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Waterton Lake & Canmore

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Southern California
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Waterton Lake & Canmore

We will be traveling by car from Las Vegas to Canmore on April 7 -15 to see Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, etc. We're thinking of visiting Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes on our way there. We only have a whole day to spend at this two parks... I know that the Going to the Sun Road is closed during this time. We were in Glacier Park last year and would like to revisit some of the sights on our way to Waterton Lake. What is open or what type of activity is available during this time? Are there any other road closure that we need to avoid?

Appreciate any help...

Canmore, Alberta
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1. Re: Waterton Lake & Canmore

I could only find one post on the entire Waterton forum talking about April. We live in Canmore, but have only gone to Waterton during summer months.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g184841-i1389-k854…

I know the town virtually shuts down in winter, I don't think much will be open by mid April. Waterton is very much a summer destination. Hiking would be very limited as it is in the rest of the Rocky Mountains at that time.

Here is a link to a page from a Waterton site www.watertonpark.com/information/index.htm It lists a summer and a year round route for accessing Waterton from Glacier National Park.

It says the The Red Rock Parkway and the Chief Mountain Highway are closed to vehicles during winter months. I don't know if they consider April a winter month or not? Perhaps you may want to contact Parks Canada directly to get specific information. http://www.pc.gc.ca/agen/courriel-email.aspx

Cheers

Calgary, Canada
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for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
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2. Re: Waterton Lake & Canmore

The previous poster is correct, most of Waterton, with the exception of a few hotels, will likely still be shut down in April. May is more of the start of "summer" season in the mountain parks. The two roads mentioned may or may not be open yet at higher elevations, it just depends on snow fall for the season.

Just as an aside, you do realize that the Banff, LL and Jasper areas will still be in winter season too, I hope? The ski hills will still be in full swing at the time of year you are planning to visit, and lakes will still be frozen and higher elevation roads and hiking trails will be closed. I thought I should mention that, in the event that you didn't already know...

Victoria
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3. Re: Waterton Lake & Canmore

Chief Mountain border crossing is closed until May 15th.

Not sure which way you plan to go north from Waterton to Canmore/Banff, but if you plan to go north on Hwy 22, note that the scenic route Hwy 40 through Kananaskis is also closed to traffic until June, so you will have to go around through Bragg Creek, or through Calgary.

Southern California
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4. Re: Waterton Lake & Canmore

Thanks everyone for your quick response! I guess I didn't realize that it will still be winter during April in the Canadian Rockies. It's too late now to cancel my reservation at Canmore. We'll just have to stay in Banff and the sorrounding areas and visit Waterton Lake another time.

Southern California
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5. Re: Waterton Lake & Canmore

Camping_Girl,

Thanks for the warning... I'm crossing my fingers that the major roads to Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper are open just to do some sightseeing. We're not planning on hiking and we don't ski either. I guess I don't have a lot of choices. Any suggestions?

Calgary, Canada
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for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
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6. Re: Waterton Lake & Canmore

For starters, if you only have a week to drive to and from Vegas, I'd recommend leaving Jasper out of the equation too, unless you're really set on it. It's a full day's drive from Banff.

There are still plenty of things to see and do in and around Banff and Lake Louise at any time of year, so don't fret. I am on my lunch break at the moment, but I will post more info this evening, if someone else doesn't step in and offer some suggestions before that.

Canmore, Alberta
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7. Re: Waterton Lake & Canmore

You could take either the gondola ride in Lake Louise or Banff.

Depending on the weather conditions there may still be ice skating on Lake Louise, you can rent skates there and possibly take a horse drawn sleigh ride down the side of the Lake, again depends on conditions, there has to be enough snow still for the sleigh to ride on.

Skiing going on the Lake Louise ski hill and Sunshine ski hill near Banff.

A hike through Johnston Canyon, may require ice grips for the bottom of your shoes depending on conditions. Or you can book a through a tour company that will provide them for you.

The road where you access Johnston Canyon is called the Bow Valley Parkway or hwy 1A, it runs parallel to the main hwy #1 (Trans Canada hwy) There are opportunities to spot wildlife since it is not fenced like hwy 1. Take it as an alternative route in between Banff and Lake Louise.

You can go have a soak in the Banff Hotsprings pc.gc.ca/regional/…banff_e.asp

Down below the Banff Springs Hotel you can view Bow Falls, and then drive across to the other side of the river to Surprise corner. It gives a beautiful view overlooking the river and to the Banff Springs Hotel.

Hit up the tourist office on Banff Avenue (the main street in Banff) or the one in the Samson Mall in the village of Lake Louise. They can give you ideas of what trails are accessible in the areas for walks and other activity ideas.

Here is the Banff/Lake Louise Tourism site to give you more info: http://www.banfflakelouise.com/

Cheers

Southern California
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8. Re: Waterton Lake & Canmore

You guys are great !!! Thank you so much for the invaluable info...

Banff, Canada
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for Banff, Lake Louise
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9. Re: Waterton Lake & Canmore

While Waterton and Glacier are pretty much shut down for the season, Banff is more of a year-round destination. The Banff Gondola and the Banff Upper Hot Springs are open year-round - as is the town of Banff. Enjoy a couple of hours up on the Gondola on a clear day for incredible views and photo opportunities.

While in Banff and Lake Louise, you might be able to try out some winter activities - it's still possible to snowshoe and cross country ski, just stop by the information centre for some trail recommendations. The car will offer you lots of flexibility for sightseeing, but always check the road conditions report if you're not used to winter driving. Your front desk staff should be able to help you out. You're going to be doing a fair amount of "sightseeing by car" so it could be fun to rent a GyPSy Guide for a day or 2. The GyPSy is a GPS activated tour, which gives you an interesting and entertaining commentary as you drive along. It could be fun to rent a unit, for one of the days that you are driving and sightseeing. www.gypsyguide.com

Southern California
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10. Re: Waterton Lake & Canmore

I think there is enough to see and do during our 4 days in Banff.

Thanks to all for your input! Definitely will be doing the Gondola and Upper Hot Springs in Banff and also visit Lake Louise. We'll decide on Jasper when we get there...