Great Divide Trail – Waterton Lakes Closed

I’m blessed with really good luck. The start of the Great Divide Trail in Canada is burned, so I have to navigate around Waterton.

I emailed various park people in Canada to book my camping reservations. Waterton is the first place you’ll arrive (assuming you’re hiking south to North) but it’s the last place you should book because you can only book it 90 days in advance. If you wait and try to book the other places later, they’ll be full. I emailed the Waterton people and they initially made it seem like the area would be opened up in the summer. I waited a while, then emailed them again and informed them I was ready to book the final two places:

Unfortunately the Waterton portion of the Great Divide Trail will not be accessible at all this year. All of our back country campgrounds are within the closed area as well, so at this time there is no way to reserve camping at Boundary Bay or Lone Lake. At this time it looks like you will need to meet the Waterton Shoreline Cruise boat at Goat Haunt in Glacier National Park and get off at the village of Waterton, or hike out past Belly River Lakes to the Chief Mountain Border crossing. From there you would likely have to travel north by car to the West Castle area west of Pincher Creek to pick up the trail again. I recognise and empathise with this inconvenience.

Naturally this is a it disappointing. I’m banned from entering the US. I can’t take the American routes they’ve suggested but I think I can create a new route. It’s a bit difficult because I’m not familiar with Canada at all. I also have to get my hike time and reservation times to match up. If I’m two days early, the reservations are pointless and I am liable for a fine. I wish they’d let me hike in the burned areas, even if it’s dangerous. Perhaps there’s other reasons, like harming new plant life or something. That I can respect.

For now, swearing at inanimate objects works well.