24 hours in Charming Waterton, Alberta
This small mountain town, a couple hours south of Calgary, made for the perfect summer getaway. A trip to Waterton, AB was recommended by many; with a ton of outdoor activities, and Rocky Mountain surrounding the town, I can see why! The drive was very easy from YYC and I enjoyed the views so much I made Kelly pull the car over. I had never seen canola fields and these bright yellow flowers lined the highway the whole way down. The scenery was breathtaking as we rolled into town and caught the sight of a brown bear in the midst of many wildflowers on our right and the famous Prince of Wales on our left.
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The Great Outdoors
Waterton was very convenient as most places are in walking distance. There are several restaurants and retail shops within a mile radius. Hiking paths and horse back riding are just a short drive, which is very convenient so we did not waste any time.
Pat's Waterton Pat's was the place to be for bike rentals and more, however we did not get the opportunity to go biking or rent their group bikes that groups were riding all over town. As we walked by many families were lined up on Friday and Saturday.
About a week before heading to Waterton I called and booked a 9 am ride at Alpine Stables. Located 5 minutes from our hotel we were excited to hit the trail! We arrived at 8:30 am and the crew was bringing out the horses as we were the first group of the day. After being fitted for our helmets they paired us up with our horse for the ride. With a quick briefing we were on our way led by Shay and 11 year old Lydia. The scenery was stunning with sweeping mountain landscapes, blue skies and meadows filled with wildflowers. We rode through a variety of terrain, and Lydia was explaining different types of flowers and the many horses they had at the stables. She was an incredible young lady and is going to make a fantastic tour guide. All of the horses were beautiful, gentle and well-trained. We had a most enjoyable ride with Alpine Stables!
-Wear Jeans, closed toed shoes, and sunglasses if it is bright out
-Apply sunscreen and bug spray prior
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This 3 mile hike was not overly crowded and had an amazing view of the mountains and the surrounding lake half way up. Trees that lined the hike were still burnt from the 2017 fire with some green returning. We walked to the lower falls area and sat and relaxed for 20 minutes before we turned back.It took us about 2 hours and was worth it.
Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock was overly crowded as it was a beautiful day around 11am on a Saturday. Both lots were very full with families wanting to hike and take a dip. We found parking and decided to walk one side of the loop towards the waterfalls. This vivid red-colored canyon was a fascinating sight as we crossed the bridge over the Red Rock Creek. The hike towards the falls was lined with the burnt trees from the 2017 fire but it was oddly pretty. It was truly a shame the popularity of this hike, as I wish we went earlier in the morning to relax and hang out.
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This was our last stop before we left Waterton. It was indeed a driftwood beach with wood washed up all over the shore. The view of the Prince of Wales hotel is great but it is difficult to walk around the area. Several people were having small picnics or sun bathing in chairs.
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Food & Drinks
This is a local hot spot with a steady line from 11:30am-2:30pm. We were ready for lunch and got in line. Inside there was a small menu and come to find out the serve Nathan's New York Hotdogs! With a variety of toppings and some fry options I got the Nathans dog, with deli mustard and banana peppers and a side of sweet potato fries with chipotle mayo! We waited about 5 minutes for our food, found a bench in their seating area outside, and dug in. Our lunch was great and I suggest checking this spot out on your lunch break.
Thirsty Bear was our favorite spot in Waterton. The manager and hostess were very accommodating right when we arrived as they were busy and we got a seat outside. The vibe of the live music and the patio atmosphere was wonderful. I ordered the 'Life's a Peach' and it was so delicious! Following, our group had a couple of pitchers and ordered our food with warning that the portions would be large; and they indeed were. The food was delicious, and the servers were fun and engaging. I higly recommend the Thirsty Bear!
We stopped in for a drink at Lakeside before tea at the Prince of Wales and got a great table on the patio. It was a beautiful day and the outside seating had an adorable fountain area and great views. The wait staff was friendly but a bit slow as I think they were setting up for a function. I tried the 'Berry Smash' and it was wonderful. If we head back to Waterton I would love to eat at Lakeside as the menu looked pretty good!
Partaking in this unique Waterton tradition was a must before we returned home. They do not take reservations so it is a first come first serve basis from 1pm-4pm. The parking lot was very busy, however we were seated right away and pricing began at $33 per person. The staff was dressed in red plaid uniforms, which added to the charm. The mountains were stunning though the large glass windows and the dining room had a vintage feel. We got the opportunity to choose from a variety of tea, which was brought out first. The room was pretty hot and our tray of food took a bit of time, so we were eager to dig in when it arrived. You do not get to choose the treats, but the finger foods that were brought out were pretty good. Top layer had a chocolate moose and carrot cake. The Middle layer had amazing scones with soft butter and jam. The bottom plate had a salmon moose sandwich and a cucumber sandwhich. We enjoyed the full tray and all of the tea but left a bit hungry. The views from the dining room truly make the experience that much more enjoyable.
Located right in the middle of town and within walking distance to everything. Free parking, cozy beds, at a inexpensive price. There are several cottage type properties that each have about 8-10 hotel rooms in them.