When most people imagine a destination wedding, the first image that comes to mind is probably palm trees or a white sand beach. For mountain enthusiasts, however, the setting of this autumn wedding in the Canadian Rockies was an absolute dream! I had the privilege of witnessing two friends say their vows amidst the majestic mountains and lakes of Waterton Lakes National Park. While I was super excited to celebrate the couple’s union, I was also keenly aware that I couldn’t possibly stay in Waterton without exploring some of the trails! Luckily, there’s no shortage of trails – the only hard part was deciding which ones!
⟶ Where to Stay ⟵
Prince of Wales Hotel
This grand chalet-style hotel was built in the 1920’s to lure Americans tourists north of the border during the prohibition era. The hotel now operates from early June to mid-September each year. Reservations are open for the 2016 season. Room rates creep up as the hotel gets booked, so reserve your room early!
If glamping at a mountain chalet is outside your budget or your personal taste, there are nine backcountry campgrounds in Waterton Lakes National Park to choose from. Reservations for the 2016 season open on April 1, 2016.
If somewhere between glamping and roughing it is more your style, check out some of the vehicle-accessible campgrounds in the area. These vary from luxe fully serviced campsites to options that are a little more rustic. Reservations for the 2016 season open early this year: January 15, 2016.
⟶ Where to Play ⟵
If you’ve driven a sizeable distance to get to the park, you mostly likely will be arriving late afternoon to early evening. A great little adventure to stretch you and your dogs legs (if applicable) after a long drive to kick your trip off is the Bears Hump. A quick 2.4km return trail to a great view point over the townsite, lake and Prince of Wales will start you off right especially if you go up for sunset! Trail starts at the Visitor Info Centre Parking Lot.
This easy hike on an established trail starts in Waterton Village and skirts the west side of Upper Waterton Lake before winding up to Bertha Falls.
This rolling forest trail starts in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, then crosses the provincial boundary into Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park, British Columbia. From Waterton Village, take the scenic Akamina Parkway toward Cameron Lake to the well-marked trailhead.
About 3km into the Akamina Pass trail you’ll see a sign post indicating Forum Falls is on your right. It’s a quick 5 minute jaunt to the falls from here.
Follow the Akamina trail a little farther, and you’ll be greeted by the impressive Akamina Ridge towering over Wall Lake. Continue on the trail to the right of the lake and you’ll find a sweet lakeside lunch spot.
If you have time for a full day hike and the right gear and experience for a summit scramble, from Wall Lake follow the trail marked Bennett Pass and you’ll begin your ascent through the forest to Akamina Ridge!
⟶ Social Media ⟵
A childhood friend commented on one of my Instagram pics from this trip, saying that it looks like I have an awesome life. While I do make time for life-enriching adventures, most of my days are filled with mundane tasks. The reality is that long hours spent seated at a desk don’t photograph as well as time spent on the trail! My friend’s comment illustrates one of the problems with social media: it’s a hotbed for social comparison, where we compare the reality of our own lives to what little we see of others’.1 All the gritty details of our own lives will never stack up next to the selected highlights of others’ lives – what an unfair comparison! If we look at social media through this distorted lens it’s bound to get us down.2 It’s helpful to remember that behind every filtered photo there’s a real person who’s been through her share of set backs. Let’s keep on motivating each other to get outside and explore this gorgeous planet without losing sight of the common thread we share!
Social media has its merits too! It can be a useful tool for connecting with awesome people in real life. Having recently relocated to Calgary for grad school, I was looking for a way to get active outdoors and meet new people. What began with me following Hike365 on Instagram eventually turned into meaningful real-life connections with INSPIRING women! When I joined the Hike365 crew for the first time I was hoping to make some new friends, but I had no idea that those hours on the trail would blossom into wonderful friendships with AMAZING women who inspire me to push my limits, to overcome my fears, and to get out there every week to explore!
What are your best social media experiences? How do you leverage social media to enrich your real life? I’d love to hear in the comments section below!
Shannon resides in Calgary, where she’s pursuing her master’s degree + licensure as a Registered Psychologist with a specialization in couples counselling. Her clinical interests also include decision-making, stress management, and resilience. She takes advantage of the mountains to maintain balance in her life + to offset all of her time spent studying!
- Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations, 7(2), 117-140. doi:10.1177/001872675400700202
- Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Roberts, L. R., & Eckles, K. (2014). Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 3(4), 206-222. doi:10.1037/ppm0000047