Waterton Lakes NP, July 9, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 It was another perfect day in Paradise #2. With a clear, blue sky and temps in the upper 60’s and never any humidity, we were ready to start the day. 

We had to make a reservation for a boat/hike tour this week and for our stay in Vail later in the month. After that, we made our plans to visit Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada today. Waterton Lakes is the sister park to Glacier. We drove through Baab, MT and past Many Glacier campground to the highway that would take us to Waterton. We would drive the Chief Mountain Highway to Waterton Lakes NP, about 50 miles from St. Mary. The scenery was new and very interesting.

The road was also more desolate and wild. We were surprised as we came around a corner to see this young Grizzly bear crossing the road. It was beautiful with long, white fur and a brown head. He didn’t run or seem scared. We wondered if the mama bear was close behind. We waited awhile, but she didn’t appear.

Once across the road, he stopped to look at us. What a treat that was! We actually saw a GRIZZLY! Awesome!!

Little did we know that we had been traveling outside of the park because after awhile we came across the entrance sign to Glacier NP.

We were able to see this glacier on the mountain ahead of us.

It was about 30 miles to the Canadian border. We brought our passports from home in preparation for this visit to Waterton. As we waited in line, I noticed this marker designating the international border between the U.S. and Canada. 

Looking in the other direction, there was a definite line cut into the forest to mark the “border”. I wondered if they did that so they could see anyone that did.

We waited our turn to check through customs and immigration into Canada. After quite a few questions, we were welcomed in.

We entered into the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park. This park was first established in 1932 combining Waterton Lakes and Glacier National Park.

We were now in Alberta, the wild rose country. No wonder we’ve seen so many Alberta license plates.

Rugged peaks rose out of the prairie grasslands.

The Waterton River wound its way in and out of our view. It connects to all three Waterton Lakes.

It is called Waterton Lakes NP because Waterton Lake is divided into 3 parts…..upper, middle, and lower Waterton Lakes.

It was our goal today to find the Prince of Wales Hotel. It is one of the most frequently photographed lodges in the world. We turned onto the lodge road and spotted a family of goats who were on their way across the road.

Built in 1927 by the Great Northern Railway, the Prince of Wales Hotel boasts striking architecture which includes soaring roof lines, gables, and balconies. It looks like an alpine chalet. Take a peek on the inside.

Looking out the huge floor-to-ceiling windows facing the lake, the view was unbelievable!

Looking down at Waterton Village, we could see the small marina. The town is on the northshore of upper Waterton Lake.

We walked outside to get a closer view to the lake. It was everything that I pictured and had seen in other photographs.

We enjoyed walking around the grounds and found someone to take our picture. We don’t get an opportunity to get our picture together very often.

As we left the lodge, we made our way towards the village. It was quite a cute little alpine town. The view of the lodge from down at the marina was majestic.

On the road out of town, we spotted another bear. Ha, Ha!

We decided to take a hike through the Red Rock Canyon to view the Blakiston Falls. The hills were covered in beautiful purple, yellow, and pink wildflowers.

There were some amazing views of sharp mountain peaks pushing out from the hillsides. 

The Red Rock Parkway is 10 miles of narrow road and at times comes very close to the cliff’s edge.

We passed Sofa Mountain. See if you can figure out how it got its name.

We reached the end of Red Rock Canyon where there was a picnic area and to our surprise lots of people dipping their toes in the river.

Many had staked out their spots along the river with umbrellas and enjoyed the crystal clear, COLD water.

We crossed the river by bridge to start our 2.4 mile easy hike to Blakiston Falls.

We made a lot of noise and clapped our hands to scare away any bears that might have been lurking in the woods on our way to the falls. The river came down from above and hit the canyon walls.

Then it turned and cascaded down the next level to the river below. There were two viewing platforms there to get a firsthand look at the rushing water. It was a “wow” waterfall! This Canadian sign caught our attention. The pictures got the message across.

Our walk back was warm with the temperture reaching 90 degrees by now. I just had to dip my toes in the cool water of the river.

More people had joined the others in enjoying the water in the river. I made the easy climb down and took off my sandals.

The water was definitely cold and I couldn’t keep my feet in for very long, but it cooled me off after the dusty hike.

On the way back, we hoped to see some more wildlife…..and we did. We had a young buck cross the road in front of us. He crossed so quickly that I missed the picture. We could see he still had velvet on his antlers. This waterfall was born from the snow melting at the top of the mountain. It carved and dug its way through the rocks and the trees as it made its way down to the river.

As it neared the bottom, it cascaded down over the levels of rock to the bottom. Just beautiful!

I made a mental note to get a picture of these jagged peaks on the way back.

We reentered into the U.S. through customs and immigration on our side. They asked some of the same questions and welcomed us back home. That was so nice to hear!

The signs warned of “open range” and sure enough…..these cattle were just wandering around….on the road…no fences in view. We proceeded with caution.

We got back to the campground around 3:30 and just relaxed. We watched a little TV and chilled out before dinner. It clouded up, but there was no rain in the forecast. It’s amazing how fast it cools down after the sun disappears. The sun illuminated the clouds over the mountains as it was setting. We got a lot of sun today and I think it took a lot out of us. We were wiped out, but had a great time in Waterton Lakes National Park.

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