Carthew - Alderson Trail (Must start at Townsite trailhead. Trail closed between Carthew Summit and Summit Lake)
Type of Hike
- Day Hike
- Multi-Day Hike
- Difficult Hike
- Open Hike
- Guided Hikes & Shuttles
The Carthew-Alderson Trail is considered to be the most visually rewarding hike in the Waterton area.
Experience exhilarating views and one of the favourite trails of Waterton locals. The most scenic of all the trails in Waterton, this one-way high alpine adventure takes you through a cross-section of all of Waterton’s different terrain and vegetation as well as past 4 alpine lakes. Catch a shuttle from the townsite to the trailhead at Cameron Lake and follow the trail up the slow and steady switchbacks to Summit Lake. Take a right at the junction marked with a metal sign, and continue up through the forest, slowly breaking out of the tree line into a wide open avalanche path filled with alpine wildflowers. Follow the trail along the cirque of the basin and climb up the loose shale path, zig zagging up the steep slope until you crest the ridge. Get panoramic views of the "Crown of the Continent" and enjoy an easy ridge walk up to an eastern point of Carthew Mountain to enjoy 360° views with your lunch. Continue back along the ridge and follow the trail markers down into the basin on the opposite side from which you came. This path slowly winds down towards Carthew Lakes on a shale slope with occasional snow patches even in August! Look out for Marmots as this is a favorite spot of theirs! Continue past Alderson Peak and Carthew Lakes, enjoying the beauty of this high alpine hanging valley. Slowly descend the rocky trail and gradually down into the Alderson Valley. Gem-coloured Alderson Lake awaits, as a perfect break from the downhill slopes. Cool your feet at this beautiful spot before the final 7 km back to the townsite. Walk through the montane forest and slowly make your way down to the trails end, at Cameron Falls in the Waterton townsite. Bring your fishing rod on the hike and try your luck! Make sure you have a Waterton Fishing license. Known as "the most popular one-way hike in the Canadian Rockies" by the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide.
Distance: 20.1 km/12.5 miles one way hike
Elevation: 650m/2132 ft.
Timing: 6-8 hours
Catch the Cameron Express Hiker Shuttle for easy access to this trail. Please contact Waterton Outdoor Adventures for information on times and current rates.
NOTE: This trail offers a Guided Hiking Experience with an option to hire a local Interpretative Guide. Please visit Hike Waterton for more information.