Plan Ahead for a Busy August Long Weekend in Waterton Lakes National Park

In celebration of Canada 150, the Government of Canada is incredibly pleased to offer free admission for all visitors to Parks Canada operated places in 2017. This year, Waterton Lakes National Park is on track to welcome a record number of visitors and connect even more people with our natural and cultural heritage.

We have already seen an impressive increase in visitation this year. From January to July 2017, Parks Canada welcomed approximately 20 per cent more visitors than last year to Waterton Lakes. Traditionally the August long weekend is our busiest of the season. Visitors should expect the park to be extremely busy this weekend.

Visitor and wildlife safety is a top priority for Parks Canada. Visitors, especially those new to national parks, should plan their trips ahead of time. The Townsite Campground is fully-booked on the long weekend and the first-come, first-serve campgrounds will fill up very quickly. During peak times, parking will be at or close to capacity throughout the park and there may be traffic delays at the Entrance Gate, the townsite or the Cameron Lake and Red Rock day-use areas.

Waterton Lakes National Park is experiencing hot and dry weather conditions. The fire danger is Extreme and a fire ban in place in Waterton Lakes to ensure visitor safety and for the protection of park infrastructure. This fire ban covers the entire national park including all front- and back-country campgrounds and day use areas in Waterton Lakes National Park, including the townsite. Fire ban details are available here:

Parks Canada is well-prepared to welcome as many visitors as safely possible to Waterton Lakes National Park. This year we have hired extra staff and additional traffic contractors. We ask visitors to be patient and to follow all instructions from traffic personnel. We have a traffic management plan in place that includes real-time modelling of inbound and outbound traffic which is analyzed against past years’ data, on-the-ground observations and recent visitation trends. This will allow us to provide our visitors with the most up-to-date information on our social media channels (Facebook and Twitter), website and Alberta 511.

Parks Canada wants to ensure the best possible experience for visitors coming to Waterton Lakes National Park. Before you travel, plan ahead by consulting our website and reserving accommodations. Consider travelling mid-week, early or late in the day or during the shoulder seasons for a less-busy experience. We encourage visitors to order their free 2017 Discovery Passes online or pick them up from third party retailers before travelling to the park.