Winter In Waterton
Waterton is all yours in the winter
Heading south from Pincher Creek in the middle of winter, the traffic drops off dramatically. A few trucks, maybe a car or two but that’s about it. The highway to Waterton National Park is your own. And so is the park. Now is the time to visit, unwind, relax or rejuvenate. To be off line, unplugged and be unavailable for anything but you.
Listen to the Silence
To sum up winter in Waterton in one word it would be - silence. Most of the tourism operators shut down for the winter as do many of the stores so its you and whatever a breeze might brings to your ears. The roads are plowed but there is only a handful of people there to use them. You can walk down the road and all you hear is the sound of the snow crush under your boots. Your companions are the local herds of elk or deer as they trek to another stand of willow to chew.
Adventures in the snow
That thick layer of snow is perfect for snowshoe treks and cross country skiing. Take your cross-country gear to many designated trails along the Akamina Parkway including Cameron Lake and glide the ski trails that weave through the trees. Any of the 200 kilometres of designated hiking rails are perfect for a quiet snow shoe hike during the winter. Take a short trek to the first oil well in Canada.
Take a hike through town, along the shore of Emerald Bay and to the partially frozen Cameron Falls. Easy (but steep) trail lines the falls if you want to get off the beaten path.
If it hasn’t snowed for awhile, consider a winter hike up to Bears Hump. This classic little trail is less than an hour and takes you to a stunning view of the frozen lakes and valleys. (Consider bringing hiking poles. If there’s been a chinook, the trail might get slippery.)
Okay…it’s not all about getting out in the snow. Sometimes you want to grab a book and sit by a fire and relax or cuddle. Waterton in the winter is perfect for that. A few lodges stay open just for you and offer fantastic winter specials. Did someone say champagne?
The Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort offers accommodations from regular hotel rooms, to romantic deluxe suites with fireplaces and jetted tubs to full kitchen suites. Vimy’s Lounge and Grill is open daily and offers free continental breakfast during weekdays throughout the winter. Call the girls and have a book club meeting there. Check out the specials for dining and equipment rentals
Waterton Glacier Suiteshas been renovated and is open for the winter too. The rooms from standard to deluxe have fireplaces, mini fridges and excellent views of the surrounding mountains. Check out the specials for romance or adventure.
Dining choices in the winter are limited but that’s not what you came for. The good news is Vimy’s Lounge and Grill won’t leave you out in the cold. The food is delicious and plentiful. If you are in Waterton on the weekend check out “Wieners of Waterton”for locally-made sausages served with everything from homemade mustard to hot peppers on fresh buns. You had me at homemade mustard.
Take a tour guide in your car
Consider purchasing the Waterton and Alberta Southwest GyPSy guide app for your travels. This delightful commentary will fill you in on the highlights of the routes to and from Waterton and within the park. Learn about the geology, the people behind the creation of the park, the animals, the plant life and of course the village that sits on the shores with spectacular views. Check it out here.
If you’ve been to Waterton in the summer, this is a totally different experience that you don’t want to miss.