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Winter Trails

Cross Country Skiing/Snowshoeing Trails
Waterton Park Chamber of Commerce

Waterton is truly for outdoor enthusiasts who want to get off the beaten path. The backcountry of Waterton offers a different taste than trails offered at other national parks. What is the difference? Uncrowded. With an additional 35 km of trails reopened, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on uncongested trails will leave you refreshed and reconnected with your friends and family.

NOTE:
Most of these trails are considered backcountry terrain. Please review Trail Condition Reports and Avalanche Terrain Ratings before you begin.

What does "Backcountry" mean?
Backcountry is a term that refers to land that is isolated, undeveloped, remote and difficult to access. Only non-motorised travel is allowed. Backcountry travel always comes with inherent risks and winter safety should be considered. Please visit Parks Canada Winter Safety for more information.

Please see our list of winter trails open in 2018-2019:

For Accommodations & Restaunts, Click Here
For more winter activities, Click Here

Linnet Lake Trail
A short loop around Linnet Lake at the base of the Prince of Wales is a perfect winter hike. Sheltered from the elements, this short walk around the forested lake gives a sense of quiet and serenity. Start at the parking area across the entrance road from the Parks Canada Operations Buildings. Learn about the area with the unique interpretive displays around the trail. Continue up the Prince of Wales hill trail if you want to catch the view.

Distance: 1 km / 0.6 mi (return)
Avalanche Rating: Simple Class 1
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Rating: Easy
Timing: 20 minutes

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Prince of Wales Hill
Start at the day use area on Waterton Lake located across the road from the Akamina Parkway entrance. Beautiful winter views of snow capped mountains as the iconic Waterton Valley follows you as you walk along Waterton Lake. Once you reach Linnet Lake parking area, continue on the trail to the top of the hill and view the historic hotel in all its winter splendor.

Distance: 2 kms/1.2 miles
Avalanche Rating: Simple Class 1
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Rating: Easy
Timing: 45 minutes

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Kootenai Brown Trail

This paved trail follows the entire length of the entrance road and can be hiked in the winter. This trail is not cleared so wear proper foot wear. Follow the sidewalk out of the townsite and continue along this 16 km round trip walk. Head out to Driftwood Beach for those classic winter photos or use this trail to practice your snowshoeing skills before choosing one of our other winter trails.

Distance: 16 km/10 miles total but distance options available
Avalanche Rating: Not Avalanche Terrain
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Rating: Easy
Timing: Activity dependant

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Townsite Loop
Experience the solitude of Waterton in the winter and see the townsite under a blanket of snow. This trail loops around the town and ends at Cameron Falls, which can be an amazing frozen watertfall in many of the winter months. See more wildlife than people and enjoy this quiet lakeside escape.

Distance: 3.2 km/2 miles
Avalanche Rating: Not Avalanche Terrain
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Rating: Easy
Timing: 1 hour*

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Bertha Point and Falls
See this favourite trail in the winter time on snowshoes or just enjoy a winter hike. Views of snowy mountain peaks and a frozen waterfall are the highlights of this trail. Bertha Point is a great place to stop and enjoy a warm hot chocolate while gazing out onto the winter Waterton valley.

NOTE: Please review Trail Condition Reports and Avalanche Terrain Ratings before you begin.

Distance: 5.2 km/3.2 miles
Avalanche Rating: Challenging Class 2
Elevation: 175m/574 ft.
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Timing: 1.5 hours

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Akamina Parkway to Cameron Lake
To get to Cameron Lake from Akamina Parkway you will embark on a 15.5 km/9.6 mile road (one way) that is only open to non-motorized traffic. if you are interested in seeing Cameron Lake in its winter slumber, you may want to the Alpine Club of Canada to book their overnight cabin that sits just 0.2 km/0.1 mile from the lake. There are other trails along this parkway that offer shorter distances and include Crandell Lake and Loop (6 km), Lineham Falls (10km), Rowe Lakes (12km) and Akamina Pass (to BC Border) (15km).

NOTE: This road is classified as Backcountry and Class 1 Avalanche Terrain. All trails along this road vary in difficulty and in Avalanche Terrain rating, so be prepared with proper safety equipment and please review Trail Condition Reports and Avalanche Terrain Ratings before you begin.

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Crandell Lake and Loop
The first trailhead along the Akamina Parkway, this short 3.6 km trip to an alpine lake makes a great snowshoe trip. Keep going past the lake and follow the trail to the Red Rock Parkway to complete the Crandell Loop back to the townsite, or return the way you came (approximately 6 km).

Distance to trailhead along Akamina Parkway: 6.7 km/4.1 miles
Distance: 3.8 km / 2.4 mi (return)
Avalanche Rating: Simple Class 1 to Lake, Challenging Class 2 for Loop
Elevation Gain: 75m / 246 ft.
Timing: 1 hour

NOTE: Please review Trail Condition Reports and Avalanche Terrain Ratings before you begin.
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Lineham
A trail for advanced winter travellers only. This winter hike or tour takes you to a waterfall of the same name. A moderate 8.4 km trip through the forest breaks out onto a hillside for views of snow covered mountains. This trailhead is located along the Akamina Parkway. This trail is for advanced winter travellers with avalanche knowledge and equipment.

Distance to trailhead along the Akamina Parkway: 9 km/5.5 miles
Distance: 8.45 km/5.2 miles
Avalanche Rating: Complex Class 3
Elevation: 350m/1148 ft.
Timing: 2-3 hours

NOTE: Please review Trail Condition Reports and Avalanche Terrain Ratings before you begin.
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Rowe Lakes
This trail is only for the advanced and knowledgable winter adventurer. Ski and split touring on the trail are the main activity. This 12.8 km climb follows the creek up the valley and brings you to a snowy basin at the bottom of Lineham Ridge. The trailhead begins along the Akamina Parkway. This trail is for advanced winter travellers with avalanche knowledge and equipment.

Distance to trailhead along Akamina Parkway: 10.4 km/6.4 miles
Distance: 8 km/5 miles to Lower Lake, 12.8 km/8 miles to Upper Lake
Elevation: 350 m/1148 ft. to Lower Lake, 575 m/1886 ft. to Upper Lake
Avalanche Rating: Complex Class 3
Timing: 2-3 hours to Lower Lake, 3-5 hours to Upper Lake

NOTE: Please review Trail Condition Reports and Avalanche Terrain Ratings before you begin.

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Akamina Pass (to BC Border)
This trail is a great place for snowshoeing, and for experienced Cross-Country skiers. Avalanche training and equipment are recommended. Enjoy the approach to the Continental Divide and trek through the recently burnt forest.. The trailhead is approximately 15 km and begins along the Akamina Parkway, 2 kms before Cameron Lake. This trail is only open until Akamina Pass which is located on the British Columbia Border.

Distance to trailhead along Akamina Parkway: 14.3 km/8.8 miles
Distance: 3.5 km/2.1 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 110 m / 361 ft.
Avalanche Rating: Complex Class 2
Timing: 1.5 hours

NOTE: Please review Trail Condition Reports and Avalanche Terrain Ratings before you begin.
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Red Rock Parkway (Open to Coppermine Creek) Non-Motorized Use Only
Open to non-motorized traffic only, this 9 km stretch of road is perfect for Cross-Country skiing and snowshoeing. Enjoy the rolling hills that offers beginner friendly terrain. This is perfect for a winter hike as well so bring the whole family! Find the trailheads for Bellevue Prairie Trail and Crandell Lake and loop along this parkway.

NOTE: This road is classified as Backcountry and Class 1 Avalanche Terrain. All trails along this road vary in difficulty and in Avalanche Terrain rating, so be prepared with proper safety equipment and please review Trail Condition Reports and Avalanche Terrain Ratings before you begin.

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Bellevue Prairie Trail
A beautiful trail that shows off the mountains and the prairies meeting. Enjoy Waterton's unique landscape on this 8 km trail that is great to snowshoe or hike. Follow the Red Rock Parkway for 4 km and find the trailhead at the turn out with the cut-out bear. Check avalanche and safety conditions with Parks Canada before heading out on this trail.

Distance to trailhead along Red Rock Canyon Parkway: 3 km/1.8 miles
Distance: 7km/4.4 mi (return)
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Avalanche Rating: Not considered Avalanche Terrain
Timing: 1.5-2.5 hours

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Crandall Lake and Loop
This easy 4 km snowshoe trail is a winter paradise. Follow the Red Rock Parkway to where the barracade is located and follow the trail to the left to Crandell Lake trailhead. For a longer trip, go past the lake and follow the loop back to the townsite (approximately 16.5 km). The loop is considered to be Challenging Class 2 Avalance Terrain, so if you choose to continue on the loop make sure you have proper avalanche training and equipment.

Distance to trailhead along Red Rock Parkway: 8.9 kms/5.5 miles
Distance: 3.8 km / 2.4 mi
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Avalanche Rating: Simple Class 1 (to lake only)
Hiking Time: 1-2 hours

NOTE: Please review Trail Condition Reports and Avalanche Terrain Ratings before you begin.

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Chief Mountain International Highway
This winter, Parks Canada will be setting a cross-country ski track on the Chief Mountain Highway open to non-motorized traffic only. This road is accessed just past the Park Gate on Highway 5 towards Cardston offering a moderate to expert ski trail because of the steep grade. Snowshoers can expect an moderate trail experience. You can also access the Wishbone trail along this road.

NOTE: This road is classified as Backcountry and Class 1 Avalanche Terrain. All trails along this road vary in difficulty and in Avalanche Terrain rating, so be prepared with proper safety equipment and please review Trail Condition Reports and Avalanche Terrain Ratings before you begin.

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Wishbone Trail
Just past the gate on the Chief Mountain International Highway you will find the Wishbone trailhead. Enjoy a easy to moderate snowshoe or cross-country ski through the forest and over Sofa Creek to the Vimy Junction. It is a 13 km/8 mile round trip to the Vimy Junction and back, but many choose to turn around at the Sofa Creek for a shorter day. Views of Mt. Vimy dominate the landscape and enjoy the winter solitude this trail can provide. Be cautious as you cross Sofa Creek, the ice can be unsafe due to warmer temperatures. It is not recommended to travel past the Vimy Junction, as the area turns into Complex Class 3 Avalanche terrain. Avalanche training and equipment are required. Check avalanche and safety conditions with Parks Canada before heading out on this trail.

Distance to trailhead along the Chief Mountain Highway: 0.5 km/0.3 miles
Distance: 13 km round trip (to Vimy Junction and back)
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Avalanche Rating: Not considered Avalanche terrain
Timing: 3-4 hours

NOTE: Please review Trail Condition Reports and Avalanche Terrain Ratings before you begin.
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