Fantastic Four of Waterton-Glacier: the Peace Park Challenge is an
international hiking challenge hosted from Pearls Cafe in the townsite
of Waterton Lakes National Park. Following in the tradition of the Triple
Crown of Waterton, Fantastic Four takes 2 favourites from the
Canadian side of the border: Crypt Lake and Carthew-Alderson, and
adds in 2 favourites from Montana's Glacier National Park: Siyeh Pass
and the Garden Wall.
When you finish each hike leg, you register back at Pearls. When
you've completed all 4 hikes, you get your name on the Glory Board
and you also receive a flashy t-shirt to brag.
(The really cool thing is that if you've already done Crypt and Carthew-
Alderson, they will count that towards Triple Crown, and all you have
left to hike is Akamina to complete that challenge!)
Crypt Lake trailhead can only be reached by boat. If you don't have
private access to a boat of your own, you can take a shuttle put on by
Waterton Shoreline Cruises. It costs $20 for adults and the shuttle
leaves from the Waterton Marina at 10:30 AM to drop you off across
Waterton Lake. You then have the day to hike 9 km to Crypt Lake and
back before the shuttle comes to pick you up at 5:30 PM. This hike has
desert-like areas, many switch-backs and small waterfalls. If you have
the time, there is a detour you can take through Hell Roaring Falls.
Make sure you bring lots of water, at least 2 bottles per person or
have a filtration device. It is really easy to dehydrate on this trek as
you have direct sunlight on you and there is nowhere to stop to refill.
The coolest part of this hike is a small cavern tunnel you have to pass
through, followed by a cliff edge you must traverse holding a wire line.
Carthew-Alderson (16 km) is a 7-8 hour day hike that begins from the
trail head off of Cameron Lake Road, in Waterton Park. You drive up
there to start this one way hike that end in the Waterton townsite,
coming out just beside the Cameron Falls. It's best to either have
someone drop you off at the trailhead start, or have someone
available to drive you back to the trailhead to retrieve your car after
the hike is over. You climb atop the summit of Carthew and can see a
fantastic bird's eye view of the park. You also go through montane,
sub-alpine and alpine zones.
The Garden Wall in Glacier Park, is a section of the Highline Trail. This
hike begins at Logan Pass, across the highway from the Visitor
Center.18.5 km one way, the journey has an elevation gain of 830 ft
and ends at the loop on Going-to-the-Sun Road. You can expect to
take 4-5 hours. This is one of the less difficult hikes that are part of the
challenge. The best time to take on Garden Wall is July to October.
The trail follows a narrow ledge above Going-to-the-Sun Road. For this
reason, many people decide to turn back and end their hike after the
first 1/4 mile, but it does have very even and consistent elevation. Also
a great hike to see the Bird Woman Falls and plenty of wildlife!
On Siyeh Pass, a 16.5 km hike, you can expect a high-elevation route,
around Going-to-the-Sun Mountain. It is recommended to check on trail
conditions before you venture out: accumulated snow will sit on
Matahpi Peak until late into the hiking season.
You can spot unique rock formations of dolomite and limestone split
into "sandwiching" layers between green igneous diorite.
As you descend the last leg of the Baring Creek Valley's West wall,
exercise caution: grizzly bears are not a uncommon sighting. There are
also highwinds and many short switchbacks. That said, there's a great
view of Sexton Glacier.
Crypt Lake (Waterton): go to the Marina on Waterton Lake, from the
townsite, across from Pat's. This is where you buy boat tickets and
catch your shuttle.
Carthew-Alderson (Waterton): To reach Carthew-Alderson, you will
want to head up Cameron Lake Road/Akamina Parkway. The trailhead
leads off of the parking lot at Cameron Lake.
Garden Wall (Glacier): Begins at Logan Pass, across the highway from
the Visitor's Center. Exits at the "Loop" large hairpin turn on Going-to-
Siyeh Pass (Glacier): 3 miles east from Logan Pass on Going-to-the-