Explore Canada 2015
Our mission on Explore TV is to do just that – explore – and going by road is such a fantastic way to discover Canada. You can tour at your own pace and stop to enjoy unexpected gems along the way. We are driving from British Columbia to Alberta and our destination is Waterton.
As the landscape opens up, you can see why the Cowboy Trail was established here all those years ago. This remains prime farming and ranching country to this day and the network of transport trails that sprung up in the 1800s is now a fully sealed and signposted route that visitors can enjoy comfortably.
The oil industry has also helped Alberta flourish and wells are a common sight during the drive on the Cowboy Trail…locals call them “donkeys”.
The wide open spaces are occasionally interrupted by small towns, each bringing their own colour to the journey and some even come with names straight out of a wild west novel – this one’s called Black Diamond.
After a few hours in the saddle, the majestic Rocky Mountains rise up to greet us in the distance – it really is one of those breathtaking sights that make you stop for a moment to take it all in. Trust me, it will be etched in your memory forever.
We’ve arrived at Waterton Lakes National Park and the sight is magnificent!
If wildlife is the reason you’re here, you won’t be disappointed. As well as bears busily foraging for food, a fenced off sanctuary on the rolling prairie country near the Park gates is home to a family group of bison. They’re free to roam their patch and the parents are understandably protective of their young, so it’s best to view them from a distance and from the safety of your car.
What Waterton lacks in size, it makes up for with charm. A small permanent population, swells during the warmer months to cope with the influx of visitors eager to enjoy some of Canada’s most picturesque surroundings.
One of the best ways to take in the Waterton area is from the lake itself. We’re boarding the MV International, a classic vessel built right here way back in 1927 and we’re making our way to the southern end of the lake.
The 11 kilometre long, Upper Waterton Lake is a Rocky Mountain classic. Glacially formed, its pure clean waters and stunning backdrop provide ample photographic opportunities. Short of putting your finger over the lens, you couldn’t possibly take a bad pic of this.
The lake is a curiosity, as it straddles both Canada and the US. The border is easily identified, running up and over the mountains.
Goats Haunt, at the other end of the lake is a chance to disembark for half an hour and stretch your legs. Because it is actually in Montana, anyone wanting to stay and hike need to clear US Customs.
After a short visit Stateside, it’s time head back across the border. The trip back offers a fantastic view of the Prince of Wales Hotel. It may sit the on the outer edge of the town, but it really is the centrepiece of Waterton,
The Prince of Wales Hotel is as interesting inside as it is outside. They would have had trouble building this hotel in such a windy place. This is one of the windiest spots on the planet. So when they put the foundations down, they actually bounced out so they had to redo it again. And even then it still moved a bit again, so they had to anchor it down. There are even sway wires running through the building. On a windy day, at the top of the hotel, you can actually feel the building moving a bit.
This hotel is open only from mid June to September, so you only have 8-10 weeks to book. It’s so popular that it’s booked 6 months ahead. So if you want a holiday here, make sure you book early!
An afternoon tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel is certainly a delicious way to spoil yourself during a visit to Waterton.
For more information about Prince of Wales Hotel, visit: Prince of Wales Hotel
For more information about Waterton Lakes National Park, visit: Waterton Lakes National Park
For more information about Cameron Waterfall and hiking at Red Rock Canyon, visit: Cameron Waterfall and hiking at Red Rock Canyon