I’ve profiled two epic hikes in previous posts. One described a hike that had, arguably, the best view of Yellowstone from the peak, and the other boasted the best view of the famous Maligne Lake in Jasper, Alberta.
This hike, I think, gives the most diverse and breath-taking views of Waterton National Park (and Glacier National Park, which borders Waterton to the south) from Cameron Lake all the way through to Cameron Falls, 18 km away.
Here are the details from the Waterton Park site:
Distance: 18.0 km / 11.1 mi (one-way, transportation needed to or from trailhead)
Time: 6 – 8 hours (plan a full day)
Elevation Gain: 650 m / 2132′
Carthew-Alderson is one of the most beautiful hikes in Waterton Lakes National Park. Enjoy some of the most breathtaking scenery the Canadian Rockies has to offer! This trail winds through the montane, sub-alpine, and alpine zones! From Carthew Summit look east over the peaks to the prairies, and south into Glacier National Park, Montana.
Highlights include a misty walk through one of Waterton Park’s oldest forests, and the pyramidal grandeur of Mt. Alderson. You can take the hike from Cameron Falls in the Townsite to Cameron Lake, or from Cameron Lake to the Falls.
So come 7:45 am on this one beautiful August morning, with coffee in hand (necessity!), we set out with a group of about 10 others in a mini bus from The Tamarak and headed to Cameron Lake to begin this adventure.
As per usual, we began our little competition of making sure we stayed in first place, ahead of the bus load of people that were dropped off with us. A few quick pictures were snapped of the two glacial lakes along the way (apologies – they are iphone photos!).
It seemed that everywhere we turned, an amazing, jaw-dropping scene awaited us. So for once, we decided to sacrifice a record time on the hike and take it slowly. We stopped to appreciate all of the various scenes in front of us.
One of my favorite spots on the hike was an optional side trail to the peak up Carthew Ridge. It had one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. You could see into Montana, and Glacier National Park. You could see all the glacial lakes dotting the landscape and mountain peaks rising from the ground, surrounding you in an awe-inspiring 360 degree view.
And with Simon off on one of his frantic searches for wildlife to photograph, I sat atop a rock and enjoyed a peaceful view of the rugged landscape.
Another favourite (it’s so hard to pick the best moment) was walking over a ridge of snow that emptied out into a lake. I could actually see the belly of the snowpack from the base of the lake. Ohhh what fun it would be to take my geography students to this area!
There were just so many unique, diverse and spectacular views awaiting me, I am counting down the seconds until I can try this hike again. I just have to make sure my legs are ready to carry me over all those peaks again.
Who’s ready to lace up those hiking boots?