Hike to Crypt Lake
Canada › Crypt Lake Trailhead
Added by Candace Harris
Crypt Lake was listed as one of the "World's 20 Most Thrilling Trails" by National Geographic, 2014 and was rated Canada's best hike in 1981. Along the hike, enjoy stunning scenery along the way, pass by 4 spectacular waterfalls, climb through a 60 ft-long natural tunnel, and take a dip in the glacier waters of Crypt Lake.
The hike begins with a gradual climb through shaded forest, which thins as you progress into the hanging valley. Along the way, you will pass by three amazing waterfalls: Twin Falls at 3.5km (2 mi), Burnt Rock Falls at 5.6km (3.5 mi) and the 600ft Crypt Falls at 8km (5 mi). There is also a 1km (0.6 mi) side hike for Hell Roaring Falls. It is recommended to take this path on the way back to ensure you have enough time to catch the ferry (details below).
The trail then becomes an open walk through a valley, crossing small mountain streams and leading up to spectacular views of Crypt Falls. Keep a lookout for bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and many different rodents scurrying around the rocks.
Reaching Crypt Lake headwall is one of the most thrilling parts of the hike. You will climb a bolted 8 rung steel ladder into a 60m (200 ft) natural tunnel, which will require you to crouch and crawl your way through. You then traverse 60m along an exposed narrow cliff ledge, which has a steel cable for extra stability.
It is then about 5 minutes through a small forest until you reach the crystal clear Crypt Lake. If you take a stroll around to the other side of the lake, you will cross the border into the United States.
Allow yourself about 30 minutes less for the hike back to Crypt Landing to catch the ferry.
Getting there: To reach this trailhead, you will have to take a passenger ferry across Upper Waterton Lake, from the Waterton Park Townsite to Crypt Landing. Tickets for the return ride are $22CAD for adults and are available through Waterton Inter-Nation Shoreline Cruise Co.. During peak season, the ferry departs twice in the morning at 9 & 10am, and returns for you at 4 & 5:30pm. Off season times are 10am & 5:30pm only.
- Waterproof hiking shoes
- Energy snacks
- Bear spray
- Toilet paper
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Backpacking, Chillin, Fishing, Hiking, Photography
Spring, Summer, Autumn
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
More Adventures Nearby
Hike Cirque Lake
Canada / Callaghan Lake Parking Area, Whistler
Cirque Lake can only be accessed by boating across Callaghan Lake. Start from the Callaghan parking/camping area and take your boat over to the lake.
Photograph the Lions Gate Bridge
Canada / Lions Gate Bridge
Park at the parking lot at Prospect point in Stanley Park to begin your photography adventure.