Waterton had been on my list of places to see for a while. Curtis had never been, and I had only been once in my childhood, with only vague memories of how beautiful it was.
Our brother-in-law spent much of his time growing up in Waterton, and was awesome enough to send us a list of things to check out and do. He also mentioned that there is a really neat difference between Waterton and Banff.
Waterton is where the plains meet the mountains.
Our drive across the plains of Southern Alberta was beautiful and green at this time of year, and as the mountains started coming into view I couldn't stop popping my head out of the window like a crazy person to grab pictures. It was so beautiful!!! Here I am looking quite windblown and way too excited about the incredible views:
The first night and day we spent in Waterton was incredibly windy, so windy that I couldn't trust my tripod to not blow over. My attempt at some night sky photography was a complete fail and we were dead tired after waiting up so late. Even with the tripod sheltered behind my car door, the wind was still shaking it like crazy.
Travel Tip: Bring a windbreaker.
Especially if you're planning on checking out the incredible view from the hill where the Prince of Wales hotel perches. And then lean into the wind, because it will most likely hold you.
We spent the first day sleeping in because there were no kids to wake us up, so of course we had to! Then we checked out a bit of the Waterton townsite, grabbing some lunch at the Weiners of Waterton (delicious!), and walking along the lake.
If you love checking out the cuisine when you travel somewhere, go to Waterton during their food festival, like we did. Most restaurants had a less expensive and more inclusive menu specifically for the food festival, which made it possible to try more places (as well as higher-end cuisine). So delicious!
After that we took off for a drive up Cameron Lake Road as far as we could, the lake was still closed at that point. The views on this road are spectacular, we highly recommend the drive.
We saw three bears on this road!!!
Travel Tip: Bears are fun to see from the safety of your vehicle. Don't get out to get a closer look.
There are lot's of neat little places along Cameron Lake Road to jump out of the car and check out the different look outs, and since Curtis is not the biggest of hiking fans, this was his favourite way to see such spectacular sights.
Red Rock Canyon is a Must See.
The entire drive to Red Rock Canyon is, again, beautiful. At Red Rock Canyon itself, there's a nice and easy trail up the top side of the canyon, from which you can look down into it. The colors are really cool.
There's also a part of the canyon that's closer to the parking lot, where you can climb down to the canyon floor, a favorite activity from the amount of people down there. The water is very chilly but it sure wakes you up on a hot day.
Blakiston Falls Hike
Also accessible from Red Rock Canyon is the Blakiston Falls trailhead. It's quite an easy hike, only 2 km and about an hour long (give or take). There's little elevation and the views are pretty spectacular, ending at Blakiston Falls. There are large platforms built out over the side of the canyon so that you can get a really good view of the falls. It's definitely easy enough to take the kids when we travel down there with them.
Waffleton was delicious.
It's where we had breakfast the next day and it was the perfect start to our exploration of the town of Waterton. The two of us love window shopping and wandering around together, so we spent a good chunk of the day doing just that, of course stopping for ice-cream at Big Scoop Ice-Cream Parlour. They aren't kidding, I got one scoop and it was massive! Also, the waffle cones are amazingly delicious, and I'm not typically a cone kind of person.
Cameron Falls is spectacular, and right in town!
It's incredible, and usually you have to hike way back into the bush to find this kind of waterfall. Cameron Falls is right at the side of the road in town, and it's breathtaking. I love waterfalls!
Bear's Hump is a short hike to get up high with an overview of Waterton Lakes.
A friend of mine (and now my husband) calls it a, "Death March," but I think it's worth it!
It's a 2.8 km roundtrip with 225m of elevation, which means it's basically all straight up (hence the "Death March"). For the little time it takes though, those views are definitely worth all of the uphill. Check out more about this hike (and what we saw on the way up!) here.
Waterton has certainly won us over. It's incredibly beautiful, and there is so much more to see, so many hikes to do, and our kids to show it all to.