Waterton Lakes National Park | Head-Smashed Buffalo Jump | Off the Beaten Path

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Off the radar screen...Waterton Lakes National Park is the smallest of all Canadian Rockies National Parks and this part of Alberta is known as the place where the “Mountains meet the Prairies”. This park is borders the state of Montana, where it’s called Glacier National Park. There is no more diverse National Park in Canada when it comes to flora and fauna. There is a healthy population of bison's, grizzlies and black bears in the region, not to mention the cougars, lynx, coyotes and foxes! Of course, deer, elk, sheep and moose are also commonly seen in the Park, in fact, more so than seeing the predators! Get your camera ready and keep your eyes sharp. From the UNESCO website: "Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is one of the oldest, most extensive, and best preserved sites that illustrate communal hunting techniques and the way of life of Plains people who, for more than five millennia, subsisted on the vast herds of bison that existed in North America."

Itinerary Details

This is a typical itinerary for this product

Stop At:

The history of Pincher Creek dates back to 1868. Today this small town has been home for workers and contractors maintaining and operating the invisible network of wells and pipelines. Recent the rapid deployment of wind generation made Pincher Creek the wind energy capital of Canada.nAs a gateway community to Waterton Lakes National Park, Pincher Creek has a year-round tourism economy.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At:

Twin Butte is a hamlet near the entrance to Waterton Lakes National Park. This is a popular stopping point for travelers and tourists along The Cowboy Trail Between 1885 and 1915, 43 ranching families settled the region. The community was given its name by Tillie Mitchell a prominent earlier pioneer to the area in the early 1900s. The name was given after two small hills, visible landmarks similar in shape and size overlooking the Yarrow Creek to the north of Mitchell's property, both noticeable to many travelers, traveling through the area.

Duration: 30 minutes

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This park is so distinctive that it has four joint international designations – International Peace Park, Biosphere Reserve, World Heritage Site and the first transboundary International Dark Sky Park (IDA). This is the smallest Stop at the Bison Paddocks where Bison reintroduction project is taking place. As dominant grazers on the landscape, bison shape vegetation and help to maintain natural ecosystems by limiting tree and shrub expansion into grassy meadows. This decision is ecologically significant for the park and culturally significant for First Nations communities in southern Alberta.

Duration: 4 hour

Stop At: Red Rock Canyon

End of September Only The Red Rock Canyon Parkway is one of the most beautiful drives in Alberta. It’s 9 km of rolling hills, mountains, and grassland prairie with plenty of pull-off points.

Duration: 2 hour

Stop At:

End of September Only The Akamina Parkway is a winding mountain road which starts in the Waterton townsite and runs 16 km along the Cameron Valley, ending at Cameron Lake. Along the way, stop at the First Oil Well in Western Canada National Historic Site. Crandell Lake, Lineham Falls, Rowe Lakes, Akamina Pass, Cameron Lakeshore and Carthew-Alderson (Summit Lake) trails all are located along this road.

Duration: 2 hour

Stop At: Cameron Falls

Located at Cameron Falls in Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park, on a regular day, the falls flow with typical clear water. And while still beautiful, the sight simply does not compare to the falls following a rainstorm. After heavy rainfall, the waters upriver from the falls get stirred up with a red mudstone called argillite. As the water flows towards the falls, it turns to a beautiful pink hue when light reflects on the mineral water.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At:

Waterton Lakes National Park has maintained a herd of plains bison, consisting of five to 20 animals, in its bison paddock since 1952.

Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At:

End of September Only Waterton is a seasonal town, only open during the summer months, and is a wonderfully serene, not-too-crowded retreat. The Prince of Wales Hotel The Prince of Wales Hotel is a Canadian icon. Built on a bluff overlooking the town in 1927 (the view is spectacular!), it became a National Historic Site in 1992—and needs to be the location of a Wes Anderson movie. Even if you’re not staying there, it’s worth checking out. Go for high tea, breakfast, lunch or dinner at the restaurant, or classic cocktails in the impossibly retro lounge—all with the best view in town.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At:

In south-west Alberta, the remains of marked trails and an aboriginal camp, and a tumulus where vast quantities of buffalo (American Bison) skeletons can still be found, are evidence of a custom practiced by aboriginal peoples of the North American plains for nearly 6,000 years. Using their excellent knowledge of the topography and of buffalo behavior, they killed their prey by chasing them over a precipice; the carcasses were later carved up in the camp below.

Duration: 2 hour
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