What better way to kick off a weekend in Waterton than with a beautiful day of hiking! On Friday I met up with Jo (Living Mint Green) to hike to Crypt Lake. We met up in the parking lot of the marina at about 9:30am as our boat to the trailhead left at 10:00am, yes that’s right, we got to take a boat to the start of the trail!
Leaving from the marina, it took about 15 minutes to get to Crypt Landing. There were about 25-30 people that got off the boat to go hiking, whereas on a typical summer weekend the boat would have been packed with closer to 100! From Crypt Landing, the trailhead is immediately on your right and we started our hike! It was a slow and steady climb, some parts steeper and more challenging than others but nothing super technical about the trail. It was very easy to follow and only a couple of fallen trees and a tunnel as obstacles!
The trail is 17.2km long roundtrip, with an added kilometre or so if you take the Hell Roaring Falls detour. It is recommended to take the detour on the way back to check out the falls, which is what we did! The trail covers about 700m of elevation gain (2500ft) which makes for some heart-pounding uphill climbs but an awesome descent on the way down.
Quite possibly the best part of the hike was the tunnel and cable section. There is a natural tunnel in the mountain on the way up to Crypt Lake that you have to crawl through to continue the hike! It is SO COOL! After the tunnel there is a section you have to climb around the side of the mountain, with plenty of room to do so safely, and a cable you can hold onto just to be certain. Jo and I agreed that the tunnel and cable sections needed to be longer, they were super fun!
It took us just under 3 hours to hike up to Crypt Lake where we stopped to enjoy the views, eat some lunch, and relax in the beautiful sunshine. Did I mention it was over 25 degrees Celsius in AUTUMN when we hiked this?! We spent about 45 minutes at the lake watching the mountain sheep before heading back down. The threat of being left on the other side of the lake without a boat ride home if you miss it was enough to keep us on schedule!
The downhill is definitely easier on your cardiovascular system but it makes for some great calf work! I don’t know which leg muscles hurt more! We detoured close to the bottom of the mountain to check out Hell Roaring Falls which was pretty neat! I love the sound of waterfalls and this was the fifth one on the hike!
The trip down took us about three hours, similar to the time up, but we stopped at Hell Roaring falls for some water and photos. We met a new friend, Tyson from Utah, on the way down and chatted with him the entire way back to the dock! He had never been to Canada before… I think he chose a great first stop! We wandered back to the docks after our stop at the falls and had just over 30 minutes to wait for the boat. We lounged on the docks, worked on out autumn tan lines, and polished off the water in our water bottles.
Don’t get me wrong, this hike was exhausting and sweaty and dirty… but it was also beautiful and pretty damn awesome. I was very grateful to have my own personal hiking guide, Jo, who is the sweetest most knowledgeable hiker ever, to chat with and wander around the lakes and mountains with! She really made the day awesome, we had a blast! If you want to see trail reports and a more technical description of the trail check that out HERE!
Previous Waterton posts: The Town & Bear’s Hump hike.