Small Alpine Village Inn Surrounded by Rocky Mountains
The Canadian twin to Montana’s Glacier National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park occupies Alberta’s remote southwestern corner like an undiscovered gem. Surrounded by misty Rocky Mountains and located more than 100 miles from the closest international airport, the park is overrun with wildflowers, deer, mountain goats, and black bears. Overlooking the glacier-dug Waterton Lake, Bayshore Inn is located in a small alpine village that shuns tourist traps and retail chains in favor of art galleries, clothing boutiques, and tiny coffee houses.
The inn itself mirrors much of the area's charm, from its lakeside courtyard to its private balconies in every room festooned with colorful flowers. Each of its onsite eateries delivers something different, whether it's the lakeside views and pistachio-crusted wild salmon at Bayshore Lakeside Chophouse, or the street-side patio at Glacier Bistro & Burger Barn.
For drinks, the casual Fireside Lounge & Wine Bar serves a variety of wines and ales in a cozy, dimly lit parlor with nightly live music. In contrast, Thirsty Bear Saloon has a livelier atmosphere with a foosball table, weekend DJs, and a wide-open dance floor for showing off moves and reenacting battle scenes from The Lord of the Rings.
Bayshore Inn also houses one of the village's only spas, where jade-stone massages and berry eye treatments can help visitors unwind after a day spent hiking the Rocky Mountains.
Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta: Where Prairies and Crystal-Blue Lakes Meet Towering Rocky Mountains
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Waterton Lakes National Park has a history stretching back thousands of years, to when nomadic tribes roamed the region hunting for bison. The area's one settlement, Waterton, contains just a handful of shops, restaurants, and a population of 88. Locals frequently spot bighorn sheep and cougars obliviously wandering the main street. Even the town’s early-1900s oil well—with all the promise of a boom city—was eventually swallowed up in Waterton's raw wilderness. You can still view remnants of the rigs and wellheads amid aspen groves and more than 800 types of wildflowers.
Because the Waterton Lakes’ prairies transition quickly to mountains without foothills in between, the area caters to several outdoors activities. For a laid-back outing, check out the Waterton Lakes Golf Course on the prairies. The more adventurous can explore the Rocky Mountain hiking and biking trails that wend past cradles of icy lakes and waterfalls.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.