Waterton Lakes National Park, ALBERTA – Winter is the perfect time to experience the outdoors, especially in Waterton Lakes National Park. Waterton is open year-round and winter typically prevails from November to April. When planning your visit this winter, remember the Kenow Wildfire of 2017 has affected the park.
Newly Opened Areas:
- The Akamina Parkway is open to Cameron Lake for non-motorised use this winter (e.g. snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, biking).
- Trails accessible from the Parkway, including Lineham, Rowe (only to the top of Lineham Ridge), Cameron Lakeshore, Akamina Pass (only to the B.C. border), and Summit Lake are also open.
- This is approximately 35 kilometres of reopened trails in addition to areas reopened earlier this year.
- The parkway will not be plowed and should be treated as backcountry terrain. To ensure emergency access, there is no parking in the entry to the Akamina Parkway.
Previously Opened Areas: Areas and trails reopened earlier this year remain available.
- The Red Rock Parkway is open for non-motorised use from the Entrance Road to Coppermine Creek.
- The Entrance Road and adjacent facilities, and Waterton townsite are also open.
- Parks Canada is plowing the Chief Mountain Highway to the Chief Mountain Overlook until the end of December. After that date, it is unmaintained until spring.
- A complete list of what is open in Waterton Lakes National Park, including recommended winter activities, is available on our website: www.parkscanada.ca/waterton-open.
- The McNeely’s and Little Prairie Day Use Areas, Tamarack Trail and Carthew-Alderson Trail (beyond the height of land past Summit Lake – see map) remain closed due to wildfire damage.
- The Akamina Pass Trail is only open to the public until the B.C. border.
- The Red Rock Parkway from Coppermine Creek to Red Rock Canyon, Bear’s Hump Trail, Crandell Mountain Campground, and recreational opportunities associated with these areas remain closed at this time.
Parks Canada is assessing and developing rehabilitation plans for these areas before they can reopen. To ensure your safety, please respect all area closures. Parks Canada is grateful to our visitors, partners, and stakeholders for their support and understanding.
Winter Safety: Visitor safety is a top priority for Parks Canada. Backcountry travel always comes with inherent risks and areas affected by the Kenow Wildfire may have increased hazards. Backcountry travellers are responsible for their own decisions and safety and need to plan accordingly. This winter, visitors should consider the Akamina and Red Rock Parkways as backcountry terrain.
Parks Canada will issue Avalanche Bulletins for Waterton twice a week throughout the winter. Almost any moderately steep slope is at risk of avalanche under certain conditions and even small avalanches can be deadly. Visitors travelling in avalanche terrain need essential training and equipment – such as a transceiver, probe, and shovel – and know how to use it. They also need the skills to recognize avalanche terrain and unstable conditions, and to conduct companion rescue. More safety information is available on Parks Canada’s website: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/waterton/securite-safety.
Facilities and Park Passes: For park information and to purchase park passes this winter, visit Parks Canada’s Visitor Centre on Fountain Avenue in the townsite, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., or the Park Gate on weekends and holidays. The Parks Canada Family/Group Discovery Pass is available for purchase in the park, with a 20% discount until December 31st, 2018! The Fire Hall and Cameron Falls washrooms are open throughout the winter.
Winter Driving Conditions: Visitors should be prepared for variable conditions in Waterton Lakes National Park this winter. Winter storms can create high snow volumes, drifting snow, poor visibility, and icy roads. Parks Canada plows roads in Waterton in priority order, starting with Highways 5 and 6 and the Entrance Road. For the most up-to-date travel information visit our social media channels (Facebook and Twitter), Website, and Alberta 511.