fun to do kids waterton lakes national park alberta canada   Travel for Kids
  | Alberta | Southern Alberta

Waterton Lakes National Park

Gorgeous deep blue Waterton Lake, surrounded by steep, majestic mountains, is home to an amazing diversity of plants and animals. As a teenager, our family camped, fished and hiked here in the national park, and it's unforgettable scenery.
The full name of the park is Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, and the park spans the Canada – U.S. border. It's less than a day's drive to Glacier National Park and well worth a visit. Remember to bring passports for everyone in the family'.
    Visitor Information Centre – Stop at the information centre for park maps and recommendations on which route to take with kids through the park lands. June to Thanksgiving, pick up the free Xplorers! activity booklet (identify animals you see in the park, draw wildflowers, listen to Blackfoot stories at campfire programs, puzzles, mazes) and complete the activities for a certificate and souvenir.
    The entrance road runs from the main gate to the town, and gives you great views of the Waterton Valley. Stop in at the Prince of Wales Hotel, a national historic site and a great place to stretch out and admire the lake. Really want to get the mood of the place? Make time for afternoon tea in Valerie's Tea Room (scones, sandwiches, pastries) in the hotel.
    Ride the waters
      Cameron Lake – You can rent canoes, rowboats and paddle boats at Cameron Lake on the Akamina Parkway. It’s a great spot for families, since it’s a calmer lake than some of the others nearby, and no power boats are permitted. Don't plan on swimming here – this water is deep and incredibly cold!
      Upper Waterton Lake – A great day trip is the 2 hour scenic boat cruise from Waterton, get off at Goat Haunt, hike around, and take the boat back. May to September. Click here for more information.
    Editor's note: I have fond memories of this boat trip as a teenager, on a family camping trip into the back county. Although it was summer, it had started to snow lightly and we eagerly awaited the boat to arrive at Goat Haunt (it was delayed for several hours). A fellow backpacker had a large bag of huckleberries which he shared with all of us, never have huckleberries tasted so good.
  Go birding – With over 250 species passing through the park, the best time to do this is late fall, during migration when thousands of birds, including Canada geese, trumpeter swans, and various ducks fly by. Good birding spots: Maskinonge Lake and Knight's Lake. In March you can see the reverse migration – catch the golden eagles on Lakeview Ridge. Combine bird-watching with hiking on the Bertha and Rowe trails or the Carthew-Alderson trail. For guaranteed sightings, head for the habitats along the Waterton River.
    Ride horses – At the Alpine Stables, check out the options, including everything from one hour to full day guided horseback trips. Really feeling adventurous? Call Alpine well ahead if you would like to try back country camping with horses at Lone Lake and Snowshoe Cabin.
    CampingWaterton Lakes has great campgrounds for families, including a unique camping experience: spend the night in a tipi. The tipi, which sleeps 6, has sleeping mats (not so hard as sleeping directly on the ground), but you'll needed to bring sleeping bags and usual camping equipment. Tipi camping from June to Labor Day, reservations.
      Two recommended campgrounds are Crandell (first come, first serve), close to Crandell Lake, and Townsite (reservations are advisable). Click here for more information about campgrounds in the park.
kids books waterton lakes alberta
Best Easy Day Hikes Glacier and Waterton Lakes  

Guide to easy hikes in Waterton Lakes and Glacier National Park, ideal for families. Maps, concise trail descriptions, mountain hiking tips, trail difficulty, and what you'll see along the way. (Guidebook)


Deborah Hodge

Find out about the habits of black bears and grizzlies what they eat (honey and fruit, plants and leaves, fish, deer), how fast they can run (up to 30mph), natural predators (none). (Picture book)


Deer, Moose, Elk & Caribou  

Fun facts about these fascinating animals you'll see in Waterton Lakes National Park. A moose is really just the largest deer, elk make lots of squealing noises, mule deer hop like a rabbit. Also, how to identify moose, mule deer, and elk tracks. (Picture book)


(More children's books on other Alberta pages)