42 Best Sights in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta

Crypt Lake Trail

Fodor's choice

Awe-inspiring and strenuous, this 17.2-km (11-mile) round-trip trail is one of the most stunning hikes in the Canadian Rockies. Conquering the trail involves taking a boat taxi across Waterton Lake, climbing 700 meters (2,300 feet), crawling through a tunnel nearly 30 meters (100 feet) long, and scrambling across a sheer rock face. The reward, and well worth it: views of a 183-meter (600-foot) cascading waterfall and the turquoise waters of Crypt Lake. This hike was completely untouched by the wildfires of recent years. Difficult.

Frank Slide Interpretive Centre

Fodor's choice

Overlooking the devastation of one of Canada's deadliest rock slides, the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre tells the tale of the night Turtle Mountain crumbled and 110-million metric tons of limestone crushed the town below. You can wander through interpretive displays and listen to the stories of survivors. Outside the museum is an overlook and an interpretive hiking trail that winds through the rubble.

Remington Carriage Museum

Fodor's choice

This unique museum houses the largest collection of horse-drawn vehicles in North America with over 330 carriages, buggies, wagons and sleighs. The nucleus of the collection, some 48 carriages, was donated by Don Remington, a local Cardston resident who restored and collected horse-drawn vehicles. Carriage rides are offered during the summer months for an extra charge.

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Akamina Parkway

Take this winding, 16-km (10-mile) road up to Cameron Lake, but drive slowly and watch for wildlife: it's common to see bears along the way. At the lake you will find a relatively flat, paved, 1.6-km (1-mile) trail that hugs the western shore and makes a nice walk. Bring your binoculars. Grizzly bears are often spotted on the lower slopes of the mountains at the far end of the lake.

Cameron Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park, AB, Canada

Alberta Provincial Police Barracks

This unique museum is housed in the original Alberta Provincial Police (APP) barracks building. The APP was created during prohibition (1916-1924) to deal with "rumrunners" who were illegally importing alcohol from the United States and British Columbia. The museum tells the story of this police force, a murder, and the trial of the only woman who was ever executed in Alberta.


On the southwest end of Lake McDonald, this tiny village has a few stores, an ice-cream shop, motels, ranger buildings, a campground, and a historic schoolhouse. A store called the Montana House is open year-round, but except for the weekend-only visitor center, no other services remain open from November to mid-May. Across the street from the visitor center, Apgar Discovery Cabin is filled with animal posters, kids' activities, and maps.

Apgar Visitor Center

This is a great first stop if you're entering the park from the west. Here you can get all kinds of information, including maps, permits, books, and the Junior Ranger newspaper, and you can check out displays that will help you plan your tour of the park. There is a variety of ranger-led programs including free snowshoe walks in winter. Snowshoes can be rented for $2 at the visitor center.

Avalanche Lake Trail

From Avalanche Creek Campground, take this 3-mile trail leading to mountain-ringed Avalanche Lake. The walk is only moderately difficult (it ascends 730 feet), making this one of the park's most accessible backcountry lakes. Crowds fill the parking area and trail during July and August and on sunny weekends in May and June. Moderate.

Avalanche Creek Campground, Glacier National Park, MT, USA

Bear's Hump Trail

This steep, 2.8-km (1.4-mile) trail climbs to an overlook with a great view of Upper Waterton Lake and the townsite. Moderate.

Bear's hump trailhead, Waterton Lakes National Park, AB, Canada

Bellevue Underground Mine

Don a miner’s helmet and lamp and go 1,000 feet into a mine on a guided tour with heritage interpreters. Discover the mine's inner workings and feel like you've stepped back in time.  All tours must be pre-booked online in advance.

Bertha Lake Trail

This 11.4-km (7.1-mile) round-trip trail leads from Waterton Townsite through a Douglas fir forest to a beautiful overlook of Upper Waterton Lake, and on to Lower Bertha Falls. From there, a steeper climb takes you past Upper Bertha Falls to Bertha Lake. In June, the wildflowers along the trail are stunning. Moderate.

Bertha Lake Trailhead, Waterton Lakes National Park, AB, Canada

Blakiston Falls

A 2-km (1.2-mile) round-trip hike will take you from Red Rock Canyon to Blakiston Falls. Several viewpoints overlook the falls. Easy

Blakiston Falls Trailhead, Waterton Lakes National Park, AB, Canada

Cameron Bay

There are several picnic shelters along Upper Waterton Lake in the Cameron Bay area. These lakefront sites are equipped with tables, water taps, and wood-burning stoves.

Cameron Lake

The jewel of Waterton, Cameron Lake sits in a land of glacially carved cirques (steep-walled basins). In summer, hundreds of varieties of alpine wildflowers fill the area, including 22 kinds of wild orchids. Canoes, rowboats, kayaks, and fishing gear can be rented here.

Akamina Pkwy., Waterton Lakes National Park, AB, Canada

Cameron Lake Shore Trail

Relatively flat and paved, this 1.6-km (1-mile) one-way trail offers a peaceful hike. Look for wildflowers along the shoreline and grizzlies on the lower slopes of the mountains at the far end of the lake. Easy.

Cameron Lake Shoreline Trailhead, Waterton Lakes National Park, AB, Canada


Just 45 km (28 miles) east of Waterton, Cardston is home to the Alberta Temple, built by the Mormon pioneers who established the town. The Remington Carriage Museum contains North America's largest collection of horse-drawn vehicles. The Carriage House Theatre (www.carriagehousetheatre.com) presents entertaining live theatrical performances on most summer evenings.

Cardston Alberta Temple

This Designated National Historic Site of Canada was constructed from 1913--1923 by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was the eighth temple constructed by the church. The monumental granite structure is built on a hill with large landscaped grounds and views of Chief Mountain in the distance. It was designed by American architects, Hyrum Pope and Harold Burton, in the Prairie School style of Frank Lloyd Wright. The building’s interlocking geometric shapes form a pyramidal shape, evocative of Pre-Columbian architecture. Only members of the church are allowed inside the temple, but there is a visitor's center that can be explored and anyone is welcome to walk around the grounds.

Carriage House Theatre

This 300-seat air-conditioned theater has been hosting live theater performances since 1989. Productions run regularly throughout July and August with a variety of family-friendly shows on offer. There are also some winter community theater productions.    

Crandell Lake Trail

This 2½-km (1½-mile) trail winds through fragrant pine forest, ending at a popular mountain lake. Easy.

Crandell Lake Trailhead, Waterton Lakes National Park, AB, Canada

First Oil Well in Western Canada

Alberta is known worldwide for its oil and gas production, and the first oil well in western Canada was established in 1902 in what is now the park. Stop at this National Historic Site to explore the wellheads, drilling equipment, and remains of the Oil City boomtown.

Waterton Lakes National Park, AB, Canada
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Goat Haunt Ranger Station

Reached only by foot trail, private boat, or tour boat from Waterton Townsite, this spot on the U.S. end of Waterton Lake is the stomping ground for mountain goats, moose, grizzlies, and black bears. It's also the official border crossing for the U.S. side of Waterton Lake. In recent years, the crossing has not been staffed by U.S. Customs personnel, and, consequently, tour boats do not allow passengers to disembark at Goat Haunt as they once did. If you want to explore the trails on this end of the lake, you will need to hike or paddle in on your own. Check-in before arrival by using the CBP ROAM app. Visitors to this area must carry their passports and proof of ROAM trip approval. The hikes on the U.S. side of the lake were unaffected by the wildfires of recent years.

Hillcrest Mine and Cemetery

The worst coal mining disaster in Canada happened on June 19, 1914 in the community of Hillcrest. A pocket of methane gas ignited and set off a coal dust explosion that killed 189 miners. Most of the victims were buried in a mass grave and a memorial was later erected in the cemetery. There are interpretive signs and you can go on a self-guided tour of the cemetery.

Jackson Glacier Overlook

On the eastern side of the Continental Divide, you come into view of Jackson Glacier looming in a rocky pass across the upper St. Mary River valley. If it isn't covered with snow, you'll see sharp peaks of ice. The glacier is shrinking and may disappear in another 100 years.

Jackson Glacier Overlook, Glacier National Park, MT, USA

Lake McDonald

This beautiful, 10-mile-long lake, the parks' largest, is accessible year-round from Going-to-the-Sun Road. Cruise to the middle for a view of the surrounding glacier-clad mountains. You can fish and horseback ride at either end, and in winter, snowshoe and cross-country ski.

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Leitch Collieries Provincial Historic Site

Interpretive panels, walking paths, and listening posts provide insight into the demise of the only fully Canadian-owned and operated coal mine in this region of Alberta. From mid-June to Labor Day, interpretive staff at this site lead tours through the ruins of the coal processing plant and the coke ovens. The sight is self-guided in the fall and winter and toilets are closed. 

Logan Pass

At 6,646 feet, this is the park's highest point accessible by motor vehicle. Crowded in July and August, it offers unparalleled views of both sides of the Continental Divide. Mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and grizzly bears frequent the area. The Logan Pass Visitor Center is just east of the pass.

Logan Pass Visitor Center

Built of stone, this center stands sturdy against the severe weather that forces it to close in winter. When it's open, rangers give 10-minute talks on the alpine environment and offer a variety of activities including guided hikes. You can get advice from them and buy books and maps.

Going-to-the-Sun Rd., Glacier National Park, MT, USA

Lundbreck Falls

These 12-meter (39-foot) falls on the Crowsnest River are stunning in every season. You can watch them from the observation platforms above the falls or walk down into the limestone gorge to see them up close.

Paahtómahksikimi Cultural Centre

The Blackfoot consider the area around the Waterton Lakes to be sacred. Paahtómahksikimi is the Blackfoot name for Waterton Lake. It means "inner sacred lake." The Paahtómahksikimi Cultural Centre helps visitors connect with the Spirit of Waterton and learn about Blackfoot culture. You can participate in various activities and programs and purchase authentic handcrafted artisan products in the on-site craft store.

Prince of Wales Hotel

Named for the prince who later became King Edward VIII, this hotel was constructed between 1926 and 1927 and was designated a National Historic Site in 1995. Take in the magnificent view from the ridge outside the hotel, or pop inside to enjoy the vista from the comfort of the expansive lobby, where afternoon tea is served.