Crypt Lake Trail – Waterton Lakes National Park

The Crypt Lake trail lived up to everything posted on the web – a water taxi to the trailhead, switchbacks through alpine forest, waterfalls, a steel ladder, tunnel and ledges all provided features to keep one amused on the way up and back.  Our lunch at Crypt Lake, complete with its setting in an alpine cirque, was capped with a quick swim in its frigid waters.  Bear scat on the Hell Roaring Falls loop on the return provided a hint of things to come – two bears up in a tree on the opposite (thankfully) side of the creek.

On the day of our trip, Watertown Shoreline Cruises offered 2 morning departures and 2 afternoon return options.  We elected to take the first boat out and the last boat back to maximize our time on the trail.

Sections of the trail are not for the faint of heart.  In fact, spending our first full day in the area on ledges after arriving from Eastern Canada the day before did not provide any opportunity to acclimatize to the alpine environment!

As a result, we leaned into the rock wall on the ledge heading to the tunnel, and made full use of a cable handrail on the ledge on the other side of the tunnel.

This video shows us travelling the full length of the tunnel at Crypt Lake:

Taking the first and last water taxis of the day allowed us to spend a full hour on the shore of Crypt Lake for lunch.  One member of our group used the time to hike around the entire like, while two of us elected to go for a swim.  Mind you, it was only 18° C that day, so the swim looked more like a quick run in and out!

We made it back to the boat dock with only 15 minutes to spare.  Stopping for pictures of black bears and the waterfalls at Hell Roaring Falls almost resulted in us missing the last ride home…

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(21 images)

Trip Statistics:

Duration: 8 hours (hiking time).  The water taxi to the trailhead (3 kms down the lake) takes about 15 minutes.

Distance: 21 kms (round trip including the Hell Roaring Falls loop on the way back)

You can read more about out trip here.

Photo Ops:

– Twin Falls

– First views looking back on the valley toward the trailhead from the final approach to the Crypt Lake Tunnel

– Waterfall from Crypt Lake

– Crypt Lake

– Hell Roaring Falls taking the side loop on the way back to the trailhead

– Dockside at the end of the day

– Prince of Wales Hotel from the boat

Categories: Alberta, Western CanadaTags: , ,

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