Welcome to Canada – Waterton National Park, Alberta

Waterton Park, Alberta

We left our spot in Johnson’s of St. Mary RV park and headed north to visit Waterton Lakes National Park, the northern Canadian portion of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

The day was clear and cool as we headed over the Chief Mountain Highway toward the US-Canadian border.

Chief Mountain

The road meandered over hills with some nice views of the mountains of Glacier NP to the west.  We did see some ferocious wildlife along the way.

Wildlife along the Chief Mountain Highway

Mean Joe didn’t seem to concerned about a 40′ vehicle passing him (slowly)

Someone left the gate open!

The border crossing only took us about five minutes.  Four of those minutes were spent talking to the guard about life in a motorhome.

We quickly found Waterton Springs RV park and set up for a four night stay.  Then we headed about five miles south into the Waterton Park, a small, upscale vacation community nestled between the mountains along Waterton Lake.  The road into the park is dominated by the Prince of Wales Hotel, a landmark on a hill overlooking the village.

The Prince of Wales Hotel

The village only has about a hundred permanent residents, but during prime tourist season (July and August) it is a bustling community.  There is a very nice RV park in the village,but it is very popular and we couldn’t find an open site.

Decorative flower arrangements are found all over town

Look in any direction in Waterton Park and you are treated to a great mountain view.

The Prince of Wales Hotel dominates the view to the west.

Constructed between 1926 and 1927, the hotel was built by the American Great Northern Railway to lure American tourists north of the border during the prohibition era. The hotel was named after the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), in a transparent attempt to entice him to stay in the hotel on his 1927 Canadian tour, but the Prince stayed at a nearby ranch instead.

Rooms start at $199 and tea time is from 1 PM to 5 PM.

Afternoon entertainment in the lobby

Looking up at a chandelier in the lobby

View from the front of the hotel looking south into the U.S.

Tomorrow we head back into the USA, but on foot as we have reserved a spot on a ranger led hike to the south end of the lake.

More on that later . . .

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32 Responses to Welcome to Canada – Waterton National Park, Alberta

  1. ThoseYoungGuys says:

    Glad you are enjoying your time at Waterton. Looking forward to pics from Banff/Jasper!

  2. Liz says:

    I love Waterton and Banff. I have not been in that area in the 9 years since I’ve had my motorhome so will be following closely – I am so close…there is absolutely no excuse!

    And again, gorgeous photos!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Liz! This was our first visit to Waterton and will be our first visit to both Jasper and Banff. We are very excited. I hope the weather holds.

      • Liz says:

        The last time I was in Banff, the first week of September, it snowed about 8 inches. It was beautiful… Well, I LOVE snow …even when rving! At any rate, I think you will be amazed how beautiful it will be no matter what the weather. I always tell people that the mountains are another state of majestic compared even to the park. And the water, also.

        …now I want to go back right now 🙂 !!

  3. Sue says:

    I think you’re fooling with us John….I’m sure those pictures are from postcards you’ve purchased, they’re just too beautiful to be true! By the way, thanks for the obligatory flower picture…

  4. Well, you guys are far more caught up on your blog than we are! Your border crossing was a little less eventful than ours (though ours wasn’t a big deal either). Looks like the beautiful weather that began on our last day there has remained – wonderful!

  5. Ingrid says:

    That hotel is just beautiful as is the scenery. We drove through that area 15 years ago and were awed by the beauty….. stunning 🙂

  6. Rick Doyle says:

    What a beautiful old hotel – that’s a new one for me as I’d never heard of it.

    Sure is great looking scenery too.

  7. Box Canyon Blogger Mark says:

    Gorgeous!!! Just as I remember it (sigh).

  8. What a gorgeous old hotel! I am excited to read about your stay in Canada because we may do this late next summer.

  9. libertatemamo says:

    Now, that’s a snazzy old hotel. Looks like it should be in Austria (are you sure you didn’t accidentally end up there?)


    • placestheygo says:

      Nina, someone told us about the reason the hotel was built in that style. Of course, we can’t remember but it did have something to do luring the tourist the mountain. Maybe make them think they were in Austria:)

  10. Gay says:

    It’s beautiful…enjoy!

  11. Thank you for the great pictures, now we know what we missed and why we have to head up there next year! Hiking and beautiful sceneries all around.

  12. paul weaver says:

    That is such beautiful country!!!! Love the wildlife pics. Can you imagine building that hotel in those days and in that back country….WOW!

    • placestheygo says:

      Paul, there is a neat story online about how the hotel wings actually moved 7.5 cm from their foundation in 1926 with gale force winds in the area. They had to winch them back in position only to have it happen again in three months. This area was very windy the whole time we were there.

  13. LuAnn says:

    Your photos are just stunning Pam! The Prince of Wales Hotel looks like the idyllic setting for a wonderful vacation. That last image is breathtaking! 🙂

  14. Jodee Gravel says:

    That is one healthy cow! Stubborn too :-). The lake and the little town are just beautiful. I hope the RV park is just as nice. I’m always impressed by how many flowers there are in the little Canadian towns – perhaps they appreciate them more with the shorter summers. So, are you replacing your Starbucks with high tea now?

    • placestheygo says:

      That cow was interesting. He was not at all concerned with vehicles around him.

      I have come to believe the northern areas have beautiful flowers because it isn’t that hot but sunny. We found the same gorgeous flowers in Niagara on the Lake. Whatever it is, the flowers are everywhere and beautiful:)

      High tea at the hotel wasn’t happening, Jodee…$29.95 a person is a little much! But we are planning the hike to the Tea Chalet’s while in the northern Rockies.

  15. colibabas says:

    Welcome to Canada…eh! 🙂 You were fortunate to have calm weather on your visit. We had lots of wind on ours. Great pics!
    Safe travels!

    • placestheygo says:

      It may have looked like calm winds but we had lots of wind. It has been windy every day since we arrived in Two Medicine. It is still windy here in Calgary.

      Glad you enjoyed the photos:) Thanks!

  16. Laurel says:

    Wow — the scenery looks like a postcard! Very beautiful hotel, too — it definitely looks European. We think we’ll be heading up there next September, so we’re very happy to follow along with your explorations. Your photos are great — got a laugh out of the “ferocious wildlife.” 🙂

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Laurel:) The town of Waterton Village is much like being in the middle of a post card.

      September would be a nice time to visit if you don’t mind a little chill. There is a very nice campground right in town but we couldn’t get in before Labor Day. It is always windy on that side of the mountains so it was cool even at the end of August. But it was perfect for hiking.

      Yes, that bull was quite daring (or stupid) standing there as big as life and not moving even for us!

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