Waterton Lakes National Park is known for it’s beauty, and offers an unparalleled outdoor playground. Here you will find some of the best rated hikes, pristine nature, and views that will give your neck a workout. There is a lot to explore.

What if you are here for a day, have limited time or want to explore Waterton Park’s beauty in a less strenuous way? Let’s look at the best things to do in one day 🙂


Bear’s Hump

I would say this short but fairly heart pumping hike gives you the best views of Waterton Park in all its glory. It’s really a must do. The hike is located at the parking area on the side right before you get to town, and right before the Cameron Lake turn.

Bear’s Hump catches many people by surprise because it’s a series of steep switchbacks all the way to the top. It’s a very doable hike for all ages; take your time, there are plenty of places to rest along the way. The top gets super windy so bring a windbreaker if you have it, and make sure your dog is leashed if Fido is joining you on the hike . The effort is worth it:

Distance: 2.3km roundtrip.

Elevation: 214m.

Time: 1 hour. Depends how long you stay on top.

Lakeshore Trail

This is one of my favourite trails in Waterton Park. The trail starts at the south side of town, and shared partially with the Bertha Falls trail then proceeds to the left from the signs towards Goat Haunt, which is in the US.

This is a fairly easy walk on well conditioned trail surrounded by lush vegetation – many raspberry bushes. You will have great views of the Upper Waterton Lake, mountains, and the town if you look back. The journey will take you through lookout points, into the forest, and to a few beaches with a dock. This is a great place to spend time as many people don’t come out this way making it the quieter trail.

Distance: 6.5km there, and back.

Elevation: 180m

Time: couple hours.

Red Rock Canyon

I don’t know what I enjoy more; the drive there or the destination. Pretty much everyone that visits Waterton Park also visits Red Rock Canyon – expect it to be busy. You will be surrounded by beautiful geological formations, and to do it right make sure you are prepared to get wet. The parking is right next to the Canyon.

If you cross the Canyon, and follow the path to the left it will take you on a 20 min walk through the forest to a beautiful lookout of the Blakiston Falls. I actually never knew that this part even existed until my last visit. Reading online feedback I see that many people have missed this part of the area as well. I highly recommend it.

Bike or Kayak

Head over to Pat’s which is the only gas station around (closest is 40km out of the park I think), and the spot for rentals. At Pat’s you can find mountain bikes, cruisers, kayaks, and even e-bikes.

You can have a scenic ride all the way to Red Rock Canyon or turn off from the same road to Crandell Lake for more adventure, and less crowds.

If you are a good kayaker, and pretty confident in water I would highly recommend renting a kayak.  Waterton is a very windy place so the water can be a little rough. If you do rent a kayak, hug the shoreline, make your way across to Middle Waterton Lake to explore cliffs, fish or just enjoy being in the water surrounded by the mountains.

Thirsty Bear

After a day of exploring Waterton Park your stomach by now should be making all sorts of noises. The best place to satisfy the hunger is at the Thirsty Bear Kitchen + Bar.

Thirsty Bear is located in what was once Southern Alberta’s largest dance pavilion built in 1926. The location has had an extensive renovation but still maintains homage to its heritage with original flooring, beams branding ranching families, and the 40 year old Thirsty Bear Mural which has been hand restored with sharpies.

The menu consists of pub grub crafts that are done to perfection. Here I am enjoying the BBQ beef brisket on a portabello mushroom with garlic fries that are tossed in actual fresh garlic. It was absolutely delicious right down to the smallest detail! Portions are generous guaranteed to please the hungriest bear.

With pool tables, foose table, live music, and a patio the Thirsty Bear is also a fun place to hang out, and recap your day over a beverage.

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