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Driving from Waterton Lakes Park to Lake Louise

Driving from Waterton Lakes Park to Lake Louise

Jan 28th, 2002, 09:36 AM
  #1  
karen
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Driving from Waterton Lakes Park to Lake Louise

Can someone estimate the time it will take to drive this route - and what to expect? I see lots of descriptions of the Banff area to Vancouver route but haven't come across this. THANKS IN ADVANCE!
 
Jan 28th, 2002, 05:24 PM
  #2  
dnorrie
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You can drive from Waterton straight to Hwy 2 and then a short drive on Hwy 2 to Hwy 22. From Waterton to Hwy 2 is about an hour. The trip to 22 is not more than 20 minutes. Then turn onto Hwy 22 and travel toward Calgary. Sorry, I don't know the Hwy # from Calgary to Banff. Never paid much attention as I just know the way!

Hwy 22 takes (if you don't want to stop and look around) about an hour to 1 1/2 hours. Depending on traffic. On weekends the traffic is heavy as many people from Calgary use this route to get to their acreages in the Crowsnest Pass for the weekend. It is a narrow road but quite lovely scenery. Different from just about anything you will see elsewhere. Beautiful ranchland with the Rockies on one side and the Hills on the other. Once you reach the main road from Calgary to Banff, it will take you about another hour. So, if you boogy, probably about four hours, but the scenery is so lovely you may want to take it a bit slower. The roads, until you get to the main road from Calgary to Banff are mainly smaller, two lane highways and the road from Waterton to Hwy. 2 is quite winding but also lovely.

The Intersection from Hwy 22 to the road to Banff is one where there are many accidents. Do be careful. People are often in a hurry to get to their acreages or get away from the city and don't pay a lot of attention. Once you get past that small stretch, it is pretty safe.

If you are a member of CAA or AAA, try to get a good Alberta map. Take the route from Waterton towards Pincher Creek and Hwy. 2 as I said. The roads are well marked and easy to find.

If you wanted to take a less scenic route but still see some different things, you could head south on Hwy. 2 towards Fort Macleod and stop at Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, a world renowned interpretive centre. It is worth the visit. (You could also visit the Fort Museum in Fort Macleod and if it a summer weekend, the RCMP often have their musical ride on.) From there you would travel from Fort Macleod to Calgary on a four lane Highway. Once near Calgary, you would take Hwy 22X towards Banff.

Again, I must stress that 22X is the area where there are lots of accidents so do be careful if you drive that small stretch of road. It isn't a long way but the traffic is heavy and crazy.
 
Jan 30th, 2002, 05:09 PM
  #3  
Bob Brown
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The last time I drove from Waterton to Lake Louise I did NOT take the route dnorrie suggests because it is longer by over 100 K than the one I am going to suggest. It would delay your more than an hour to go that way.
Also, route 2 does NOT intersect route 522 like s/he says. Also, there is no reason to follow route 522 into Calgary. That just slows you down even more and makes the drive take even longer. Also the route from Calgary to Banff is THE Trans Canada Highway -- Canada 1, the main east west route in Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
(Well, almost, the Coquihalla Highway in BC supersedes part of it.)

Now for the route.

From Waterton, take Alberta route #6 north through Pincher Creek until you reach Alberta route #3. Turn west on route 3 in the direction of Crows Nest Pass and Lundbreck for a few miles. At the intersection of route 3 and Alberta route 22, turn north. Follow route #22 north until you reach the village of Longview.
Just north of Longview, close to a roadside campground, take route #541 west to the point that it becomes route #40 north. This route is the highest motor road in the province and leads past the entrance to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. This park is well worth an investigation because it, too, has some beautiful scenery. If you are game, continue north from Peter Lougheed on a well graded dirt road toward Canmore.
If you do not want to take the dirt road, retrace your steps to route 40 and follow it north until it intersects with the Trans Canada Highway, which is Canada 1.
When you reach the Trans Canada, turn west toward Canmore and then Banff.
From Banff it is a few more miles to Lake Louise along the Bow River.
If you want a scenic, less hectic drive, take the Bow Valley Parkway. It is slower, but more tranquil.

If you take the Bow Valley Parkway, you can exit at Castle Junction and get back on the Trans Canada and continue on a little faster to Lake Louise.

I have one caveat to the route Karen suggested.
It will take you through Cardston. In Cardston there is a fantastic collection of horse drawn carriages and wagons. I went through it once and was totally fascinated by all of the different styles, shapes and sizes. I thought it was truly marvelous.
It is one of those places that is worth a return trip.

You can pass through the highway gate at the entrance to Banff National Park.
But, if you are going to stop on park territory, you are required to have a park permit. Therefore if you are visiting the park, you are supposed to buy a permit. Through traffic does not usually stop at the gate. The permit that you acquire is good in all of the national parks in that part of Canada, including Kootney, Yoho, Jasper, and Banff. I think Glacier (not the US one) National Park is included also.

 
Jan 30th, 2002, 05:36 PM
  #4  
dnorrie
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I concede to Bob. I travel these highways so often that I forget their numbers and such but haven't travelled to Banff in quite a few years. So as a resident, I still must recommend that you use his suggestions. He is a tourist (not meaning to be demeaning but he looks for things that those of us who live here don't) and he always posts excellent advice. Thanks Bob.
 
Jan 30th, 2002, 08:40 PM
  #5  
Bob Brownn
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Lets just say that I love southern Alberta and have been there at least 7 times. It has more beautiful scenery and interesting places than just about anywhere in the western part of North America. Calgary is one of my favorite cities because the people there have proven themselves to be helpful when I needed help.
And the Rockies are stunning to say the least. The Icefields Parkway is perhaps the most beautiful highway drive that anyone will ever take. I have been up and down it several times and would go again in May if I am able.

As for other interesting places, Heritage Park in Calgary is special.
The Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller is in a class by itself; it is one of the foremost museums of paleontology in the world. Going there is a special treat because you can learn so much.

I can tell quite a few stories about my visits to Alberta that are pleasant memories, but one episode that was very funny took place in Mountain View near Waterton.

It was a rainy day and we were having our car serviced at the garage in Mountain View. The garage was also the post office and it served as a gathering point for the local farmers. One thing one must realize is that most Alberta farmers are well educated; many of them have college degrees, and some even have advanced degrees. As a result, they are an articulate, informed, and witty bunch.

While we were waiting on our car, several men came in to collect their mail and transact other business. Several were kidding about cutting wheat, which is a little difficult when it is pouring rain. Then the chef at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton came in, and the men started kidding him about some promotion that the hotel was putting on == Christmas in August and the chef had to dress up like Santa Claus. The chef branded the whole promotion as a $%^$$ stupid American idea. The postmistress spoke up and said, "Be careful what you say. Not every one here is Canadian." The chef look around defensively and said "Who isn't Canadian?" My wife, who is of Irish and Welch ancestry, spoke up in her best Alabama drawl and said "I'm not." The chef started apologizing. But my wife stopped him by saying "We just came from the hotel and we thought it was a stupid idea also. Why did the manager do it?" The chef had a few more sulphuric comments to make about the event and the intelligence of its creator. Everybody got a good laugh and then the men went back to ribbing the chef about being Santa Claus.
 

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