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“Crypt Lake Hike” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Crypt Lake Trail

Crypt Lake Trail
Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada
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Activities: Hiking, Viewing wildlife
Attraction details
Corona, California
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Crypt Lake Hike”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014

Awesome Hike! Three kids (14, 13 and 11) did it with no problem, they are avid hikers. We took the early boat like other reviews suggested and that gave us the extra time to enjoy the lake. Great waterfalls and hiked across some small snowfields. We made sure we had the 11 y/o in front of an adult for the part with the cable. Check out "Worlds Best Hikes: Thrilling Trails" on National Geographic website.

Visited July 2014
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104 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Edmonton, Canada
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Worthwhile hike!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014

The ferry ($21 roundtrip) drops you off and off you go. Depending on the size of your group, you'll quickly get annoyed with the single-file jammed up pace, so turn right at the first fork in the trail to go to Hell Roaring Falls and escape that. It's a 1km sidetrip that will link you back up to the group, but they'll be a little bit ahead. You'll likely reach a bottleneck at the tunnel (not a crawl, more a hunched walk) and then again at the cable. Be patient. The etiquette of yielding to people coming uphill isn't really followed here.

We took the 10AM ferry. It took us four hours to get to Crypt Lake and we burned down the trail, getting back in under two hours. Keep in mind if you do that, you might end up having to wait for the 5:30PM ferry as people with 4:00PM tickets get priority.

Overall, the hike is a steady incline, you gain quite a lot in elevation but it's not overly challenging. Great views, very rewarding hike.

Visited July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Most famous Waterton hike, for good reason”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014

I have hiked this trail 3 times over the last 10 years. It's not for the faint of heart, or the unfit, or anyone under 12. The hike is up and down hill both ways, and there's the tunnel, ledge, and ladder that have been mentioned.

That said, its THE hike to do in the park. Take the early boat over for sure. That gives you better timing on the more exposed areas so that you are not climbing in the hot sun. Make sure you leave the lake by one pm. Wear the right footwear, and take a first aid kit. Take at least 2 liters of water.

If you are not sure you can do this, or you want some similar length hikes that are not as tough, here's some options. Carthew Summit can be reached from Cameron Lake parking lot. You can hike to the Summit and back. it's spectacular, and there's a bailout option of summit lake which is only 8 km round trip or the option to hike right to the townsite. My favourite is Lineham Ridge, which is reached from Rowe Meadow on the Tamarack trail. Access to the trailhead is on the Akamina parkway. Again, there are some good bailout options at the Lower Lake or the Meadow.

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
“Challenging but worth it”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

I am an average hiker... Like the going up, do not enjoy the coming down when it is steep... My boyfriend took me to Crypt Lake and I did it... Need to say that it was challenging... walking along the cliff holding a cable... I was scared but so happy I did it... It is a great hike.... Scenery is breathtaking. Just be aware that you have to take a boat to get to the beginning of the trail and that it is not cheap, $21 per person...

Visited July 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brandon, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Challenging but rewarding climb”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2014

We hiked Crypt Lake in early July. The boat ride over was fine, although I'd suggest taking the later boat. We took the 9:00 trip, which was nearly full. As a result, the first 5 km were basically a group hike, with a long train of people climbing in a row. Not exactly what I had in mind, but as you go higher, fitness and picture breaks separate the group fairly well.

The climb was moderately challenging, with numerous switchbacks to make the ascent a bit easier. You're exposed for much of the trail, so water is highly recommended, particularly on hot days. The ladder, tunnel, and cable were definite highlights, and the views at Crypt Lake were beautiful.

The guide on the boat had recommended doing the side trip to the falls on the way down. While I wasn't blown away by the falls, if you do want to see them, the way down is the time. The trail was challenging enough on the way down; I wouldn't have wanted to do it going up, knowing I had the majority of the ascent still to come.

Visited July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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