Favourite Alberta Road Trips – the Cowboy Trail to Waterton National Park
Although a year old, the Huffington Post’s Alberta Road Trips: 12 Places To See in 2014 popped into my Facebook feed yesterday. I was quite delighted to see I’d visited 9 of the 12 recommended locales. (I love my province!) It prompted me to share the pleasure of a couple of days in Waterton Lakes National Park last summer. They say it’s 3 hours south of Calgary. Technically, yes it is. Realistically, and if you want to get the most pleasure and amazing scenery out of the journey, take the lesser traveled Highway 22x south (The Cowboy Trail), and meander, pulling off to shoot pictures along the way. Allow a good 5 hours to do it ‘properly’!
The end of August morning dawned crisp, with a morning haze.
And that was just the drive down. Once there, attractions and wildlife abound…
Waterton is home to diverse wildlife. (Moose still elude me.) There has not been a single trip down where I haven’t seen at least one bear. This time it wasn’t a ‘close encounter‘. There was a car and a field between me and mama. She was rushing her little ones to safety from one bank of trees, across open plain, to the next forested zone.
Once in the park itself, take a boat ride on the historic M.V. International. Presentations about the area eco-system are informative. If you’re lucky, you may spot a bear along the shoreline. (I didn’t this time.) A stiff breeze often prevails, but I was fortunate to capture it flat calm.
Take the Akamina Parkway up to Cameron Lake.
Take the Red Rock Parkway through the Blakiston Valley ending in Red Rock Canyon.
The Chief Mountain Parkway also has a spectacular viewpoint across the entire valley, but I wasn’t thrilled with my photos from that one (I’m my own worst critic). The grasslands near Maskinonge Lake were more rewarding.
The Waterton Wildflower Festival in June is well worth a visit – and the potential to be an entire blog of it’s own. I’ll limit myself to just a couple of quick floral captures!
That was far longer than I’d intended, but trust me when I say I struggled to whittle it down to ‘just’ 40ish photos! If you’re planning a trip to Alberta this year, I highly recommend this jaunt. And do it over a couple of days. Yes, it can be done in one but, in the words of Travel Alberta, you need to ‘Remember to Breathe‘!