Travelling on a Budget: Incredible National Parks of Canada
The tiny lakeside town of Waterton is hidden where the Rocky Mountains drop so dramatically to rolling prairies. Due to its particular positioning, the wind can get so strong that even the historic seven-story Prince of Wales Hotel has to be anchored with huge cables to stop it blowing away Wizard of Oz style.
When to go: The sun is at its peak between June and September. For the biologists amongst you, early summer is best as 55 percent of Alberta’s wildflowers are found in the park. For animal migrations and the best opportunity of animal sightings, late fall is the best time to make the trip.
Wildlife: A cheap and natural way to see the animals is to rent a canoe and head to Cameron Valley where you can see black bear, elk, and bighorn sheep on the prairie portion of the park from your safe and silent spot on the lake. There are also eagles on updrafts in the valley; and grizzlies wandering in the wilderness beyond town.
Don’t miss: The two-hour cruise along the shores of Upper Waterton Lake, which is the deepest lake in the Rockies.
Where to stay: It would be lovely to recommend the Prince of Wales Hotel but as this is about travelling on a budget, perhaps it would be better to keep this for an evening drink. Visit www.banfftravel.com or call toll tree (888) 659-3394 or local 403-774-7219.
You need to know: There isn’t really too much room in the hotel but there are some good options. The best tip is to get in early. You will get more bang for your buck and likely a nicer place too.
Squeeze Your Dollar: A great little tip to save is every Saturday there are free cross border trips with Park interpreters from both the United States and Canada. All you have to do is pay the boat fair (no more than $15 depending on age).