Is Wateron NP worth visiting on a BC/Alberta journey?
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Jan 8, 2013 11:40 AM Last Post By: thoughtpolice
Oct 28, 2012 6:53 AM
Is Wateron NP worth visiting on a BC/Alberta journey?I am planning a driving trip in BC and Alberta over 10 days. I am definitely doing Banff and Jasper, and quite likely passing through Kelowna and Lake Louise while driving from Calgary to Vancouver. I am curious about Waterton NP (and nearby Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and Dinosaur Provincial Park if I do come this way). If I am already doing Banff and Jasper, will I be seeing more of the same if I go to Waterton as well?
Oct 28, 2012 7:55 AM
1IMO: There are some similarities, in that Banff, Jasper and Waterton all have gorgeous mountains and lakes, but Waterton is definitely worth a visit. It's a really charming, less-travelled park and the drive there is interesting -- unlike Banff/Jasper, it's surrounded by prairies that just seem to suddenly give way to immense mountains. I loved all the parks, but Waterton is the one I'd most like to go back to. Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo-Jump is pretty interesting, and Dinosaur Provincial Park and the surrounding area (especially the canyons) are absolutely amazing -- I can't understand why the region isn't more famous. I guess your time is limited, but if you can make it to Waterton and DPP I'd definitely add them in -- or at least put them at the top of your list for next time!
To me, Banff and Jasper seemed pretty similar (with Banff being prettier but Jasper having more animal-viewing opportunities) so if I were doing your trip I might substitute Waterton and DPP for Jasper...but that's just me. The wildlife in Jasper was pretty spectacular.
Edited by: amyfkp
Edited by: amyfkp
Oct 28, 2012 10:08 AM
2I grew up getting out to Waterton every few weeks, now I live 1000 kms away. I had 5 days for Waterton NP & it's southern neighbor Glacier NP (USA) this summer & it was one of the best trips ever. Did the Crypt Lake hike which is considered one of the best in Canada; I highly recommend it. The park is sparesly inhabited by people, but lots & lots of wildlife (mountain sheep & goats on the streets with you and visible on most hikes or jaunts about the area. Easily visible were deer & fox at night. Berries were in peak season when we were there, so lots of bears about too. Always make me curious why people are in tents in the campground - all that lovely smell of food is very appealing to bears who are already about because of berries! (Biggest grizzly I've ever seen was down at Glacier - & I've seen a few!)
In addition to the Alberta sites you are talking of - all within a 7 hour drive of Calgary I would encourage you to look into Writing on Stone Provincial park - lots of access to great hikes, interesting history & all the searching you might want to do for dinosaur bones.
If you go to Waterton before the other NP in Alberta you will be in for a shock on the difference in population. Your plan to see the 3 NP & head to Vancouver all in 10 days though is ambitious - remember please that while the distance between the parks might seem minimal the roads wind & twist & one slows for those conditions, to see the fabulous scenery & look for wildlife. I consider the trip from Lake Louise to Jasper to be a day long excursion - with a return the next day, I'm always amazed that google maps suggests travel time is so much shorter.
Have lots of fun planning your trip - there is lots to do & see along your route - you'll have great opportunities no matter what you choose.
Oct 28, 2012 11:15 AM
3When are you coming? I was in Waterton on the first weekend of June last year and it was bitterly cold with pouring rain and heavy winds. We spotted a few baby black bears and lots of big horn sheep. I am really looking forward to going back, but I'll definitely want to be more spontaneous and only visit when the forecast is for great weather.
Oct 28, 2012 1:51 PM
Oct 28, 2012 6:16 PM
5Waterton is great. Unquestionably the best park I've been to as far as wildlife spotting. Every time I go I see a few bears per day, whereas in Banff/Jasper I rarely see anything. Also lots of top notch hikes. That said, it's best combined with a week or longer trip split between there & Glacier NP. Tacking it onto a 10-day trip from Vancouver - Calgary would be a bit of a rush. I'd rather just spend more time at the places that are less of a detour (Okanagan, Kootenays, Revelstoke/Glacier, Banff/Yoho/Jasper/Kootenay/Kananaskis, etc.) as they're no less spectacular in their own ways.
Jan 6, 2013 8:02 PM
Jan 8, 2013 11:40 AM
7If you are going to skip something. give the entire Okanagan a miss. Much hype, little substance unless you enjoy too many people, indifferent beaches and overpriced bad wine..
You do not want to miss the Jasper -Banff road, stunning. As good is the Going to the Sun road in Glacier park, the sister to Waterton. If you are heading south to Waterton from Banff, drive through the gorgeous Kananaskis area. Some highlights at the south end of Hwy 22 are the Frank Slide and a terrific provincial campgroudn at Beauvais Lake.
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