20160730-0801: Waterton Triple Crown

The so-called Triple Crown of Waterton Lakes National Park is “awarded” upon the completion of three premier trails in the area: Carthew-Alderson, Crypt, and Akamina. A friend organized a bunch of us on an incredible relaxed trail running long weekend with great company. These are the moments we live for.

Day 1: Carthew-Alderson, 18km

  • A civilized start to the day, 3 hour drive, and we’re in Waterton by lunchtime.
  • Take the free Parks Canada hiker shuttle from Waterton townsite to Cameron Lake that straddles the Canada-USA (Glacier National Park) border. Follow the Great Divide Trail (Carthew-Alderson trail) to Carthew Summit (2,311m). Windy! Descend the gorgeous trail that passes by a series of multiple subalpine lakes and waterfalls back to town.
  • Dip your toes into Waterton Lake to cool down! Chill on the beach, snack, nap. Then, head into town for a well-deserved iced coffee or mocha.

Day 2: Crypt Lake, 17km

  • We took the 9am ferry ($24 round trip) to Crypt Landing. Make your way up the trail and pass by Twin Falls, Burnt Rock Falls, and Crypt Falls. Crawl through the short tunnel, ascend the fixed cable, and soon enough you’re at the beautiful glacier-fed Crypt Lake on the Canada-USA border. Do a lap of the lake, go for a skinny dip or take a nap on the rocks. Spotted: one mountain goat. On the way back down (Whee! Rocky singletrack switchback entertainment!) take the Hell Roaring Falls option back to the boat launch.
  • Time for another icy cold drink!
  • Since it’s still early in the day, take a drive on the scenic Red Rock Parkway and do the gentle 2km recovery hike from Red Rock Canyon (yes, the rock is red) to Blakiston Falls.
  • Back at the cabin by Payne Lake, it’s time for berry picking! Those Saskatoon berries are so ripe and juicy they’re literally falling off the bushes.

Day 3: Akamina Ridge, 18km

  • Looks different now that there’s less snow from when we did it last May.
  • Take the shuttle to Akamina Pass Trail. Bear on the road. Follow the trail clockwise to Forum Lake and up the rock bands. Views down the headwall! Follow the ridge to the summit and beyond, and all too soon you’ll see the descent route to Wall Lake. A nice stop for a leisurely lunch. Shuttle back to Waterton townsite. Time to head home.

There are so many photos I could have posted, but eh you know how it is; they could never do the scenery justice. You’ll just have to go yourself 🙂


Waterton Triple Crown
Stan’s photo of Monica, descending from Alderson Lake
Akamina mountain goat
We all wonder how this is going to end, as we watch Carolyn remain totally oblivious to the mountain goat and vice versa! Akamina.

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