Statistics: 7 miles, ascent 1650′, descent 1650′ (round trip).
We had originally planned to hike to Crypt Lake, a technically challenging hike with cables and steep, possibly slippery, trails. However, heavy rain was predicted for most of the day and the staff at the local sports shop advised us to take a less precarious hike. We accepted their suggestion and decided to walk to another more accessible destination, Bertha Lake, a seven mile loop. This new trail began around the lake and immediately ascended to a hillside with a perfect view of Waterton Park and our hotel, The Prince of Wales.
As we continued the weather grew more ominous and the view south, down Upper Waterton Lake, let us know that we would be getting wet!
Our trail ran upstream along the outflow from Bertha Lake, Bertha Creek, which was beautiful as it cascaded down the mountain. Crossing a bridge at Lower Bertha Falls, we had a great view of the rushing waterfall and its interesting rock features.
Still moving toward Bertha Lake and climbing a series of switchbacks, we worked our way out of the stream’s valley and up the mountain-side. We passed several trees that were scratching posts for the bears in the area; these scratching posts contribute to the local community of bears as local bears will use such trees to mark their territory or rub their fur, leaving a scent which communicates their presence to other bears.
Our first view of the lake was from high above.
After a quick descent, we were at lake level.
Unfortunately, the rain was becoming more serious by this time so we explored along a portion of the lake, then retraced our steps, returning to the warmth of the cozy fire at the hotel.