Glacier National Park

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Visit the Canadian Side!

Mar 17, 2001
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Scenery:
  • Crowds:
  • Time needed for visit:

Pros:Scenery, Scenery, Scenery, did I say Scenery?

Cons:As with any National Park - other people!

The Bottom Line: Waterton-Glacier is a Gem! If you've got the time take the Carthew-Alderson Trail. This is an amazing park literally on the US-Canadian border.


1) Overview.

Look up Glacier National Park, Montana on a Map. Go straight north just across the US-Canadian Border and you will find the Waterton-Lakes side of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Many don't know this but Glacier National Park is also a part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. This International Peace Park Straddles the border between the US and Canada. Waterton-Lakes National Park represents the extension of the region over the border into Southern Alberta Canada. It is a UNESCO biosphere reserve. It is approximately a 1 hour drive from St. Mary Montana.

On the Waterton Lakes side you will find the Prince of Wales Hotel. It is a beautiful old Railway Hotel that was built as a part of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It over looks Upper Waterton Lake and the little town of Waterton.


2) Prince of Wales Hotel

The prince of Wales offers one of the most fantastic views on the US - Canadian Border. The Hotel is perched up on a hill the looks straight south along Upper Waterton Lake into the United States. The US Canadian border runs right through the middle of the lake.

Rooms in the hotel tend to be expensive, especially the lakeside views. If you are budget conscious, you would do better to stay at one of the smaller hotels down in the town of Waterton. The dining room food is OK at best, but the mid-afternoon tea is wonderful and the pastries are delicious. Tea time is popular so show up early and be prepared to wait.

3) Hiking

I spent the summer of '91 working as a cashier in the Hotel Dining room. I had the time of my life. I never watched TV at all and I spent most of my off time hiking in the mountains. There is one 15 km trail that follows the edge of Upper Waterton Lake that will lead you right across the border between the US and Canada. Hikers beware that you are required to register when you cross the border.

A trail called bears hump will give you the best view of the park and Upper Waterton Lake. It is a steep 2 km climb up a hill that will give you an excellent view of the park and the Canadian Prairies. Definitely bring a camera on this little hike.

A number of other trails will take you east or west into the mountains. I recommend the Carthew-Alderson Trail. The trail is well worn and basic hiking boots or lugged shoes would be fine. It will take you at least 8 hrs to get up and down the mountain, and it is not for the timid, but it will take you above the tree line and give you striking views of mountain lakes and the Canadian Prairies. Careful - it is cold at the top and when the wind blows, it will only be a few seconds before you are shaking like a leaf. Dress warm.

You can camp in and around the park. There are modern campgrounds. If you are a hardcore hiker you can camp along the trails. Beware of bears, though. There are black Bears and Grizzlies.

3) A Request
I really learned what the term "ugly American" meant when I worked in the Prince of Wales Dining room. Without question, the American guests were the most rude and obnoxious - they had unreasonable expectations and they were very rude to hotel staff. I'm not biased. We had visitors from all over the world. The Americans were the worst without question. Note that I was born and raised in the US and I hold US citizenship (actually I hold dual US-Canada Citizenship). I think the US is a great country. Nevertheless, I was embarrassed by the Americans that came through that Hotel during the summer of '91.

Please be polite and say thank you. Canada is a foreign country with foreign currency. If you visit the hotel or any other business in town, don't expect to get change from your purchases in US dollars. Some business will accept US dollars, but it is hard for them to maintain a stock of US dollars. If you wait to exchange money when you make a purchase, expect them to give you a crappy exchange rate. If you visit a foreign country, expect to play by their rules.

4) Pictures Anyone:
You can see some of the pictures I took of the park by visiting my personal web page at:

http://www.bol.ucla.edu/~bhaydama

At my site click on INTERESTS then look for the section about PHOTOGRAPHY. Don't worry, there is no advertising here at all - it is truly a personal page.

5) More Info
For More Information visit the website for Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park at (English Version):

http://parkscanada.pch.gc.ca/waterton/Waterton_lakes_e.htm


Recommend this product? Yes


Best time to go: June-August
Recommended for: Couples
Review Topic: Overview

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