Crypt Lake - Kamloops Trails

Crypt Lake – Kamloops Trails

Doug Smith  September 4, 2021 at 9:00 am

The Crypt Lake Trail in Waterton National Park is an unusual and rewarding hike.    It starts by booking a ride across the lake from the Marina to the landing and trailhead across Waterton Lake.    The ferry is often full so that usually means a larger group of people all arriving at once.   The trail to the tunnel is 8 km and 1200m in elevation gain so the crowds thin out quickly.   The trail follows Hell-Roaring Creek up a valley between Boswell Peak and Vimy Ridge, with two waterfalls along the route.  At 8 km is a small backcountry campsite.   From there the trail angles across a steep rocky slope to a ladder, then into a tunnel.   The tunnel route is short, but we needed to duck down to get through.    On the other side is a cliffside and a narrow trail with fixed cables which helps the climb to the top of the cliff band.    From there it was a short, level walk to the lakeshore. 

The lake was surrounded by steep slopes, but we walked on a faint rocky around the lake.   The south end of the lake is on the border of Montana and Glacier National Park.   After lunch at lakeside, we explored a ridge, then we started the hike down, completing the 20 km hike in time for the ferry back to Waterron.  

A Google Earth Fly-Over of Crypt Lake shows the terrain of the route.  


After this trip to Waterton, forest fires ravaged much of the park and we have not been back since that time.   We have more hikes to do in Waterton so we want to return there once more.  



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Doug Smith

Doug writes for Kamloops Trails, a not-for-profit (and ad free) website, offering information on trails, waterways, routes, featured spots, viewpoints, and explorations in the outdoors in the Kamloops area (and beyond).

Doug started exploring this area in 1976 and continues to follow tracks and routes wherever they lead, with the aid of map, compass, GPSr and camera. After many dead-ends, but also many discoveries, he chose to share this information.

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