Bertha Lake and Bertha Falls Hike
- Physical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
This Waterton classic hike boasts waterfalls, sweeping vistas, and an alpine lake, making the trail to Bertha Lake and Bertha Falls a stunning hike. The benches and minimal elevation gain to Lower Bertha Falls make the first half of the hike an excellent family option. However, the second half is where the elevation kicks in.
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Route Description for Bertha Lake and Bertha Falls Hike
The Bertha Lake and Bertha Falls Trail begins in the trees and climbs gradually, with occasional glimpses back to Waterton Lake and the townsite. If you’re only going as far as the Lower Bertha Falls, the gentle grade and well-placed benches make it a great hike for people of all ages.
At the fork at 1.5 km, bear left for a viewpoint. The sweeping vista includes Upper Waterton Lake and the surrounding peaks to the East, including Vimy Peak and Mount Boswell. To the South you can see the International Boundary Line with views into Waterton’s American counterpart, Glacier National Park in Montana. Back on the main trail, the path briefly dips and forks again. Stay right for Bertha Falls and Lake.
Bear grass is abundant in this area of the trail, but it dwindles once you reach Lower Bertha Falls at 2.8 km. This is a beautiful place to stop for a snack on one of the benches, as you enjoy the tumbling water running over the argillite rock bed.
To continue to Bertha Lake, cross the wooden bridge over Bertha Creek. The trail quickly becomes more challenging, and the grade will stay steep for the next 2.3 km. Switchbacks help the ascent, but benches no longer appear, making the section from Lower Bertha Falls to Bertha Lake more challenging than the jaunt to the falls. However, the breaks in the trees with views of the surrounding area continue to tease and propel you forward with promises of what’s to come.
You begin to hear rushing water at 4.4 km, as you get your first glimpse of Upper Bertha Falls. This portion of the falls is especially impressive early in the season when the volume of water is high. Just a few hundred meters further, views of Upper and Middle Waterton Lakes appear. After 300 m, the trail levels as it approaches Bertha Lake.
You’ll reach a fork in the trail at 5.4 km; straight ahead will take you to an overlook of Bertha Lake, while the right fork drops down to the lake.
At the lakeshore, you’ll have a beautiful view of the surrounding peaks. Mount Richards sits to the left while Mount Alderson frames the back of the lake and Bertha Peak dominates your view, as you look right.
You can now choose to go left or right. A short distance to the left will take you to a red-gravel beach, an inviting spot to enjoy your lunch. Continue along to do a complete 4.0 km loop of the Lake. Or, go right, stepping over a wood bridge to find a backcountry campground with tent sites and a pit toilet (take your own toilet paper). A little further down the trail you’ll find a picnic and cooking area along the lakeshore. Return to the trailhead the way you came.
Hiking trail highlights
Bertha Lake is a stunning, aqua blue lake nestled amongst the mountains and trees that make up the Bertha Lake Trail. It is a wonderful place to stop and enjoy a picnic on the rocks and take in the captivating views that surround you
Lower and Upper Bertha Falls
Lower and Upper Bertha Falls also known as the “Bridal Veil” Falls is one of the most breathtaking falls around that rushes down the side of the rock formations and runs down into a creek. This is a great area to cool off after the hike through Berta Lake Trail.
Insider Hints for Bertha Lake and Bertha Falls Hike
- Accessibility, good views, and a moderate difficulty means this is a busy trail. To avoid crowds, hike the trail early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
- Bertha Falls is one of the earliest snow-free trails in the park, making it a good shoulder season destination.
- Horse access is restricted in July and August; in all the other months, be prepared to step around horse droppings on the trail.
Getting to the Bertha Lake and Bertha Falls Hike Trailhead
The Bertha Lake Trailhead begins at the Southwest side of Waterton Townsite. Travel south on Evergreen Aveenue, less than 500 m after Cameron Falls and turn right into the parking lot. A trail map marks the beginning of the hike.
Bertha Lake and Bertha Falls Hike Elevation Graph
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Bertha Lake and Bertha Falls Hike Reviews
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