Monday, June 24, 2024

June 24 – Blakiston Falls, Red Rock Canyon and Prince of Wales

Yesterday we did the 4.5 hour move down to Waterton Lakes National Park.

The first part of the drive up to Calgary was easy. Mostly downhill and our direction, the road was pretty empty. Going west, however, out of Calgary was packed, even stop and go in spots. I guess everyone headed for Canmore or Kananaskis on the weekend.

Heading south from Calgary was another story. Even though it was a sunny day the Weather Network icon for the day was wind. I didn’t realize southern Alberta was so flat. The wind was vicious, especially when you are driving something that is a brick on the front and a huge sail from the side. And the wind was never at our backs. It was struggle to even maintain close to the speed limit and several times I almost got blown into the opposing lane.

But we made it to the campground and were set up in our spot by around 2:30. Since the campground is right on the edge of town we decided to exercise our legs by walking around the area.

First stop was Cameron Falls just a very short walk from the campsite, basically in town.



Then we hit the visitors center and walked around downtown. It is such a nice change from Banff, not super crowded and parking spaces always available. And since the park is kind of out of the way there are very few rental RVs. There are not even a lot of big Class A motorhomes like ours. Only 3 in a campground of several hundred sites. Almost everything is a trailer.

One of the things to do is take a cruise down the lake. I was so used to booking far in advance at Banff that when I could not find any way to book online for the cruise, I walked down to the office and the lady said to just show up an hour before cruise time and you can easily get tickets.

We walked down to the waterfront to see what the lake was like. I don’t think I would want to be on the cruise today. There were huge rolling waves.

Looking up the lake. Hold on to your hat!


And back towards the Prince of Wales Hotel perched on its hill.


The campground itself is just the standard rows of slotted sites but we have full hookups and the scenery is pretty good.


The deer certainly have no fear. Anything that you want to keep from being eaten has to be fenced in.


Today was another bright sunny day that didn’t start out too windy. We drove up to the end of Red Rock Canyon Road with some nice long distance views.



Note the horse trailer ahead of us. That had us worried, remembering when we walked a trail in the Grand Canyon with fresh manure on the path, but it turns out they have separate trails for the horses.

Red Rock Canyon is right next to the parking lot at the end of the road. As is the trail head for the short 2 km return hike to Blakiston Falls. Here again it only got busy when a bus showed up and there always seemed to be parking. Such a nice change.

Since the sun was not quite high enough to illuminate the canyon, we did the hike to the falls first.


The path was wide and smooth and it was a gentle climb. There was a huge forest fire in 2017 so most of the trees are just burnt husks. It does allow you to see the scenery better though.


It was good thing that it as an easy trail because there were wildflowers everywhere to catch our attention.

We know this is a wild rose but we really should try and look up the names of the rest.






The horses went by above us on their own trail.


Our first view of the falls.


The falls were nice but the seemingly newly installed viewing platforms were amazing.



The view from the first platform.


Jennie was not thrilled with the see-thru grating but went anyway.



The photospheres show this kind of things the best.

Onward to the one over the falls.


The amount of money and work that went into these viewing platforms must have been crazy but they are beautiful.


Because the falls were right below us again the photosphere shows it best.

We followed the trail a little farther upstream.


And a photosphere from a little farther along.

Heading back down the trail..



Back at Red Rock Canyon the sun was now in it.


But so were a lot of people.


There is a trail that goes up the side of the canyon, across a bridge and back down and you are allowed to go down into it.

Jennie went down and then I joined here.


The photosphere from where I was standing above.

We sat and had lunch and took a photosphere from the spot.

It did get less busy for a while.




Some wildlife.


Looking farther up the canyon.


Several people with water shoes or no shoes waded up that way.

More expensive railing up the trail.


At the bridge at the top of the trail we could see a man and his son had gone a long way up the canyon and were far below us. Red shirt in the center of the picture below.



Back at the car it was only 12:30 so we drove back to town and did the 2 km looping hike around the hill that the Prince of Wales hotel sits upon.


We parked at the top of the map. We first went along the shoreline to the east.


The hillside was also covered in wild flowers.



Turning the corner at the bottom, the wind was very strong here as we looked directly down the lake.



Watching the rollers come in.


Then around the point in the picture above. We could see the peak of the hotel up the hill.


Jennie added to a lean-to.


Then up the hill to the hotel.


We watched a cruise boat head out.


Lots of splashes in the waves so probably not a smooth ride.


Made it to the top.



A photosphere.

It was very windy here and almost hard to stand up.

We went inside for the classic picture from the lobby.


A photosphere of the lobby.

As we were standing there we saw a charcuterie board being delivered to someone in the Windsor Lounge.


So …  They had only one choice of ciders, so we ordered the Wards Hard Apple Cider too.


It was really good and filled us up so we only needed a tiny dinner. We sat and watched everyone being blown around on the hill top.

We also chatted with the waiter, who is over here from Ireland working for the summer. He said we picked a good week because last week there was snow on the ground.

We eventually waddled down to the car and then home.

Yet another day in a long line of great adventures.

1 comment:

  1. What a great day at Waterton Lakes! We RV'd there in June 2017 and the weather was very similar. We picked a nice calm day and took the cruise down the lake and the water was like glass. The hiking gives you get view of the lake and the Prince of Wales Hotel is iconic without the hordes! Enjoy!