Catch the water shuttle to Crypt Landing for the 5.4-mile hike to Crypt Lake. On the way to the lake, hikers pass several waterfalls, sidle along steep trails, creep through a natural tunnel, and climb 3,000 feet. This is a hike to challenge both muscles and nerves. It’s rather scarier than most day hikes, but when you get to the lake you’re up there with the mountain goats.
Walkers and bicyclists share the Townsite Trail, a two-mile tour that you can catch along the lakefront in the town site and take to Cameron Falls.
Take off from the park information center and follow the trail up the Bear’s Hump, a hard rock protrusion that stopped the advance of the huge glacier that filled Waterton Valley during the last ice age. From the top of the hump, you’ll have a great view of the lakes and town below. It’s less than a mile to the top of the ridge, but the climb is steep and views are often accompanied by stiff winds.
The Bertha Lake Trail is a 3.5-mile tromp starting at the town site and heading through montane and subalpine forests to a high cirque lake. Waterton is known for its variety of wildflowers, and they’re particularly well-displayed along this trail. For hikers who are not up to the seven-mile round-trip, Bertha Falls is just under two miles up the same trail.
Take the tour boat to Goat Haunt at the south end of Upper Waterton Lake and from there hike one mile to Rainbow Falls and back, or take off on foot back to the Waterton town site. There’s an eight-mile trail up the west side of the lake, although the trail passes mostly through lodgepole pine, Engelmann spruce, and some aspen and birch trees with only a few views over the lake.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition