After you enter Waterton Lakes National Park it isn’t long before the beautiful Prince of Wales hotel appears prominently atop a hill on the shores of Upper Waterton Lake.
The Prince of Wales Hotel was constructed in 1926-1927 and is steeped with history. The hotel was built during one of their windiest and snowiest winters and collapsed two times before the final completion of the building. It was named after the Prince of Wales in hopes that he would one day visit but he never did. If the walls could talk there would be lots of stories of the adventurers who traveled in the early days from Glacier National Park in Montana. Alberta’s prohibition ended in 1924 while in the US it was still in full force. This encouraged many people to want to travel north for a bit of “fun”!
The hotel is a National Historic Site and is known for its’ architecture with a rustic design and timber frame interior with a alpine chalet feel. It is still in operation today as a hotel and provides glorious views over the mountains and Upper Waterton Lake.
The Royal Stewart dining room provides old world and Canadian fare with fabulous views. We enjoyed a window table with leek and potato croquettes as an appetizer and a delicious salmon dinner. It was fabulous and a very memorable evening.
After dinner as we were preparing to depart and return to the Townsite Campground where we were staying (just a few miles away) we encountered a talk about the history of the hotel. It has just begun so we stopped and listened and learned more about the hotel and the Kenow wildfire in 2017 which burnt about 40% of the park. Firemen worked round the clock to save the Prince of Wales hotel successfully!
If you walk about the back of the hotel you can see a fabulous view of Upper Waterton Lake and the town of Waterton Park. You may also see some of the boats which offer scenic boat tours from town.
Cameron Falls is just a short hike (5 or 10 minutes) from our campsite at Townsite Campground and offers a few interpretive signs along with trailheads and of course, the falls!
Red Rock Canyon is about 15 miles from town and is a lovely drive. At the end of the road are trailheads, some falls, and a canyon full of red rock.
Lake Cameron is about 13 miles down another road and is, like Red Rock Canyon, at the end of the road. It is a beautiful lake with boat rentals and scenic views.
The lake looked like a great place to rent a canoe and spend the day.
The drive back to Wateron Park was lovely and scenic.
The park is somewhat small compared to the larger, more well known parks but rivals them in beauty and scenery and is full of charm and quaintness. It is one of our favorite national parks in Canada.