Waterton Lakes National Park thumbnails only

Crypt Lake Trail, Waterton Lakes National Park Crypt Lake Trail, Waterton Lakes National Park
I hiked about 50 miles of trails on this trip to Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park. And the Crypt Lake Trail in Waterton Lakes National Park was the most memorable.
 
The Crypt Lake Trail is ranked at or near the top of all hiking trails in Canada.
 
This hike begins with a ferry ride across Upper Waterton Lake to a dock at the trailhead. This lake happens to be in one of the windiest locations in Canada - meaning that the boat encounters rough water on this trip (waves were breaking over the top of the smaller boat that returned us to the marina).
 
Once on land, the 10.8 mile, 2,300' elevation gain trail starts in a pretty forest. Over time, the landscape opens up with great views. The trail narrows and the edges of the trail become steeper. And then you reach the cliff - and adrenaline releases.
 
People mentioned the narrow trail at the top, but "sidewalk" widths were referenced to us. That would not be even close to accurate.
 
I didn't have the strength left in me (having hiked about 40 miles before this trail) to carry more than one lens on this hike and 24mm was not wide enough to take in this absolutely spectacular view. The panorama seen here was my solution to that problem.
 
If you look carefully at the cliff on the left side of this photo, you can see a tiny line that is called the trail at this point. If might be 2 shoes wide, but it is sloped, not smooth and is covered with scree (small loose stones). As you can see, down appears to be a 1,000' step.
 
It gets better. See the dark spot on the rock just above where the trail ends? There is a narrow (one shoe+ wide) steel ladder bolted into the rock that leads to a cramped, mostly natural tunnel. And it gets even better at the other side of the tunnel.
 
You have to step down over rocks to the trail - which makes the trail on the other side of the tunnel look like the sidewalk it was referenced to be. The trail is barely a shoe width wide (being generous with my memory) and again filled with scree. But, you have a heavy cable bolted to the side of the mountain to hold onto. But, this cable is bolted at trail level - forcing you to walk bent far over. And, the cable is floppy - not tight.
 
The trail ends at a beautiful lake, but the view seen above from the face of the cliff is my biggest memory.
 
I should mention that, at this time of the year, there is one ferry to and one ferry from the dock each day. We had to be back before that second ferry left the dock to avoid an overnight in the wilderness. There was only one other person in this entire wilderness area on the day we hiked Crypt Trail.
 
The Crypt Lake Trail hike is an unforgetable, amazing experience.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/30s  ISO 125
Waterton Lakes Mule Deer Buck Waterton Lakes Mule Deer Buck
When photographing animals, shooting from their height typically works very well. This mule deer buck was not afraid of humans, but capturing an in-focus, pleasingly-framed image was quite challenging.
 
252mm  f/5.6  1/200s  ISO 100
Upper Waterton Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park Upper Waterton Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park
The beautiful town of Waterton Lakes sits at the bottom of the distant mountain. The cloud formations in this area were constantly incredible.
 
Standing on the dock at the base of the Crypt Lake Trail, I struggled to select the framing I wanted for this picture. Since I did not have the ability to return here, I opted to shoot a wide panorama and worry about the framing later. This is the result. I still have not cropped the image.
 
24mm  f/16.0  1/20s  ISO 200
Vimy Peak, Waterton Lakes National Park Vimy Peak, Waterton Lakes National Park
The cloud formations hanging over the Vimy Mountain peak in Waterton Lakes National Park were continuously amazing during my time there. I'm ready to go back.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/60s  ISO 160
Clouds and Rock Formations on Crypt Trail Clouds and Rock Formations on Crypt Trail
The clouds seem to match the rock formations under it in this picture taken from the Crypt Lake Trail in Waterton Lakes National Park.
 
55mm  f/11.0  1/30s  ISO 100
Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton Lakes National Park Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton Lakes National Park
The Prince of Wales Hotel, otherwise known as Where My Wife Wants to Stay, sits high above the Waterton Lakes in Waterton Lakes National Park.
 
This location also happens to be one of the windiest in Canada. The hotel actually blew off of its foundation during constrtuction.
 
The girls enjoyed leaning at near 45 degree angles into the wind using their coats like kites. I did not enjoy the wind-blown stones hitting me and the camera. Capturing a sharp image here was not easy.
 
24mm  f/8.0  1/125s  ISO 200
Alberta Sunset Alberta Sunset
This Alberta sunset was captured just off of Rt 2 south of Cardston. I moved in close to the fence and got down low so that the top of even the closest fence post was above the horizon.
 
24mm  f/11.0  .5s  ISO 100
Akamina Parkway Scene, Waterton Lakes National Park Akamina Parkway Scene, Waterton Lakes National Park
The drive from Waterton Lakes to Cameron Lake on the Akamina Parkway is a very scenic one. There are few roads in Waterton Lakes NP.
 
50mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 100
Prince of Wales Hotel and Middle Waterton Lake Prince of Wales Hotel and Middle Waterton Lake
Shooting the beautiful Prince of Wales Hotel from the shores of Middle Waterton Lake at sunset appears to be an easy shot. What the picture does not make fully apparent are the high winds I encountered here. I opted to increase the ISO setting to allow a shorter shutter duration - to keep the image sharp (even though using a tripod).
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 320
Driftwood on Upper Waterton Lake Driftwood on Upper Waterton Lake
Driftwood rests against the shore of Upper Waterton Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park. This lake is very scenic itself, but the mountain-formed clouds that continually hang over this area are a great help to photographic compositions.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/40s  ISO 200
Cameron Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park Cameron Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park
Cameron Lake lies at the end of the Akamine Parkway - the most south and west location reachable by vehicle in Waterton Lakes National Park.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 100
Cameron Falls, Waterton Lakes National Park Cameron Falls, Waterton Lakes National Park
Cameron Falls, located in the town of Waterton, is very easily accessible.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/20s  ISO 100
Crypt Lake Trail View Crypt Lake Trail View
While the Crypt Lake Trail begins with a walk in the forest, the views open up to extremely vast by the time you reach the cliffs.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/30s  ISO 160
Cameron Creek, Waterton Lakes National Park Cameron Creek, Waterton Lakes National Park
Cameron Creek connects Cameron Lake from the southwest with the Waterton Lakes in the central part of Waterton Lakes National Park. The late-day sun hits this valley very nicely.
 
67mm  f/11.0  1/40s  ISO 100
Vimy Peak, Waterton Lakes NP Vimy Peak, Waterton Lakes NP
Wimy Peak, Waterton Lakes National Park receives the last sunlight of the day. The wind-blown foreground evergreens are on the small plateau the Prince of Wales Hotel is built on. I too was battling extreme wind (perhaps 50 MPH sustained) while taking this photo.
 
24mm  f/8.0  1/125s  ISO 400
Mule Deer Buck in Upper Waterton Lake Mule Deer Buck in Upper Waterton Lake
A small mule deer buck is about to leave Upper Waterton Lake after getting a drink. There is a small herd of mule deer in the town of Waterton. A doe had just chased this buck out of the grassy area the heard was feeding in.
 
60mm  f/9.0  1/125s  ISO 320
Leaving Waterton Lakes National Park Leaving Waterton Lakes National Park
The sun has set and only the highest clouds over Waterton Lakes National Park are catching the light. This scene was captured from Rt 5 after leaving the park (heading toward Cardston, Alberta).
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/8s  ISO 100
Crypt Lake Trail Tunnel, Waterton Lakes National Park Crypt Lake Trail Tunnel, Waterton Lakes National Park
The most exciting part of the Crypt Lake Trail is not for the faint of heart - or for those who fear heights. The narrow walkway on this side of the tunnel is wide compared to what is on the other side.
 
50mm  f/11.0  1/30s  ISO 500
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