Lineham Ridge

Waterton Lakes
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Lineham Ridge

Distance: 17.2km
Elevation: 960m
Time: 6-8h

Difficulty Rating:

The epic Lineham Ridge hike is one of our favorites. You’ll travel from a creek-side, to the forest, and through meadows. Then, you’ll curve along the sweeping expanse of the towering headwall with superb views. Finally, top out on Lineham Ridge with incredible panoramic views of Rowe Valley, Rowe Lakes, and Lineham Lakes.

Getting there

Drive 10.6km up Akamina Parkway to the Rowe Lakes trailhead. The trailhead is on the right (north) side of the road.

About

When to do

July to September

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

No

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Low

Route Type

Out and back


Elevation


Detailed Description

Note that much of Waterton National Park was severely impacted by the 2017 Kenow Wildfire. To find out what trails are open, please check the Parks Canada website.

Just a short distance from the trailhead the senses are awakened with the sight and sound of the Rowe creek streambed, with its beautiful red argillite. As you follow the trail up Rowe Creek valley, look back for views of Buchanan Ridge.

You’ll gain elevation, through the woods, at moderate grade on a pleasant trail. At 3.9km, you’ll reach a junction with Lower Rowe Lake, which is just 200m down the trail to the left. Continue straight for Lineham Ridge, travelling along with a gentle ascent.

At 5.2km, you’ll reach open ground at the beautiful Rowe Basin. In the right season, the meadows explode with wildflowers. We think this makes the meadow a wonderful place for a snack break. Take a minute to gaze at the amazing rock formations on the headwall to the west.

Walk through the meadow. You’ll cross over the creek on the log bridge to continue on the trail for Upper Rowe Lakes and Lineham Ridge. You’ll reach a signed junction just past the meadows: turn right to Lineham ridge.

After travelling on a short, moderately steep section, emerge from the trees for views of the trail ahead: a sweeping traverse across the headwall. Begin the gradual ascent along the curve of the scree trail. Upper and Lower Rowe Lakes come into view behind you as you gain elevation. Continue to travel the arc until you reach the switchback, which will ease the final ascent.

The ridge continues towards Mount Lineham straight ahead. Follow the trail left until reaching a cairn, marking the high point of the ridge. Look for orange trail markers, sometimes easier to spot in the scree than the stony path.

Soak in the glorious views surrounding you. Lineham Lakes appear 400m below, ringed by spectacular headwalls. To the west, the trail drops down to the valley as the Tamarack Trail continues, running north to Lone Lake. Mount Hawkins dominates the north view, with Mount Blakiston to the northeast and Mount Lineham to the east. Looking south, the beautiful Akamina ridge is visible, with peaks further afield in Glacier National Park, Montana.

After soaking in the views, pick up your jaw and return the way you came. You can take a detour to Upper Rowe Lake at the Junction on the way back if you like it’ll add a couple kilometres onto your trip as it’s an out and back trip, but we think it’s worth it.

Insider Hints

  • Adventurous scramblers can continue east along the ridge to the peak of Mount Lineham. Guidebooks list this as an “easy” scramble from the ridge.

  • The Lakeside Chophouse at the Bayshore Inn has a wonderful patio right by Waterton Lake. It’s a great place for an après hike drink or dinner.

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