Waterton Lakes - Nature with no Political Boundaries

With Donald Trump winning the 2016 US Presidential Elections and, as a result, thousands of Americans wanting to move to Canada, I bet ther...

With Donald Trump winning the 2016 US Presidential Elections and, as a result, thousands of Americans wanting to move to Canada, I bet there are only few places left where you can legally canoe or hike between the two countries. One of them is Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park located at Alberta-Montana border which comprises of Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada and Glacier National Park in the United States.

It is the world's first park of such kind that knows no political boundaries. Having said that, you still need a valid passport if you want to land your canoe on the other side or want to stay in the other country after hiking the Lakeshore Trail that spans the two countries. I brought my passport with me just in case, but didn't need to use it.
Politics aside, Waterton Lakes is the place of unparalleled beauty. This is where the mountains meet Prairies.
It's amazing to see how rolling hills covered with grass suddenly become high peaks towering above the horizon.
Although Waterton Lakes can get pretty busy during its high season in June-September, it only receives a fraction of visitors to the Canadian Rockies comparing to world renowned Banff and Jasper National Parks. I had an option to visit those 'big brothers' of the Canadian national parks system, but chose Waterton Lakes instead. 
My host at a guest house said, 'Waterton Lakes is no less beautiful than Banff or Jasper.' Can't really compare yet, but I'm sure those places supplement each other and each has its own unique features.
The idea to connect the two national parks was brought up back in 1911 by the Waterton’s first park official, G. "Kootenai" Brown and the American Ranger, Henry "Death on the Trail" Reynolds. 
They realized that both parks share the same ecosystem which should not and could not be divided. Their idea finally went live in 1932, and both parks have been managed together since then. 
UNESCO designated the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park as a World Heritage Site in 1995 for its special physical significance to the world. It was the second World Heritage Site I visited in two days. The first one was Dinosaur Provincial Park.
Waterton Lakes covers only 1/10 of the international peace park. The rest 9/10 of the territory lies south of the border. Despite its relatively small size, Waterton Lakes National Park has a large number of hiking trails (including multi-day hikes with overnight backcountry camping), two scenic parkways, a youth camp and a full-blown tourist village with hotels, restaurants, galleries, shops, a theatre, a fudge factory, a 18-hole gold course and even a car service.
A Waterton's famous landmark - the beautiful Prince of Wales hotel.
American Great Northern Railway built it between 1926 and 1927 to attract American tourists during the prohibition era. 
Nestled by the Bosporus strait that connects Middle and Upper Waterton lakes, there is no better place to enjoy the 360 degree view of surrounding mountains.
Although it sounds like Waterton Lakes is a disneyland because of its vast infrastructure and accessibility, but you'd be surprised how wild this place is outside of the park village. 
These two black bears - a mother-bear and a cub - were eating some sort of grass by the road. I was able to take those pictures up close from my car's window.
They were relatively small comparing to a grizzly bear that I saw in Yukon. The mother-bear was probably a size of a Newfoundland dog. But it was scary when she snarled at a driver sitting in the car just in front of my car, so I even rolled up my window.
There is also a bison herd in the park. 
Their territory is fenced to keep them in and to protect them from predators and poachers. 
There were two places that I particularly liked at the park - the Red Rock Canyon and the view from Bear Hump Mountain. Below are the pictures of the Red Rock parkway, a scenic drive which is an absolute must at Waterton Lakes National Park.
While it's still nice and warm in the valley, mountain peaks are already covered with the first snow.
The Red Canyon is simply a jaw-dropping place. 
That's the most impressive palette of colours I've ever seen in the mountains.
Those rocks are sedimentary in nature. The layers of mud and sand compressed and cemented over time to become a sandstone. The green rocks contain non-oxidized iron whereas the red rocks contain about 3% oxidized iron. 
A sharp peak of Mount Anderson.
The second thing that fascinated me was the view from Bear Hump Mountain. 
The Bear Hump trail has a moderate to steep ascend and lots of steps.
Even this dog admires the view!
As I needed to drive to Edmonton to catch a red-eye flight back to Toronto, I only saw a fraction of what Waterton Lakes National Park has to offer. But it was enough to convince me that I need to come back one day and see more of its natural treasures. So should you!

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