Trailhead: Wishbone Trail, Chief Mountain International Peace Parkway
Distance: 7 miles (one way)
Elevation Gain: 3,405 vertical feet (See trail map at bottom of page)
The hike to Vimy Peak in Waterton Lakes National Park is a fantastic day hike that rewards hikers with spectacular views from the summit of Vimy Peak. The trail to Vimy Peak actually begins on the Chief
Mountain International Peace Parkway, about a mile from the entrance to Waterton Lakes National Park, at
the Wishbone Trailhead. The first four miles of your hike to Vimy Peak is actually along the Wishbone Trail.
At mile 4.0 you will encounter the Vimy Peak Trail junction, where the hike changes from nearly level to quite steep as you gain about 3,400 vertical feet in less than 3 miles. With this in mind, make sure you are in adequate physical condition before attempting this strenuous day hike.
FInding The Trailhead
The trailhead to the Vimy Peak Trail is located along the Chief Mountain International Peace Parkway, near the entrance to Waterton Lakes National Park. After leaving the entrance of Waterton Lakes Park, take the Chief Mountain International Peace Parkway. In less than a half of a mile, you will see the Wishbone Trail trailhead to your right, and a small gravelled parking area to your left. The trailhead is not exceptionally obvious, so drive slow so you don't miss it. The Wishbone Trailhead sign is somewhat hidden in the trees and brush.
By the way, bicycles are allowed on the Wishbone Trail for the first four miles. At mile 4.0, you will encounter the Vimy Peak Trail junction. This is where you must leave your bike.
The Hike To Vimy Peak: Wishbone Trailhead (mile 0.0)
The first 4.0 miles of your hike to Vimy Peak is actually along the Wishbone Trail. This fairly level trail takes you through groves of aspens and open meadows and wetlands. This section of the Wishbone Trail on your way to Vimy Peak is what we call "grizzly bear heaven" during the summer.
In fact, we saw a grizzly with three young cubs along this stretch of the trail the last time we hiked this trail in 2013. So make sure talk loud so you don't surprise a bear, and of course have your bear spray readily available and know how to use it just in case.
To the left is a really bad photo of this grizzly family. As you can see, there is a lot of vegetation on this section of the Wishbone Trail so you will have difficulty seeing bears. That is why you really need to TALK LOUD all the way so you don't end up surprising a bear (or bears). If you let the grizzlies let you know you're in the area, they will more than likely do everything they can to avoid you.
The morning light just began to touch Vimy Peak on our way along the Wishbone Trail in Waterton Lakes National Park.
The view of Vimy Peak along this section of the Wishbone Trail in Waterton Lakes National Park is wonderful, especially when the trail takes you through the large meadows that are loaded with amazing wildflowers. You will also hike through heavily wooded aspen groves with a lot of ground vegetation. This is where you really need to talk loud to avoid surprising a grizzly bear.
Sofa Creek Ford (mile 3.0)
Shannon crossing a make-shift bridge across Sofa Creek along the Wishbone Trail in Waterton Lakes National Park. Quite often there is not a bridge to cross, so make sure you bring your river sandals!
At about mile 3.0, you will encounter the Sofa Creek Fordalong the Wishbone Trail. Sometimes there is actually a make-shift bridge across Soda Creek, but usually you're going to have to get wet. To keep your hiking boots and socks dry, we highly recommend that you bring river sandals to walk across this stream. There's nothing more uncomfortable and annoying as soaking wet boots and socks.
Vimy Peak Trail Junction (mile 4.0)
At mile 4.0 you will encounter the Vimy Peak Trail junction. Take a left to continue on to the summit of Vimy Peak. The Wishbone Trail continues onward to the right, where the Wishbone Landing is 6.46 miles,
Wishbone Campground is about 5.3 miles, Crypt Landing is 8.2 miles and Crypt Lake is 13.55 miles.
Of course the best way to reach Crypt Lake is by taking the 15 minute boat shuttle to Crypt Landing. Click Here for the details on the hike to Crypt Lake via the boat shuttle.
Once you are actually hiking along the Vimy Peak Trail, you will begin to gain in elevation fairly abruptly. In fact, you will gain about 3,400 vertical feet in less than three miles! So be prepared to get a good workout during this final section of your hike to the summit of Vimy Peak.
As the trail works its way up to the summit of Vimy Peak in Waterton Lakes National Park, it will follow a gorgeous little stream that at certain times of the season is teeming with wildflowers on each side of this grassy banks. This stream is also a great place use your portable water filter to fill up your Nalgenes to stay hydrated.
The Vimy Peak Trail follows a gorgeous little stream for a fair distance... and there are plenty of wildflowers along its banks during certain times of the summer season in Waterton Lakes National Park.
The Vimy Peak Trail in Waterton Lakes National Park will then leave this creek and begin its rather steep ascent up the east slope of Vimy Peak. There are several switchbacks along this section of the trail, making the vertical elevation gain a little easier. Keep following the trail to the summit... but keep an eye on the trail during the last few hundred yards, as it becomes less obvious as it gets into the rocky cliffs.
Shannon along the final stretch of the Vimy Peak Trail in Waterton Lakes National Park. This is where you really start gaining in vertical elevation.
Vimy Peak Summit (mile 7.0)
This is a view of the Waterton Park Townsite from the summit of Vimy Peak in Waterton Lakes National Park.
The views from the summit of Vimy Peak are nothing less than spectacular. The scenery is breathtaking in all directions, and you will completely forget about the 3,400 vertical elevation gain in less than 3 miles you experienced to get here. Waterton Park Townsite is far below you to the northwest, as well as a wonderful view of the interior mountains of Waterton Lakes National Park as you look straight west, beyond Upper Waterton Lake.
Your will enjoy an incredible view of the eastern prairie from the summit of Vimy Peak in Waterton Lakes National Park.
From the summit of Vimy Peak, you will also get great views of Middle and Lower Waterton Lakes, and the vast eastern prairie. To the south you will see Crypt Lake and the ocean of mountains that belong to Glacier National Park in Montana, including Mount Cleveland. The peak to the east is Sofa Mountain, and the large peak just to the right of Crypt Lake is Mount Boswell.
From the summit of Vimy Peak, to the south you can see Crypt Lake and well as many peaks of Glacier National Park such as Mount Cleveland, which is the tall mountain to the far right.
The view to the west from the summit of Vimy Peak in Waterton Lakes National Park is incredible.
You will absolutely enjoy your time on the summit of Vimy Peak, and all we can say is make sure you bring extra memory cards for your camera because you're going to need them!
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