7 hikes in Waterton Lakes National Park to do with your dog
We love dogs! And most importantly, we love taking our dogs on adventures. With so many beautiful natural wonders to explore in Alberta, it’s hard to know which trails are the best to take our four-legged friends along.
Here are seven hikes to do with your dog in Waterton Lakes National Park.
Red Rock Canyon/Blakiston Falls
A short drive from the village of Waterton is the beautiful and very Instagrammable Red Rock Canyon. Walk the trail up and down the canyon and find the perfect spot to enter the creek.
If you want to take a slightly longer walk, head to Blakiston Falls. Follow the signs into the burned forest and down the path for about a mile. You can view the falls from several different vantage points and take photos. We will warn you, however, that the viewpoints have non-slip metal stairs and platforms, so your pup might not like walking on them. You can still see the falls; you may not be able to get close.
This two kilometer round trip can take around 20 minutes if you are a brisk walker and up to 40 minutes if you have a more relaxed pace. The terrain is flat so it is suitable for all levels of experience.
If you just finished the Blakiston Falls trail and want to smash another hike but don’t want to drive, you can hike the Crandell Lake trail from the same parking lot.
This loop is four kilometers long and takes just over an hour. There is a steady incline (125m elevation gain) that leads down to the beautiful calm water of Lake Crandell. Pack a lunch and eat your midday meal here before heading back to town.
If you’re looking for a prairie walk with minimal elevation gain, Bellevue is the hike for you and your dog.
The entire 7.5 kilometer trail takes between two and three hours and offers plenty of outdoors and wildflowers for your pet to romp about. Looking for the perfect spring photo among the flowers? Find it here.
Lower Bertha Falls
This easy to moderate five kilometer hike takes about 1.5 hours and brings you to the beautiful Lower Bertha ‘Bride’s Veil’ Falls. This hike is perfect for dogs that like longer walks or need to expend some extra energy.
Don’t let ‘lower’ in the name fool you – there’s an elevation gain of about 175 meters, but it’s extensive enough for most hikers to handle. There is a bridge near the falls which makes it a perfect viewing/photo spot. The rocks at the bottom can get slippery so be careful. There is a stream that comes from the falls, which is a perfect little place to cool off and splash around with the water-loving breeds.
If you’re a bit obsessed with waterfalls, check out this list of jaw-dropping waterfalls in Alberta.
This one may be quick, depending on who you ask, but it’s a HIKE. When we did it took about 30 minutes to get to the top. There is just under 1.5 kilometers to the top and an elevation gain of 225 meters.
If you have a dog that likes to work, here’s a good place to put it away (at least temporarily).
When you get halfway and want to stop, think of the great photos you can take at the top which overlooks the whole village!
If you’re feeling really ambitious (and you’re in good physical health), you can complete the Bear’s Hump challenge at the pop shop. Spoiler: it’s about hitting the trail and then some. Seriously, this challenge is not for the faint of heart.
This hike was one of our favorites in Waterton. The trail leads to the Montana border, where you can swim across the Canada-US border and take photos at the border markers.
This hike is great for high energy dogs who are workhorses at heart. The walk to the border and back is around 10 miles and takes about four hours, so keep that in mind before you set off. The terrain is generally gentle, with some more rocky slopes. There are a handful of beaches along the trail for hikers to take breaks and take a dip in the lake to cool off. Also, if you find the hike getting a bit too long, you can turn around at one of these little beaches.
There are a few places along the trail to camp overnight, with lockers to store your food and protect it from bears if they come near.
For those interested in a multi-day adventure, you can hike from the boundary markers on the Boundary Bay Trail further into Montana, but you will need to get prior approval from the US and Canadian governments to cross the border .
Things to know before you go:
- Remember to check the weather and only bring your pup if the weather permits him to be physically active outside. If you’re going on a trail that doesn’t have much water access, we recommend bringing a water bottle/bowl for them on the hike. Dogs can also suffer from heat exhaustion!
- Be sure to bring poop bags and clean up after your pet. The same general backcountry rules – pack it, pack it – apply!
- Keep your pet on a leash. It’s common to encounter wildlife on hiking trails, so it’s best to keep your furry family member close.
If that all sounds a bit too intense for your taste, check out Alberta’s Best Trails for Lazy People.