Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park (established 1895, 505 km2) is situated in the southwestern corner of Alberta on the Canada-US border. In 1932, this park was united with Montana's Glacier National Park to create the world's first international peace park.

Waterton Lakes National Park
Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, at sunset with moose silhouetted in foreground.
Scenic View of Waterton Lake National Park, Alberta Canada
Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada shown at sunset. Photo taken on: April 21st, 2012
Red Rock Canyon Waterton Lakes Park
Small cascade at the bottom of Red Rock Canyon in Waterton Lakes National Park - Canada.
Birds at Waterton Lakes National Park
Cranes sit near the waters edge at Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. Photo taken on: April 23rd, 2012

Waterton Lakes National Park (established 1895, 505 km2) is situated in the southwestern corner of Alberta on the Canada-US border. In 1932, this park was united with Montana's Glacier National Park to create the world's first international peace park. In 1995 the 2 areas were declared a World Heritage Site based on the exceptionally rich plant and mammal diversity, and on the outstanding glacial and alpine scenery.

Natural Heritage

The setting is spectacular. In less than a kilometre, the dry rolling hills of the prairies soar to icy peaks nearly 3000 m high. The 3 Waterton Lakes, nestling between 2 mountain ranges, are over 150 m deep, the deepest in the Rockies. Because the park embraces both prairie and mountain, there is a great variety of plant and animal life.

Pronghorn and coyote roam the grasslands; mountain goat, bighorn sheep, grizzly bear and marmot frequent alpine meadows and barren ridgetops.

Praire Bison in Waterton Lakes National Park
Up-close view of a prairie Bison of Southern Alberta in Bison Paddock. Photo taken on: June 29, 2012
Black Bear
A mother black bear (Ursus americanus) leads her cub across a small river or creek in an early season snow near Waterton Lakes, Alberta.
Bear grass flowers in Waterton
Summer view of alpine bear grass flowers (xerophyllum tenax) in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta.
Waterton Lakes National Park
Carthew Summit, Waterton Lakes National Park, looking south from Carthew Summit over sub alpine, spruce-fir forests and lush meadows (courtesy Cottonwood Consultants Ltd/photo by Cliff Wallace)
Waterton
In Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta (photo by James Marsh).

Human History

The area, once a Blackfoot stronghold, was first visited by Europeans in 1858 when Thomas Blakiston explored the area. He named the Waterton Lakes after a British naturalist. In the early 1900s Alberta's first oil well was drilled near Cameron Creek at Oil City.

Facilities

The park provides facilities for tent, recreational-vehicle and primitive camping in all seasons, and has numerous trails. Four scenic parkways provide vehicle access to the interior of the park.

See also Biosphere Reserves.