Waterton national park
Waterton national park
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Waterton National Park

Waterton national park is an interesting story because it's not so well known among most of the Rockies's visitors. The reason I planned to visit it was that I had a couple of free days but driving back and forth to Vancouver means a whole day to each direction so you already lose 2 days and it also makes the flight ticket much more expensive so this option was ruled out. Anyway, the park itself isn't a must when visiting the Rockies, but here's the story…

Waterton national park is about 3.5 hours south of Calgary, right on the border of Montana. The drive begins on a highway with many signs about "Air patrolled traffic control" so it's a good time to use "cruise control" and enjoy the music. But once the highway was done, you get to a beautiful narrow road, crossing the hilly country side. The entrance to the park was "free" since I bought the yearly pass !

When I thought about coming to this area I thought about crossing the border to the USA, where there's another national park, Glacier park, which is actually the continuation of Waterton just south of the border. But if crossing the border is going to take a lot of time, it's not worth it.

Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

Chief mountain, Montana
Chief Mountain

Around noon I reached the border control and… I was the only one!! I stop the car and the police woman asks me if I have any fruits and vegetables. I was ready to throw the carrots and bananas I had with me, but apparently they only cared about citrus stuff. So I crossed the border and had only a few hours because the border closes at 6 PM.


So, from the border you need to drive about an hour on a road which is in this "international" area, but it's very nice. Of course again, everything is with the spectacular foliage colors, the mountains are not as tall as up north besides one that stands out which is called "Chief Mountain" .

St Mary lake & The Road to the Sun

Actually all this Glacier park consists of one road that crosses it, "the Road to the sun" and since I was quite limited in time I gave up all hiking. Only driving through it takes ~2 hours (with stops) and that's more or less what I had. Like in the other parks I visited, the road is just amazing – with the lakes, mountains and U shaped valleys.

Not long after the park entrance you pass by St. Mary Lake – a large lake with a little island in it. Then the road continues when behind every turn you suddenly see something unexpected – deep valleys, walls with water dripping from it, etc. At the end of the road lies Lake McDonald which is THE lake. Unfortunately the sun didn't give me an easy time, but at least I managed to get one good photo.

So, from that point I turned around to get to the border on time (I had a hotel reservation in Waterton). On one hand I thought driving back would take less time cause I already stopped in all the places but on the other hand due to the fact you come from the other way, you see things differently and still want to stop and take some pictures.

Lake McDonald, Glacier NP
Lake McDonald

Waterton National Park

Anyway… my plan was good and I got to the border on time. So I drove another hour or so and reached Waterton town (just like Banff and Jasper are both parks and towns).

I checked in the hotel and went to have dinner, thinking what to do the next day. The book recommended some trail but a) it was kind of extreme with crawling and so and b) it was quite long, a few hours, which I didn't have, so I decided not to do it and instead take a boat ride in Waterton lake.

I woke up early the next day knowing that the boat leaves at 10 AM, which meant I could still make it to Cameron lake, a 20 minutes drive. I reached the lake and I was the only one! I started circling it until I saw a sign saying in other words "Don't mess with bears"  so that's where I stopped.

I got back to the car and as I was about to leave the parking lot I saw a small sign for another small lake, just 5 minutes away, so I checked it out. Several steps later I saw something strange in the woods… it was a big moose! That's one big animal! even though it's not a carnivore you don't want to mess with it…

I took a few pictures and continued towards the lake. The lake was nothing special and when I came back the moose was still there but now he had company – a female moose!

Cruising on Waterton lake

I drove fast to make it in time for the boat ride, bought a ticket and there I was, on the boat! It was a lovely day which was perfect for the ride.

We cruised in the lake and even crossed the Canada-US border which is marked on the banks with mini obelisks. Besides this fact there's nothing interesting about it but the guide did tell us about the geography of the region and so on. The boat ride is really worth it! It looks like you "sail" to the horizon and mountains keep coming at you…

I was done with the lake and now looked for something short to do. Why short? because in the evening I'm meeting a friend in Calgary and still have a few hours of driving ahead of me. I consulted with the boat guide and decided to take the trail to Bertha falls, which is about 1 hour.

An intimate meeting with a bear

I start the trail and obviously it provides great lookouts on the lake ! I tried to get as much as I can out of it because unfortunately this was my last day in the Rockies 🙁 . After 45 I reached the falls and how today it ? They weren't anything to write about…

I'm walking on the trail, sun is shining, when suddenly on the trail just a few steps from me a black bear! I froze. What now? I'm looking at him, he stares at me we're checking each other. Now, I know I shouldn't run cause then he'll chase me but I can't just pass next to him right?! (even though I wanted) so I just took some pictures… 🙂 .

First sighting

Just kidding, I started making noises to "let him know" I was there. At first he looked at me like "what the hell do you want from me?" but after a few more noises that came out of my mouth he started walking into the woods.

It was a great finale for Waterton park and for the Rockies in general! What a day I just had? Nice lake, moose, boat ride, and a cute black bear in front of me. What was amazing is that during my 10 days here I almost didn't see any wildlife and now 2 in a day!

I started going north enjoying the haystacks on the sides of the road and after that I got a to a road that was sooooo straight and perfect for cruise control. I met with my friend just to get a great closure for this trip!

יום החיות הבינלאומי
Waterton national park
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