Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Waterton Townsite Volksmarch and High Tea at Prince of Wales Hotel - Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Excitement built this morning as we ate breakfast in our 5th wheel and got ready to take our first look at Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. In the past week, it rained hard a couple of days. The waterfalls should be at their peak. Yay!

The Canadian Rockies have become our favorite place of all the places we've been in the world. Previously, we have been to Yoho, Kootenay, Banff and Jasper National Parks, along with the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper. All of it had stunning scenery and waterfalls galore.

Today, we will do the 10k Waterton Townsite Volksmarch and go to High Tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel overlooking Upper Waterton Lake. The drive to Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is 34 miles (approximately 45 minutes) from the Lee Creek Campground in Cardston, Alberta. It depends on how long entering the national park gate takes. 

Our drive was filled with oohs and aahs as our eyes feasted on the meeting of the springtime-green high plains and the Rocky Mountains. It was breath-taking!

Chief Mountain in the Canadian 

Where the high plains meet the Rockies!

The mountain chain just goes 
on and on!

This side of Waterton Lake was not
affected by the 2017 forest fire.

This side of Waterton Lake was 
devastated by the fire of 2017.

Lower Waterton Lake with Vimy Peak
(7,835') on the right.

There was a very short line at the entrance gate this morning. 

We had a car and a school bus
ahead of us at the national park gate.

It was a pretty drive into the Townsite. We caught our first glimpse of Bear's Hump (5,059').

Bear's Hump (5,059').

We parked the truck on Mount View Rd. and started our walk. It was pretty chilly. I had on a warm sweater and thought I could go without a coat. We always warm up when we start walking.

Ha, silly me. We were just fine on the street where we parked, but once we turned a corner and headed into the wind, we had to go back to the truck and get our coats. The gusty winds had a cold bite to them! I already wanted hot chocolate and we were only two blocks into the walk.

There were some cute pieces of art, including this Sasquatch. Bob was talking on his phone and I had him stand by the S'quatch so you could see how big it is.

Sasquatch and Bob. 

The new Waterton Townsite Visitor Center
with Mt. Richards (7,966') on the left.

The new Waterton Townsite Visitor

A view looking toward the campground
and Mt. Richards.

Behind the Visitor Center is a short loop trail with sculptures and cut-outs of animals you may see in the area.

Black bear.

Bighorn sheep.


Mountain lion/cougar/puma.

UNESCO designation.



Real prairie dog (called ground
squirrels in Canada).

We then headed toward Upper Waterton Lake. Brr! The wind was whipping around us! The lake had whitecaps and waves.

Looking south across Upper Waterton
Lake toward Glacier National Park in
the U.S.

Vimy Peak as seen across
Upper Waterton Lake.

The back of this home overlooks
Upper Waterton Lake. Gorgeous.

We walked past the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) station and had a great view of Bear's Hump. We then continued on Mount View Rd. to the entrance road, and then walked to a park. At this point, our instructions said to "walk along the beach" and then scramble up some rocks to find the trail to take us to another point alongside the lakeshore. I'm sure that works well if it hasn't been raining and the lake level is normal, but they had a lot of rain and the lake was pretty high (as in going over its banks).

The view of Bear's Hump from the 
RCMP office.

The Prince of Wales Hotel.

The lake level is high. There is no 
beach to walk on.

Having the adventurous spirit that we do, we tried to walk along the edge of the water to the rocks on the point. Umm, that did not go too well! The waves of the lake crashed on the driftwood on shore and splashed water on my face and the splashes also got the bottoms of my jeans wet. Somehow, my shoes stayed dry. There was no way we could make it to the rocks. 

The driftwood on the shore.

Above: Bob took a video of me trying not to get my feet wet. It worked.

Plan B: Find a detour. We went back to the front of the park and found a trail that took us up the hill to the Prince of Wales Hotel. It was very exposed; therefore, very windy!

Bob started out on the upper trail.

This is the Waterton Marina. We will
be here tomorrow to go to the Crypt
Lake Trailhead.

Bob on the trail overlooking Upper
Waterton Lake and Vimy Peak.

It was VERY windy out here on this
exposed trail! Look at my hair!

When we made it up to the top of the hill and the Prince of Wales Hotel parking lot, we were able to hook up with the walk instructions at the trailhead to Linnet Lake.

Prince of Wales Hotel with Bear's Hump
in the background.

These docks at Middle Waterton 
Lake are underwater!

Another Middle Waterton Lake dock.
The red chairs were placed by the 
city of Waterton for people to enjoy
the views.

Linnet Lake is down in a hollow and it was very calm and warm, a nice respite from the cold wind! The lake is possibly named for a small rosy-breasted finch.

Linnet Lake.

Female or immature common

Fascinating bark pattern!

The walk around Linnet Lake is short!

Prince of Wales Hotel as seen from 
Linnet Lake.

After walking around Linnet Lake, we walked along the Entrance Road back to town. There, we walked along the lakeshore as best we could. We passed the entrance road to the Prince of Wales Hotel along the way.

These warning signs are
posted all over the Townsite.

Yeah, the lake is a little high right now!

We didn't even try to go 
around this point.

We stayed along the lakeshore and got above the waterline where a higher concrete trail had been built. There were a lot of historical markers explaining the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Rotary International in Alberta and Montana provided the impetus to create the combination of parks. 

Even though the U.S.-Canadian border is out in the middle of Upper Waterton Lake, there is an international boundary marker along the walkway we were on. Both Canadian and American flags fly here, even though we are really completely in Canada at this spot.

The Townsite marina.

Bob at the "International

Usually, there is a beach here.

Animal tracks in the walkway.

We continued our walk along the lakeshore of Upper Waterton Lake. The number of mountain peaks is amazing. 

The house below is the back side of the house I took a photo of earlier in the walk. From the back of their house, the view is phenomenal! 

The view of Vimy Peak from the
house above.

Citadel Peaks (4)

We continued along the shoreline of the lake and passed by a huge RV park, Parks Canada Townsite Campground. Next destination: Cameron Falls. We could see the mist from the falls before we got close!

Cameron Falls. 

The history of Waterton.

Oil and architecture.

Bob and I at Cameron

Cameron Falls.

Our Volksmarch was just about finished. We needed to get back to the truck and head to our High Tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel. 

When we drove up to the Prince of Wales Hotel, there was a parking attendant who wanted $10.50 to park. I guess I "assumed" that parking was complimentary with high tea. There was no mention of it on Open Table when I made the reservation. Wrong! Bob dropped me off at the door, drove down the exit ramp for the hotel, and parked across the street at the Bear Hump Trailhead for free. 

I waited in the lobby and got a few photos.

The view of Bear's Hump
from the lobby.

A view of Upper Waterton Lake from
the lobby.

Prince of Wales Hotel lobby.

This is where we'll have our High Tea.

As soon as Bob returned, we were seated. Our table was right by the window! What a view of the lake.

Upper Waterton Lake as seen from 
our table at Prince of Wales Royal 
Stewart Dining Room.

The interior of the dining room.

The waitresses wear kilts.

Here is our food. This is what
$42 per person plus tip and 
tax gets you. Oh, plus the tea.

Oops, we should have moved the
serving tower.

Bob is amused about sticking out
his pinky finger.

My review: We had a table right next to the window. The price of $42 per person reflected the spectacular view overlooking Upper and Middle Waterton Lakes and Vimy Peak. (Looking at booking a table today online showed the price had dropped to $36 per person plus tax and tip. Is that to take the bite out of having to pay for parking?) I had "assumed" the price of the High Tea would include parking at the hotel. It did not. 

The sandwiches were okay. I predicted to Bob that we would probably have cucumber/cream cheese and egg salad sandwiches with the crusts cut off. We did. There were also tomato crostinis.

The cranberry scones and cheese scones were delicious. The clotted cream and jam came in tiny little serving "jars." We had to ask for more.

For dessert, there were Lemon Madeleines that tasted as if they had just been thawed out, some small cake cubes that tasted like they had been soaked in honey, and the most delectable, marble-sized cream puffs filled with what tasted like chocolate Chantilly cream. The cream puff melted in your mouth. We would have preferred our dessert to be just the cream puffs!!

We had a choice of several different teas in tea bags. We could pick one and we were told it would be good for about four cups of tea. I had jasmine tea and Bob had vanilla. Both were excellent. When Bob asked for mint tea after two cups of vanilla tea, the waitress seemed put out that he would need more than one type of tea, but she brought it.

Then we asked if we could get another plate of scones. We could for an additional $12. It was the same price if we wanted an additional plate of anything else.

The service was good. We asked our waitress to tell us the etiquette of High Tea. She told us we could eat in any order we wanted. A few minutes later, we heard another waitress tell her table that the correct etiquette is to start with the lower of the three plates and work your way up. Oh, well. 

It was a lovely experience, but pretty overpriced for what you got (except the view!).

At the end of the meal, they gave us a coupon to use in the gift shop for free tea. We ended up with two free boxes of "Afternoon Tea."

All in all, I was happy we went. Bob had never been to a High Tea before and the location with the spectacular scenery was great!

After the High Tea, we went back to town and checked out the outside and inside of the Visitor Centre. It was well worth the visit. We also went back to Cameron Falls. 
Beautiful 3-D art inside the Visitor Centre.


In the outdoor exhibits, we learned that Waterton Lakes is the "Crown of the Continent." Water flows from Waterton Lakes to three oceans: the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Arctic. 

Waterton is a Dark Sky Park.

That covers our day, and what a day it was. Tomorrow, we're hiking the Crypt Lake Trail.


  1. Excellent summary of your experience. I LOVE this national park. Thanks for sharing. - Carolyn


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