Category Archives: Waterton Lakes National Park

Post wildfire recovery in Waterton Park

It is estimated that 30% of Waterton Lakes National Park was burned by the Kenow wildfire that swept through the park in mid-September. The scenes of charred forest and buildings left park fans, including hikers, wondering what the future holds. For many who spent their entire lives enjoying Waterton’s unique landscape and flora, there was despair at what transpired in less than 48 hours. There was a tremendous sense of loss (see Waterton […]

Waterton Park: After the Kenow Wildfire

  As autumn snow dusts the peaks down to the 2000-m level, Waterton Park has reopened, more or less, and is licking its wounds following the Kenow wildfire, the most devastating forest fire in the park’s history. The townsite is open for business and visitors are hiking the trails on the east side of the valley, including Crypt Lake, for a few more days. But it will take until next year […]

Wildfire evacuation alert in Waterton Park

    Update September 8, 2017—Parks Canada ordered a mandatory evacuation of all remaining visitors and residents from Waterton townsite this afternoon. The order was the result of a weather forecast predicting increasing westerly winds tonight and tomorrow with gusts as high as 70 km/h. These conditions increase the chance of the Kenow Fire jumping the Great Divide and moving into the park’s core. The town and corridor has been successfully evacuated and gated […]

High country snow lingers on park trails

An above average snowpack in the Mountain Parks will likely plague many high trails until late July this year. Trails above 2200m (7,200ft) on north and east facing slopes will be particularly vulnerable to lingering snow banks. While snowpack tracked close to normal through the first half of the winter, there was a big surge in accumulations at all recording stations in March and near-record peaks by the beginning of May. Warm weather […]

Akamina Parkway closure

Hikers bound for several of Waterton Lakes National Park’s most popular trails won’t have the luxury of driving to trailheads on the Akamina Parkway this summer. Parks Canada has closed the popular 16-kilometre roadway from Waterton Townsite to Cameron Lake while crews replace facilities at the Cameron Lake Day Use Area. The closure, which applies to pedestrians and cyclists as well as vehicles, is scheduled to last until November. In […]

Early season hiking

It’s been one of the earliest springs on record. But if you’ve ever wondered why we don’t recommend for our readers to hit the high country trails, all you have to do is check out this Parks Canada update from early May for Waterton’s popular Crypt Lake trail. While conditions have improved on the lower half of the Crypt Lake trail since this detailed report was filed, upper sections are […]

Golden larches gild the Rockies

Just like Halloween and Christmas, alpine larches (Larix lyallii) are providing an annual celebration in the Rockies’ high country. And despite rather grim weather last weekend, hundreds of larch enthusiasts hiked through mud and rain to pay homage to this unique tree that paints mountain ridges and passes gold every September. Larix lyallii is one of three species of larch in Canada that are deciduous conifers—unlike true conifers, needles turn gold […]

Waterton’s Red Rock closed

The Red Rock Parkway in Waterton Lakes National Park was closed early this season (Sept 8), which cuts off access to several popular hikes in the park’s northwest sector. The closure will facilitate major reconstruction of the roadway, the lower parking lot at Red Rock Canyon, and viewing platforms at Blakiston Falls. Access to the following trails will be affected. (All trail numbers referenced to the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide): 191—Tamarack Trail […]

Low snowpack south of Jasper

Normally during the first week of spring, I would be talking about another long winter coming to an end and looking towards the first hike of the season. This year is different, particularly in the southern half of the Canadian Rockies. A month ago I was hiking up a small mountain in the Sanford Range above the Columbia Valley on a snowfree, unfrozen trail. And little has changed since then. Automatic snow pillow […]

Balmy days and dry trails in the Mountain Parks

  Back in the early days, people had a choice for cooling off during the heat of summer—go to a movie theatre (the first air-conditioned venues) or travel to the mountains. Air conditioning may be universal today, but the alpine trails of the Canadian Rockies are still superior to the shopping mall. I can only remember a couple summers when we could scamper about at 2400m in shorts and t-shirts. But […]