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.

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.


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.