The hike to Crypt Lake starts with a 15 minute boat ride across Waterton Lake to the trail head. The trail climbs 2,300 feet through the trees into awe-inspiring views of the surrounding peaks. Crypt Lake alone is worth the hike because it’s incredibly stunning, but the hike also has many points of interest along the way.
When we got to the lake, there were still icebergs floating along the shoreline. The wind would come and go, giving us brief moments of reflection.
We hiked about halfway around the lake to eat our lunch from the rocky point. At the end of the lake, you can actually stand with one foot in Canada and one foot in the United States! It was beautiful looking down into the water where the snow meets the lake.
Crypt Lake gets it’s name from the 600 foot waterfall that cascades from a ‘crypt’ in the headwall below the lake. Normally, waterfalls cascade from a lake, over the headwall. In this case, the water from Crypt Lake flows underground into a cavern or ‘crypt; before bursting out of the headwall to fall a stunning 600 feet to the valley below.
All the way along the trail, the wildflowers were blooming in full force.
About 2/3 of the way up the trail you get to climb a ladder to the entrance of a natural tunnel that runs 100 feet through the mountain. When you come out the other side, there is a bit of a ledge with a small amount of exposure. There is a cable put in place for extra insurance. If you’re wondering whether or not this is for you, let me reassure you that we saw a couple take their kids (ages 8 and 10 or so) on this hike and they did great!
Here is a view of the cable in place on the ledge. This is a view on the way up, and the photo below is a view on the way down.
Throughout this hike you get to see 4 waterfalls and numerous streams bubling across the trail.
Most of the hiking trail gives you spectacular views like the photo above. We prefer mountain scrambling, but I’d have to say that this lake hike is the best of all worlds. You get views, waterfalls, a tunnel, and a stunning glacier lake in a mountain cirque!
Here we are in the boat crossing Waterton Lake back to the townsite. It was a spectacular day, and I can’t recommend this hike enough!