Hike Hike to Crypt Lake in the Waterton Lakes Nationalpark: Position on map

Hike to Crypt Lake

Hike to Crypt Lake


Min: 4213 ft
Max: 6388 ft
Uphill: 2113 ft
Downhill: 299 ft
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last update on Sep 12, 2016
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Distance: 10.44 miles
Duration:6 h
Loop trail
Min: 4213 ft
Max: 6388 ft
Uphill: 2113 ft
Downhill: 299 ft

Trail characteristics

Forest track
Hiking trail
Experts only


Unfortunately, there is no webcam available yet!

Route description

First stage to Burnt Rock Falls

After taking the ferry to the actual starting point of the tour, start hiking on serpentines through forest. Soon you'll leave the woods and a view across mountain sides will emerge. Now pass the north side of Crypt Valley and after approximately 5,6km/3.5mi you'll get to Burnt Rock Falls. This beautiful waterfall is a great opportunity to take a rest and enjoy the nature. 

Waterfalls everywhere

After leaving Brunt Rock Falls the trail becomes more challenging by leading continuously uphill. This steep ascent however is worth the trouble since you'll get awarded with a great view across Crypt Falls, once you reached the top. Above the waterfall you will also see the valley, which is home of Crypt Lake. The view up there is simply incredible.

Adventurous climbing

Afterwards you'll pass an old campsite, which is unfortunately closed since 2008 therefore you can't use it to stay overnight. Soon you'll follow a small path that seems like a dead-end at first but really is the beginning of some tunnels along the way. An iron ladder leads down into a 40m deep tunnel. Continue now on a rocky path, on which you mainly orientate yourself with a steel rope. Admittedly you should be careful during this stage but you'll be suprised this part is saver than it first seems.

Pure beauty awaits

After this rather adventurous stage you continue hiking along the upper part of Crypt Falls and eventually get to Crypt Lake, which is a perfect opportunity to take a rest and enjoy the incredible backdrop. Continue your tour by hiking around the lake and then walk in opposite direction back to the port to catch the ferry back to Waterton.


Suitable for dogs
Sturdy shoes necessary

Where to eat

Neither on the ferry nor along the way there will be any possibility to buy food or drinks therefore you should make sure to bring enough with you.

Interesting facts

Read more
  • You're traveling a distance of 11 miles on this moderate trail. Average length of all hikes in Alberta is 12 miles.
  • Elevated between 4213 ft and 6388 ft, the hike is among the 10 highest elevated hikes in Canada. You're facing an uphill climb of 644 vertical meters on this hike. This makes the hike one of the 10 hikes with the most ascent in Canada.
  • It’s ok to bring your best friend on this dog friendly hike.
  • Make sure to bring sturdy footwear on this track. Hiking boots are highly recommended.

Highlights of the tour

Various waterfalls along the way as well as Crypt Lake are definitly highlights of this tour. Also the big rock formations around the lake, which may still be frozen at some spots, in combination with the ice blue water are total eyecatchers.

Getting here

By car:

From Calgary

To get to Waterton take highway 2 south towards Fort MacLeod. When you get there continue on highway 3 west and further on Highway 6 through Pincher Creek, before you get to Waterton.


In case you prefer a longer road with a nicer view you should take highway 7, right after highway 2 and drive towards Black Diamond. Continue on highway 22 south and eventually via highway 3 and 6, through Pincher Creek to Waterton.


From Glacier National Park / Kalispell

During summer you may drive on highway 2 towards West Glacier. Via Going-to-the-Sun road you'll soon reach St. Mary, where you change to highway 89 and cross the Chief Mountain Border. Afterwards take highway 6 and highway 5 west to get to Waterton.


All year round you'll get to the starting point via highway 2. Simply drive through Fathead National Forest to East Glacier Village, take highway 49 to get onto highway 89, on which you continue towards the border to Carway. Afterwards take Alberta highway 2 to Cardston. Eventually on highway 5 west you'll get to Waterton.

By public transportation

There is a Greyhound bus running from Pincher Creek to Waterton, which you may use.

By plane:

Closest airports are Fall Calgary International and Kalispell (Montana), which are both a 3-4h drive away from Waterton. Lethbridge also has an airport, which is smaller but only 1.5h away from Waterton.


In Waterton itself, which is located northwest of Upper Waterton Lake, continue towards the port. Boats will get you to Crypt Lake. Adults pay $20, children $10 for the ferry, which leaves daily  at 9am and 10am and comes back at 4pm and 5.30pm.



Waterton Marina
Waterton Park
T0K 2M0
Waterton, Alberta
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