The Bear’s Hump Trail

Waterton Lakes Park


The Bear's Hump, Waterton Lakes National Park

The Bear's Hump Trail

Trailhead:  Waterton Lakes National Park Visitor Center

Distance:  0.9 miles (1.4 km) one way

Elevation Gain:  738 vertical feet (225 m)

The Bear's Hump Trail is a short but very steep trail that takes you up to one of the most scenic overlooks in Waterton Lakes National Park.  Among the popular Waterton Lakes National Park hikes, this short trail gains 738 vertical feet (225 m) in less than a mile, so make sure you are in adequate physical condition to attempt this hike.  But because it is so short, you will have plenty of time to rest on your way up.

Once you reach the top of The Bear's Hump, your jaw will drop.  The view of the entire Waterton Valley unfolds below you, including Waterton Townsite, Lower Waterton Lake, Middle Waterton Lake, Upper Waterton Lake, Vimy Peak, Mount Cleveland, and every peak in between!  This view from The Bear's Hump is definitely one of the most awe-inspiring views in all of Waterton Lakes National Park, and it is definitely among the top Waterton Lakes National Park hikes.

Finding The Trailhead

The trailhead begins at the Waterton Lakes National Park Visitor Center just before you enter the Waterton Park Townsite.  The trailhead is just to the north of the building, next to the parking lot.  You can't miss it.  There is an obvious ramp where the trail begins, just off the parking lot.  And be ready for some "cardio", because this trail doesn't waste any time getting you up there!


This is a view of The Bear's Hump from the boat dock at Waterton Park Townsite in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Trail To The Bear's Hump

The Bear's Hump Trail in Waterton Lakes National Park doesn't waste any time gaining in elevation, and in fact it's so steep in some places, the trail crew actually built steps to avoid making this trail a "scramble".  

As we mentioned before, since you only have less than a mile to hike, so if you're not in the best of shape, you can take your time and rest periodically so you don't tire out.  

There are many short switchbacks, and every step is uphill of course because you're gaining a lot of elevation in a very short distance.  

This entire hike, from beginning to end, and even enjoying a nice lunch on top, should only take no more than a few hours. If you don't spend a lot of time on top, you can made the round trip in about one hour.


The view from The Bear's Hump is one of the best in Waterton Lakes National Park.  The peak to the left is Vimy Peak, which towers above Upper Waterton Lake and the Waterton Townsite.  Goat Haunt is located at the southern end of Upper Waterton Lake, where you can see Mount Cleveland and several other peaks of Glacier National Park.

The view from The Bear's Hump in Waterton Lakes National Park is absolutely breathtaking.  The entire Waterton Valley unfolds in front of your very eyes.  Waterton Townsite rest directly below you, as well as the Prince of Wales Hotel.  You will see Lower Waterton Lake, Middle Waterton Lake, and the massive Upper Waterton Lake.  In addition, Vimy Peak will dominate the skyline to the east, and you can see every peak all the way past Mount Cleveland in Glacier National Park Montana.  This is a world-class view that you will never forget.

Best Time Of Day

We feel the best time of day to hike up to The Bear's Hump in Waterton Lakes National Park is either morning or evening. This way the air is coolest for your hike, and the sun really lights up the valley especially nice.  

Our favorite time to hike Bear's Hump is about an hour and a half before the sun goes down... the western sun really lights up the entire Waterton Valley at this time, and for the photographers out there, the sun is in your favor.  But really, no matter what time of day you choose, the views from the top of The Bear's Hump in Waterton Lakes National Park are amazingly beautiful, and you can't go wrong no matter when you're up there.


This is a view to the northeast from The Bear's Hump, where you can see Middle Waterton Lake and Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton Lakes National Park.  The opening between Middle and Upper Waterton Lake is known as the "Bosporus".  The large mountain in this view is Vimy Peak.

Be Careful!

Please be careful on The Bear's Hump.  There is a massive cliff that if you fell off it, you would never survive the fall.  And don't get close to the edge because often times there are tremendous gusts of wind that come out of nowhere, even on a calm day, which can literally blow you off of the cliff.  So please, respect the edge of this cliff while you're enjoying The Bear's Hump.


The Bear's Hump is definitely a "must do" while visiting Waterton Lakes National Park.

The Bear's Hump Trail is without question one of the "Top Things To Do In Waterton Lakes National Park." This wonderful trail doesn't take a lot of time, and the view from the top is absolutely outstanding. If you like incredible views, The Bear's Hump is definitely among the "must do" Waterton Lakes National Park hikes while visiting Waterton Lakes National Park.

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