10 winter experiences in Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park

Explore the great outdoors in Waterton Lakes National Park. Whatever the weather, there’s something for everyone in the winter months.

Stop by our Parks Canada Visitor Centre on Cameron Falls Drive for all the details.

The Bertha trailhead is in an avalanche path. Check the Bertha-Townsite avalanche advisory (updated daily) before accessing the area.


Always check trail and weather conditions before heading out for the day.

Strap on your snowshoes and head out for a Waterton winter adventure. Snowshoeing is easier than hiking when the snow is deep, and is accessible to most. Drive up the Akamina Parkway to Little Prairie Day Use Area and snowshoe to Cameron Lake (please stay off the groomed cross-country ski trails). Red Rock Parkway, Crandell Lake and Wishbone Trail are other popular areas to snowshoe. Be aware that much of the mountain area within Waterton Lakes National Park is avalanche terrain. Plan ahead, have the right gear and be avalanche aware. Snowshoes are available to rent in the community.

Wildlife watching

Bighorn rams are easily recognized by their large curved horns.

Bighorn sheep and deer are a common sight in the community of Waterton over the winter months. The Blakiston fan is a great place to park your vehicle and watch for elk. Discover animal tracks and who they belong to by exploring Red Rock Parkway. Remember - these are wild animals, so make sure to give them lots of space.

Winter stargazing

Waterton Lakes National Park and Glacier National Park (USA) are an International Dark Sky Park.

Waterton Lakes National Park is an ideal place for astronomy lovers, even for beginners. Constellations like Orion and the Big Dipper are easy to spot in the clear night skies. Get comfortable and watch the Milky Way appear from Bison Overlook, Cameron Lake or near the townsite at Cameron Bay. Bundle up, grab your binoculars or telescope and bring your star chart to experience our International Dark Sky Park at its very best.

Spend the night 

Pass Creek picnic site offers a sheltered winter campground.

Don't let winter dampen your enthusiasm for camping! Set up camp at Pass Creek Day Use Area and make some s’mores around the campfire. Bring your friends and spend the night to get an early start on the day’s adventures. 


Fat bikes have oversized rims and tires - perfect for snowy conditions!

Calling all fat bike enthusiasts! BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike) and pedal along the Townsite Loop or Wishbone Trail. If you’re up for a bigger adventure, spend the day on Red Rock Parkway and head to Crandell Lake or Snowshoe Trail.

Weather watching

Our park is known to have wind, rain, snow and sun, often all in one day.

Our weather is legendary! Record-breaking snowfalls, powerful chinook winds and clear sunny days are all part of southern Alberta’s winters. The Prince of Wales hill and lakeshore in the community both offer great viewpoints of the weather rolling in across Upper Waterton Lake. 

Cross-country skiing 

Cross-country skiing is popular on track set and backcountry areas of the park.

Kick and glide your way through our winter wonderland. Parks Canada grooms ski trails as resources and weather allow. Potential options include Cameron Lake from Little Prairie Day Use Area, Dipper Trail, Wishbone Trail and Chief Mountain Highway. Groomed trails will be posted on the Trail Conditions page.

Be aware that much of the mountain area within Waterton Lakes National Park is avalanche terrain. You should be prepared with the appropriate knowledge, skills and equipment.


There may be fewer birds around in winter, but with no leaves on the trees, they’re easier to see!

Sign up for the Christmas Bird Count. Count the many species that call Waterton Lakes National Park home, and the ones just passing through!

Visit the Peace Park Plaza

The Peace Park Plaza, with new pathways, exhibits and interpretive nodes, opened in 2018.

Explore Waterton’s waterfront and celebrate the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s first international peace park. This is a great location to photograph the Prince of Wales Hotel National Historic Site.

Winter photography

Capture that iconic Waterton view from the Prince of Wales hill.

When the park is enveloped in a blanket of white, familiar surroundings can take on a different perspective. Shoot the snowy mountain peaks, beautiful sunrises, stormy lakes or abundant wildlife in the park. When photographing wild animals, it is important to treat them with respect. Head to any of our red chairs for a photo that will leave your Instagram followers in awe! On a rare calm day, head to Emerald Bay or Lower Waterton Lake and get that lovely mirror-like reflection shot.

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