Kayaking, fishing and hiking in Waterton Lakes National Park

“Waterton Lakes is like the Banff 30 years ago”, a friend of mine told me. And I like it exactly for that reason – the crystal clear lakes, the great waterfalls, the magnificent mountains, and the wildlife and so on, without too much human interference.

During the May 2015 long weekend, we went camping at Townsite Campground in Waterton Lakes. We enjoyed kayaking and fishing on Cameron Lake and Upper Waterton Lake, hiking (or snowshoeing without snowshoes, LOL) to Forum Lake, to Lineham Creek, and to Bears Hump (where you can have a nice bird-view of the town of Waterton Lakes).

It was rainy on the day we went kayaking and fishing on Cameron Lake (parking lot GPS coordinates: 49.020079, -114.045095). But the weather didn’t stop us from having fun. Actually, I and my wife loved paddling our new Pelican Unison 136T tandem kayak all the way from the boat launch to the CANADA-US boarder, where we noticed thin ice covering the US part of the lake (is this why they call it glacier park? LOL). We intended to have our friends kayaking together if the boat rental was open. Unfortunately, the boat rental was closed until June 15.

Read my review of the kayak here.

Kayaking on Cameron Lake
Kayaking on Cameron Lake May 2015 (features a tandem kayak Pelican Unison 136T)

The Cameron Creek outflow reportedly is a good spot for fishing brook trout and rainbow trout. But the water at the outflow was very shallow and the water temperature around 5 degrees C. I knew that trout generally like around 10 degrees C, so that might explain why I didn’t have a bite, haha. My Eagle Lowrance sonar fishfinder detected water depth at 20 to 30 meters most of the time at the center part of the lake. But I have read articles saying that the maximum depth of Camera lake was over 40 meters. For your information, you can buy National Park fishing licenses at the information center. The park gate doesn’t carry fishing licenses.

Read my post: how to use fish finders to help you catch more fish

The above video: 360 degree view of Cameron Lake while kayaking.

One the driveway back to Waterton Lakes Townsite from Cameron Lake, we were lucky enough to see a cinnamon black bear (yes, a black bear can be cinnamon in color). See below a youtube video of the cinnamon black bear eating along the driveway. In the beginning I thought it was a grizzly, but I was convinced that it was actually a cinnamon black bear due to the lack of a hump on its back and the “Roman rose” face.

The first thing we wanted to do was to start a fire and get warm and dry after we came back to the campsite. Luckily, we have kitchen shelters at Townsite camp. So we bought some firewood from a general grocery store in the town and started a fire. While cooking with gas stoves, we got our clothes and ourselves warm and dry, which was and is very important for a day like that.

Townsite camp kitchen
Townsite camp kitchen in Waterton Lakes National Park May 2015

Check below for a youtube video of how I started a fire with a magnesium alloy (reportedly a mixture of about 7 metals?) firestarter and a Gerber Bear Grylls knife, which I carry everywhere with me for my hiking, kayaking, fishing, and camping trips. I actually used the knife as an axe to split firewood into kindle and make tinder or “wood feather”. To use the knife or any other tough knives as an axe, you need to put the knife on one end of a firewood log and hammer it all the way down to the other end. Of course, you can just use a piece of firewood log to serve as a hammer instead of carrying a real hammer with you. To some extent, I’m a minimalist.

On the second day, a group of us went hiking to Forum Lake, while the others went hiking to Bears Hump, which took them about 30 minutes to get to the top (yes, they are good hikers). I went hiking to Forum Lake, which was a little surprise as there was thick and loose snow on the trail in May in southern Alberta and British Columbia… Anyways, it was a great hike and we enjoyed throwing snowballs to each other.

Forum Lake in Waterton Lakes
Forum Lake Hiking Trail in Waterton Lakes National Park

The Bears Hump hiking trail, where the second group of us went, is fairly short but a bit steep. That being said, it worth all the efforts as it’s a good peak to see the town the the lakes. After the hiking, we got wet again. So, we went back to the wood stoves in one of the kitchen shelters and started another fire. Isn’t it nice to have a fire in a cold day!

In the evening, I went kayaking and fishing at Cameron Creek mouth where it meets Upper Waterton Lake. I saw two motor boats fishing there as well.

Upper Waterton Lakes May 2015
Upper Waterton Lakes May 2015

One of the gentlemen caught a good sized fish jigging around the creek mouth. But I didn’t even have a bite this time. I was thinking I should come back to the same spot when the weather gets warmer. After kayaking, I and my buddy saw three white tail deer having dinner at the shore. During one of the nights, my friend Joey Qin took a picture of the stars at Upper Waterton Lake. Great thanks to Joey for his generous support with his great photos.

Upper Waterton Lake May 2015
Upper Waterton Lake May 2015

On the last day, we drove to Red Rock Canyon. The scene was great and it was quite relaxing, after two days of activities. The end of the scenic Red Rock Canyon drive was of course the Red Rock Canyon. One can take a short walk along the two sides of the canyon, connected by a bridge.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Acknowledgement:
Most of the photos were taken and provided by my good buddy Mr. Joey Qin. So, great thanks to Joey!

Grizzly and Black Bears in Banff and Jasper National Parks

Banff and Jasper National Parks offer great opportunities for wildlife viewing. Bear-watching offers both adults and children exiting moments in travel. This posts summarizes locations I have seen grizzly or black bears. Note that I never tried hiking to a remote area just to see bears. Actually, the bears I’ve seen are all found not far away from highways. See pictures below for more detailed information.

Further reading:

Tips for safe travel in bear country