Thursday, September 28, 2017

Two Must-Visit Canadian National Parks

Fall is the perfect time to visit the Canadian National Parks for FREE!  Here are two lesser-known true hidden gems, where you won't find the tourist crowds: Yoho Ntl. Park in BC and Waterton Ntl. Park in Alberta.

Waterton Ntl. Park
Located at the end of HWY 5, it rises up from the golden grasslands of the Canadian prairies, into the high Rockies. When I traveled through the Blackfoot Nation territory in the northern part of the park, I saw lots of Bisons in the rolling hills. But the Grizzly Bears, Cougars, and Wolves who live in the mountains where hiding - thank goodness. The only dangerous animal found my dog: a Rattle Snake, but a dead one. Later that day we would encounter a Brown Bear mother with three cute cups which was safe as we had just entered our car.

Crypt Lake Trail Hike
From the Waterton Park Townsite take the ferry to access the trail. The hike passes the famous Crypt Falls which spectacularly ascend 150 meters down into the Crypt Lake. The tour is voted by National Geographic as one of the best hikes in the world. The area is also unique as there is a "green border" between Canada and the US - designated as an International Peace Park

Waterton Lakes National Park is bordering Montana’s Glacier National Park. It’s known for its chain of lakes, including the large Upper and Middle Waterton lakes, flanked by the Rocky Mountains.
Get maps and brochures of this year-round Park: 


Yoho National Park in British Columbia
Not far from the "border" to Alberta, adjacent to the famous Banff Ntl. Park, and close to the Trans-Canada Hwy, one can almost miss this hidden gem.

I stayed overnight in Field, in a classic 50s lodge, and admired the grandiose mountain scenery in the morning, and watched a bunch of snowshoe hikers who started their ascent into the April day.

Yoho is a Cree Name
It means "wonder" and "awe" for a reason: There are 28 mountain peaks, rock walls, and lots of stunning waterfalls. I was glad to travel the area in April, as the mountains looked gorgeous with their snow caps.
I also saw the sign "Kicking Horse Pass" when traveling east towards Lake Louise, but only later I learned what the funny name means. During a 1858 expedition to the West, one of the participants was kicked in the chest by a horse. He named the nearby mountain pass "Kicking Horse Pass" and the name stays forever. What I missed on this trip where the breath-taking Wapta Falls in the area, just an easy 40-minute hike from the pass away.

Maps and Info: