Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

#6 in Best Things To Do in Glacier National Park
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park picture
Wikimedia Commons

Key Info

Details

Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.5scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

In 1932, Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada, and Glacier National Park partnered to create the world's first International Peace Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Both parks are biosphere reserves, featuring spectacular scenery and a wide variety of plant and animal species. Although the park has minimal facilities, nearby Waterton Village is a charming small town filled with restaurants, hotels and gift shops. Travelers can also rent bikes and book boat tours in the village.

Recent travelers raved about this daytrip, noting that the Canadian side of the park is much less crowded than the American side. Reviewers were blown away by the stunning scenery and abundance of wildlife, including bighorn sheep. Many recommended the boat tour offered by Waterton Shoreline Cruise and almost all say a visit to the charming Waterton Village is a must. 

Visitors also noted that passports are needed since you're crossing a border and cautioned against bringing fresh fruit or vegetables, which are not allowed through customs. While both parks are also open year-round, the primary tourist season is during July and August. Each park has a separate entrance and entrance fee: normally the entrance fee for Waterton ranges from CA$3.90 (about $2.90) for children to CA$7.80 (around $5.80) for adults, but in honor of Canada's 150th anniversary, admission is complimentary throughout 2017. From St. Mary in Glacier National Park, it's a 27-mile drive to Waterton. If you prefer not to drive, Airport Shuttle Express offers trans-border service between the two parks (price varies according to pickup location in Glacier National Park). For more information, visit the Parks Canada website.

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More Best Things To Do in Glacier National Park

Apgar Nature Center1 of 9
Lake McDonald2 of 9
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Apgar Nature Center

Housed in a small cabin built in 1929, the Apgar Nature Center sits in a grove of cedar trees and is one of the official park visitor centers. The nature center features interactive activities for kids: children can feel a grizzly bear's fur, listen and identify birds by their "songs" or create their own puppet show. Educational displays detail plants found in the park and teach about the habitats of the vast array of wildlife. Ranger-led talks and other programs are held in the outdoor seating area.

Recent travelers recommended making this visitor center your first stop in the park to gather important information on road and weather conditions, bear sightings and trail closures. Families particularly enjoyed the junior ranger programs and special activities, and many visitors were impressed with the restaurant, the helpful staff and the free Wi-Fi. Many also noted that this is the place to park for free shuttle service and park tours.

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