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Crypt Lake Trail

Inside the Park
One of the Top 20 most thrilling hiking trails in the world by National Geographic
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About this Trail

There are hiking trails, and then there are hiking trails – and Crypt Lake Trail definitely falls into the latter category.

This 17.2 km (10.7 mile return) trek is both challenging and rewarding in the way that only truly worthy mountain hiking trials can be.  On Crypt, you’ll both marvel at the scenery and test your mettle.

The adventure begins with a short boat ride from Waterton marina to Crypt Landing, where the trail works its way through a mountain forest before passing an optional detour to Hell Roaring Falls.  The trail gains elevation steadily from there, passing Twin Falls along the way and emptying into a scree field before transforming into switchbacks – some of which are quite physically demanding.  Crypt Trail isn’t easy, but it’s worth every ounce of effort.

You’ll enjoy a great view of Burnt Rock Falls before arriving at the remnants of a long-closed campground. Afterward, the trail makes its way through a boulder-filled landscape leading up to an adrenaline inducing climb up a metal ladder – bolted to the mountain – to the trail’s next level. As if that weren’t enough, hikers next have to traverse a 4-foot wide tunnel carved through the rock.  Once through, Crypt Lake is minutes away.

The reward is worth the effort. Crypt Lake is a high mountain water body that does not disappoint in its beauty or tranquility. Just sit back and enjoy view before turning around and heading back down. Mountain goats can often be seen scrambling along the rocky ledge of the lake, Golden Eagle grace the sky, and the lake is surreal in its perfection.


6 Hours


17.2 km / 10.7 mi.


Day Hike




675 m / 2,214 ft.


The trailhead is located at Crypt Landing, which is accessible by a short boat ride from the Waterton marina.  For hiker shuttle schedules, or to inquire about trail conditions, please contact Waterton Shoreline Cruise Co.



Trail Terrain and Surfaces

Well-maintained hiking trail


Waterton Shoreline Cruise Co.
Box 126
Waterton Park, AB T0K 2M0


  • $$ Moderate Price
  • Challenging
  • Moderate Challenge
  • Nature and Wildlife
  • Pet Friendly

Sign Our Guest Book

Dwayne Schnell 9/12/2015
Grateful for the boat to take us across the windy wavy lake. Great hike! Please share my photos of the trail from Labour Day Monday Sept 7
Lisa Bagby 7/17/2016
Can one camp overnight at Crypt Lake?
Lois Tremblay 5/18/2017
I lived at Crypt Landing Warden cabin for a couple of years in the early '50's...I used to go hiking to the Lake every other day with the Warden, Larry Tremblay (my husband) Once a small bear broke into our Cabin when we were at the lake. He sure made a mess of our food. Crypt Lake was an awesome experience! And it was loaded with beautiful Cutthroat Trout.... We got caught up there once in a Violent thunder and Lightening storm. It got so dark that we didn't want to chance trekking down the mountain side in the dark. We had to stay under a big tree with a tent made of tree branches and a piece of canvas over our heads...The lightening flashing on the Lake half of the night was spectacular! It lit up the whole Lake. The tunnel was a little scary for me as I was sure it was full of spiders. I always let Larry go ahead of me to clear the way. :-) Good Times!!!!!!!!