Wildfire destroyed parts of Waterton Lakes National Park, but it’s gradually coming back to life.
Photo Sandy Chinski
My Trip to Waterton Lakes National Park
I had always wanted to visit Waterton Lakes National Park in southern Alberta and I’m excited to say I made it there this past summer. I’d heard so many great things about its beauty and wildlife. My husband Len and I booked a night at the Crandell Mountain Lodge, which is near the lake and on the edge of the quaint little town. (Here are more great Canadian hotels.) I was a little apprehensive about how it was going to look after the major wildfire that swept through in September 2017, which nearly consumed the whole area. I was happy to see that it was still spectacularly beautiful even though, sadly, there were many trees burned to the ground.
Photo: Sandy Chinski
An Irresistible Photo Opp
After dropping all our gear at the hotel, we decided to wander around on foot to see what Waterton had to offer. There were lots of small shops to check out and some great places to eat as well. We stopped at a place called Wieners of Waterton, where I had the best hot dog I have ever eaten. The fresh buns were to die for and the young people running the restaurant were so nice. It has been around for many years and is a favourite of tourists and locals. We ran into an
RCMP officer dressed in full uniform, which was quite cool to see. Len got me to stand with him for a picture—a fun “touristy” thing to do.
Here are 10 more places in Canada every Canadian should visit.
Photo: Sandy Chinski
A Close Encounter
There was a haze from fires burning miles away hanging low over the mountains and in the valleys. I said a little prayer, hoping that this little mountain town would never again have to experience what it had gone through the year before. As we walked the trails, I noticed a deer with her fawn; it was such a beautiful and peaceful sight.
After touring the town on foot and buying a few small souvenirs, we headed back to our hotel to pick up our vehicle so we could do a wider tour of the area.
We headed to Cameron Falls on the edge of town. We kept moving as we didn’t have a lot of time in the area and I wanted to see everything we possibly could. We drove up the hill to the historic Prince of Wales Hotel, which was built in 1927 and has sweeping views of the lake, valley and mountains. We toured the hotel and then carried on down the road to see what else this area had to offer. I spotted a road leading a little higher on the hillside, where I found a perfect spot to take photos and managed to capture some of my best shots.
We headed back to the hotel for a drink and to relax a little bit. As we were sitting on the outside deck enjoying a beverage, we noticed some commotion just across from us. A mother deer had decided to chase some people strolling along the river path. Some were running towards the trees to get away from her, but others obviously must have endured this before because they stopped and put both their arms in the air and started waving and yelling at the deer. She seemed to get the hint and backed down. It was a dangerous situation, as she was obviously just trying to protect her fawn. That explains why they have signs reading “dangerous deer” posted in the area. It did make us chuckle a little, though, after we realized everyone was okay.
Many of the gravel side roads around town were closed off due to the fire damage from the summer before, so I wasn’t able to travel the backcountry looking for bears or other mountain animals to photograph—this time. On a positive note, this gives me the perfect reason to come back and visit this beautiful spot again!
Check out more amazing things to do in Alberta.