Horse riding is a traditional way to experience Waterton Lakes National Park and is an important part of the park’s history.
Waterton Lakes National Park is well suited to horseback riding.
Parks Canada is monitoring horse use on trails, and is now able to restore access to some trails that allowed horseback riding prior to the 2017 Kenow Wildfire.
Alpine Stables is the only outfitter permitted to operate in the park. They provide guided horseback trips ranging from one hour to full-day trips and boarding facilities for horses.
Please limit group size to 12 horses and/or mules.
Which trails can I use for horseback riding?
Horse use is permitted year round on:
- Blakiston Valley
- Carthew-Alderson (from Cameron Lake trailhead to Alderson Lake)
- Goat Lake
- Horseshoe Basin
- Lakeshore Trail
- Lineham Falls
- Summit Lake
- Twin Lakes
Horse use is permitted from September 1 – June 30 on:
- Alderson Lake Trail (from Cameron Falls to Alderson Lake)
- Bertha Lake
- Crypt Lake
- Rowe Lakes
Consider trail difficulty and conditions when planning a trip. Hitching rails are available at Alderson Lake, Bertha Lake, Crypt Lake, Lone Lake, Snowshoe Cabin and Twin Lakes. Please use them.
Where hitching rails are not available, tie a rope between two trees, then tie the horse(s) to the centre of the rope. To prevent unnecessary damage to soils and vegetation, please hobble-tie horses. Be considerate of others by tying horses away from high-use areas.
Corrals are available at Snowshoe Cabin and Lone Lake. Users must have permission from Parks Canada to use the corrals. Call 403-859-5133 for more information.
Visitors riding into Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park require a letter of permission from BC Parks. Contact the Kootenay BC Parks office at 250-489-8540 for more information.
Horse use is prohibited:
- In all campgrounds. Horses must overnight in corrals at Snowshoe or Lone Lake with prior approval from Parks Canada. Call 403-859-5133 for more information.
- On the Kootenai Brown Trail (horses may cross the trail)
- At all picnic sites and day use areas
- The Waterton Lakes golf course
- The entire Waterton townsite and the Prince of Wales Hill area
- Crandell Lake Trails, including section along Akamina Parkway to Waterton Townsite
- Bear's Hump, Cameron Lakeshore, Red Rock Canyon loop and Linnet Lake trails
- Hell Roaring Creek / Hell Roaring Falls Trail
- Sofa Cirque Route
- Visitors riding into Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park require a letter of permission from BC Parks.
Note: Horse use is not allowed on Bertha Lake Trail (Lakeshore junction to Bertha Lake), Cameron Falls to Alderson Lake, Crypt Landing to Crypt Lake and Rowe Lakes Trail in July and August.
For more information, contact the Visitor Centre at 403-859-5133.
Report any illegal activity, unusual trail hazards or wildlife sightings by calling Parks Canada Dispatch at 1-888-927-3367.
Backcountry camping with horses
Backcountry camping with horses is permitted only at Lone Lake and Snowshoe Cabin, where corrals are provided. To use the corrals, you must contact Parks Canada 403-859-5133. Note that park operations may take precedence. Corrals have a maximum limit of eight horses. Pelletized horse feed must be packed in and out, as horse grazing is not permitted in Waterton Lakes National Park.
Horses must be kept in corrals overnight and are not permitted within the campground. As with other backcountry users, horse users intending to overnight in the backcountry require a backcountry use permit.
Waterton’s vulnerability to the spread of invasive plant species has increased as a result of the Kenow Wildfire. Visitors can help protect the landscape by remembering to Play Clean Go when horseback riding:
- Clean your equipment: Check your gear and footwear for any seeds, mud, or plant material before and after coming to the park.
- Brush your boots: Use boot brushes, or boot-brushing stations to remove plant material after using hiking trails.
- Scoop your poop. Put manure back in your trailer at parking areas.
- Stay on the trail: To limit the spread of seeds and trampling of native plants.
- Buy certified weed-free hay: Feed it to your horses a few days before coming into the park.
- Walk your horse pastures to remove invasive plants before they go to seed.
To ensure the ongoing protection of the park, Parks Canada carefully monitors trails for impacts from all users, including monitoring for the reintroduction of non-native plant species, stream bed damage and erosion and trail braiding and erosion.
All trail users can help conserve trails by staying on the trail, cleaning up waste, limiting impact on water courses and identifying hazards and concerns to Parks Canada staff in a timely manner.