more time to enjoy the place. Still, the day that we spent at the park was nothing short of amazing.

There are many breathtaking parks in Alberta, but Waterton is special because its centerpiece, the magnificent Upper Waterton Lake is right there--right by Waterton village. You don't have to drive away from the town to enjoy its splendour. And because of the park's distance to the big cities, it is also not as busy as the other parks in the province. You can enjoy the area in relative peace.

Another highlight of the park is the Prince of Wales Hotel. It was constructed between 1926 and 1927, and named after the Prince of Wales who later became King Edward VII. It is a massive Swiss-chalet style building, oozing with charm and character. The best part: it has a parlour with an amazing view of the lake.

We were also able to visit Red Rock Canyon while at Waterton. A 16-km drive from the town, it is a must-see because of it's gorgeous red and green bedrock layers. If you like hiking, or wildlife, this is the place to be. We didn't see any bears that time, but there are many of them around this area.

We capped our tour of Waterton with a meal at the posh Bayshore Lakeside Chophouse. It was wonderful to be able to dine and relax right beside the lake. I had Braised Short Ribs. It was tender, succulent, and perfect.

It is not very often that I want to go back to a place I've only very recently visited. But I do wanna go back to Waterton. It is truly breathtaking. I could probably live there forever. For a self-described city girl like me, that's saying something.


  1. Thanks for the post Mary! It's so nice. Hope to see it one day. And i wish we could do adventures together! :)

    1. Thanks chawie~ yes hoping we can travel together!!!

  2. I have heard about Waterton Lakes National Park by my uncle and he used to visit this stunning park during his canadian tours. He told me that hiking through Red Rock Canyon is amazing. Now this blog post proves very informative and helpful for me to grow my knowledge about this beautiful park and it is great motivation for me to visit this park because according to the provided information here Waterton Lakes Park sounds quite interesting place to enjoy a great outdoors with family or friends. After visiting this great piece of sharing I with to spend a lovely weekend at this beautiful park in the coming months with my family and I would like to explore it all exciting and fun things to do there.