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June 14, 2024 June 14, 2024

This Scenic Alberta Day Hike Takes You Across the U.S. Border

Posted on June 5, 2024 by Britanny Burr

Tucked away in Southern Alberta in Waterton Lakes National Park lies a special international boundary. This pristine body of water not only boasts a beautiful backdrop but also serves as a natural border between Canada and the United States at the 49th parallel. Remarkably, it offers a bucket list experience: the ability to cross into two countries in one day. Follow along as we explore the exclusive journey across Upper Waterton Lake, where travellers can experience crossing an international boundary in a way that’s possible nowhere else in North America.

The Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is a one-of-a-kind trans-boundary park, a harmonious blend of Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta and Glacier National Park in Montana. This park, established in 1932 as the world’s first International Peace Park, is the perfect example of the power of collaboration and peace. It's a UNESCO World Heritage site, a testament to its natural beauty and diverse ecosystems. Since its inception, the two nations have united to safeguard the park's waters, plants, and wildlife, setting a precedent for peace parks worldwide.

The journey commences at Waterton Village via the Lakeshore Trail, a moderately easy path that starts at the Bertha Trailhead. From here, hikers meander along the western shore of Upper Waterton Lake, heading south towards the Goat Haunt Ranger Station. The hike to Goat Haunt is a 13.5 km one-way trek, offering hikers a chance to traverse trails that unveil breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and Waterton Lake.

Guided hikes led by Parks Canada Interpreters and National Park Service rangers take place all summer long. Visitors can also reach Goat Haunt by paddling, taking a personal watercraft, or enjoying a scenic interpretive cruise.

If travelling by boat, visitors can anchor at Goat Haunt for a stop at the International Boundary at the “Hands Across the Border” monument.  It allows visitors to enjoy the remote surroundings and take in the beauty of the natural scenery. This is a true reminder of the peace and friendship shared between the two nations. This location serves as the port of entry into the U.S. If travellers want to continue hiking or exploring from this point on, they require proper documentation as with any other U.S. entry point. Maps of hikes in the Goat Haunt area can be found on Glacier National Park’s website.

It’s important to note that all personal non-motorized watercraft require an inspection, and motorized watercraft require a 90-day quarantine before launching into Waterton Lake.

The journey through the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park not only offers spectacular natural beauty and recreational opportunities but is also an absolute bucket list experience. It’s a true testament to the power of transcending boundaries. Plan your cross-border summer adventure today!

All visitors are encouraged to check trail reports and Parks Canada for the latest information on current conditions.

Britanny Burr is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the Great West Media & Southern Alberta Newspapers Hot Summer Guide advertising feature. The Hot Summer Guide is a special feature about summer activities, bucket list adventures, staycation options, road trips, attractions, events, and road trip-worthy food & beverage destinations across Alberta. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.

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