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Waterton Lakes

Columbia, South...
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Waterton Lakes

I am spending a week in GNP in August, and will be staying in

St. Mary's most of the week and definitely want to go to Waterton.

I'm interested in short (under 5 mile) hikes and possibly the lake

cruise. Should I plan 1 or 2 days there, realizing, whatever time I take there will subtract from my time in GNP? Any suggested itinerary? Also, do rental car companies in Kalispell generally allow entrance into Canada?

Charlotte, North...
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1. Re: Waterton Lakes

First off, I don't think there would be any difficulty taking a rental car from the U.S. into Canada. Does anyone else know? I would really doubt there would be an issue.

I believe you could probably do Waterton in 1 day, but you might want to drive from St. Mary to Waterton the first day, spend the night in Waterton, and then leave Waterton in the late morning to go to Glacier for the afternoon.

For some short hikes, Blakiston Falls and the loop around Red Rock Canyon (both off of Red Rock Canyon Byway) are excellent choices. Blakiston is about 1.5 miles roundtrip, and the loop around Red Rock Canyon is a little less than 1/2 mile total. Lower Bertha Falls would be a good hike at about 3.5 miles roundtrip. Also near Waterton Townsite is the popular hike up the Bears Hump, which is 1.7 miles total. If you take the boat cruise to Goat Haunt you can take a 5.5 mile roundtrip hike to Kootenai Lakes and back.

I think you could do the cruise and hike to Kootenai Lakes, the hike up Bears Hump or to Bertha Falls, and drive to Cameron Lake all on the first day. On the second day before going back to Glacier you could drive the Red Rock Parkway and do the loop trail and Blakiston Falls. This is just what I think could work, I'm sure others will add their opinions. Hope this helps!


Winston Salem...
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2. Re: Waterton Lakes

I've never had a problem driving a rental car into Canada from Montana. You actually get more questions coming back from Canada into the US. Last time I went was 2005, and since then I do believe it's a good idea to carry a passport as well as your drivers' license. And Sean, you'd know this if you could be pursuaded to go to Banff!

Charlotte, North...
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3. Re: Waterton Lakes

Hey Cathy: When we did Glacier last summer we did go to Waterton NP for a day, so we actually did go to Canada. We didn't need a passport back then, though, as birth certificates were enough at the time. We drove out to Montana, though, so I really didn't know if there could be any problems with rental cars since the only time we've actually rented a car was this year in Nevada, California, Utah, and Arizona and didn't have any border crossings. I'm sure we'll get to Canada before too long, though. I'd say the next four prospective trips would include Glacier, Oregon/Washington, Colorado, and the Canadian Rockies. I'm pretty sure we'll get there within the next 5 years. I know I'd love it there too. I have David Muench's photography book called "The Rockies" which has some awesome photos all throughout the American and Canadian Rockies. His son has a photo on top of a mountain about Morraine Lake---boy, that's about the most beautiful picture I've ever seen! I will get to Banff one of these days though. It's just I won't do it along with Glacier unless I've got at least two weeks. I'd rather do Glacier separate from Canada and spend some time just in the Canadian Rockies one year.

Calgary, Canada
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for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
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4. Re: Waterton Lakes


Moraine Lake is even more beautiful in real life. It is probably the most photographed lake in the Rockies. And there are many more that have that same turquoise colour. It has to do with sediment in the glacial melt water that reflects the light back up through the water, making the lakes take on this incredible blue-green colour. Very breathtaking, especially the first time. You've got to get there, I guarantee you'll leave wanting to come back again. (and again, and again... lol)


As far as the rental car goes, as long as you let the rental company know when you pick up the car that you will be going to Canada and returning to US, there won't be any problems. It's when you want to pick up in US and drop off in Canada that you run into huge problems; it's virtually impossible to do.

The Waterton Shoreline Cruise takes about 2 hours round trip. That and the Kootenai trail would fill your morning and afternoon. Cameron Lake would be an hour and a half to two hour trip, depending on how much you want to stop and see along the way. All of that, in my opinion, would make for a long day. I think I would be tempted to save Bear Hump for another day. While the hike is short, it is very steep and will take the better part of an hour to do.

My advice would be to head to Waterton midday, spend 2 nights there, which would give you 1/2 day on the first day, a full day on the second day, and 1/2 day or more on the third day. I think you could fit in a lot of the park at a more leisurely rate with a schedule like that.

I'd be happy to help with more specific information, if you need it. Feel free to ask!

Oh! And the current Canadian requirement for land border crossings (for US citizens) is a birth certificate and one piece of picture id. It is the US customs and immigration that have stiffened id requirements for getting back into the US. I know most travel agents are now recommending a passport, even for ground travel into the US.

I hope that helps.

- CG

5. Re: Waterton Lakes

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