Crypt Lake Trail Loop is a 20.6 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail located near Waterton Park, Alberta, Canada that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
20.6 km
ELEVATION GAIN
914 m
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

cave

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

This hike is a great opportunity to get a good workout and see some beautiful and diverse nature. The first part of the hike goes through a forest and is shaded. The first set of climbs are easy and then the trail levels out. Somewhere around the second waterfall, the hike starts climbing and it is completely exposed, be sure to have water, sunscreen, a hat etc for this part of the hike. Then comes the ledge, the tunnel and the chains. The ledge has enough space to walk comfortably on both sides. Unless you are very terrified of heights you will likely not find this part of the hike too scary! The tunnel is of course fun, and the lake is just a small walk away after this. The route on this map sends you back via the Hell Roaring Falls Trail. This trail can be overgrown and is much less travelled. If you want to get away from the crowds it is a great option, but you can also do the hike as an out and back.

Not a hard hike, easy trail starting with trees and ending in a freezing cold lake. Be prepared for a wait at the ridge as you are essentially hiking w a huge group of people. Fun, but won’t do it again.

hiking
21 days ago

As I tell everyone I meet, this is by far my favourite hike in the world. It is an absolute thrilling adventure.

hiking
1 month ago

Loved this hike from start to finish ! One of my new favourites. Amazing views and fun features like the tunnel and cable section. I’m not sure why it’s rated as difficult. I’m a middle age moderately fit lady and I found it very doable. If you’re afraid of heights the cable section may be challenging but the ledge is definitely wide enough so you don’t have to look down. It’s easy to finish it in the window provided between ferry drop off and pick up as long as you don’t nap too long at Crypt Lake during your lunch break :). There were all ages on the trail that made it there and back. Definitely a must do hike !

hiking
1 month ago

Did this hike on Sept 23. Only boat in was 10am, only boat back was 530. 15 min ride over/back. There were around 40-50 ppl on the boat and everyone made the 530 pickup. We did the Hell Roaring Falls side trip on the way back and were back to the dock by 450. 6 and 1/2 hrs round trip. I really enjoyed this hike, it has a bit of everything- boat ride, waterfalls (4), forrest, valley, ladder, tunnel, chain section and, of course, Crypt Lake. So glad to have had the chance to do this hike!!

hiking
1 month ago

This hike was gorgeous. Definitely worth the difficult rating, but absolutely worth it. We went with a group of 5 moderately fit 29 year olds at the end of September when only 1 ferry runs (10am and 530pm) and we didn’t miss the ferry back but there were a few others who were close to missing it. We spent around 30 minutes at Crypt Lake for lunch and took the extra Hell Roaring Falls trail back. Hiking poles were helpful on the way down, although not necessary. Definitely worth checking out but be ready for a solid workout and some sore glutes the next day!

Also: we had a dog with us and they did great. The trails and ridges weren’t too narrow but we did need to carry them up the ladder and through the tunnel so it would depend on the size of the dog (ours is ~30lbs).

hiking
2 months ago

Great day out. A bit of a challenge but worth the hike when you get to the top

2 months ago

A really fun hike, with beautiful waterfalls, streams, a canyon and a very rewarding lake. Recommend jumping into the cold glacier water because after all, you've earned it! This hike does have a cool feature which is a cave you climb through. This hike is definitely worth doing with some friends.

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing hike! Took the 830 ferry and the 4pm return.
Lots of time for breaks and lunch once we got to Crypt lake. I was nervous about the chains and I think that was my favourites part ;)
We saw a grizzly on the trail on the way up and again on the way down. Quite a few people on the trails but not overly busy for a holiday - didn’t have to wait anything or worry about passing.
Can’t wait to do this one again!!

hiking
2 months ago

Came down for the September long weekend. Decided to hike the trail, Saturday morning. For those that don't know you take the ferry across, $23 I believe it is. Once on the otherside of the lake, it's an 8-9km hike up to Crypt Lake. Weather wise it was perfect, approx 19C with a slight breeze. This makes the climb manageable from not being excessively warm - and you will be very warm as you climb. I don't know if I'd like to be doing this climb in the peak of summer. A sturdy pair of hiking boots are definitely required as there is loose, sharp rocks and material across the entire trail. I also packed a rain jacket and fleece just in case. Once you're up at Crypt Lake it will be cool so a fleece or thin jacket will come in handy especially if you decide to relax for a while taking in the views. Its beautiful up here so totally worth the climb. There are a handful of waterfalls along the route anyway so there's plenty to see. The journey up and down took 6.5 hrs total. I will definately be back again.

hiking
2 months ago

the journey is what makes this hike. crypt lake is not as great as I had expected... it's just another mtn lake, nothing too special about the destination, the rocks were more interesting than the actual lake. the journey however was a bit challenging but not scary. basically it was a long hike that didnt meet my expectations. the sketchy scrambly section was short and doable. ladder is very short. best part was the boat was blasting "eye of the tiger" after we were dropped off.. was a fun way to start a hike. no wildlife sighting at all thank gawd.

hiking
2 months ago

2018.08 Loved all the Waterfalls along the trail.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail met my expectations in terms of difficulty and beauty. The climb is so well worth it and making my way through the tunnel and cabling was thrilling. We did the hike around the lake at the top which was also a bit harrowing at times given the recent snow and scree, but it was pretty cool to be back in Montana for a few minutes.

hiking
2 months ago

such a good hike. challenging and exciting. take the early ferry and come back on the late one for a more relaxing experience.

hiking
2 months ago

This is the best hike that I’ve ever done! I felt like the overall hike was decently flat except for the last little stretch- but every ounce of energy and money that you put into this hike is well worth it! I took the first shuttle out to the hike and the first shuttle back; it gave me enough time to hike up, chill at the lake for an hour, walk around the lake, walk to the waterfall, check out the canyon, and hike back down. The ladder, cave and wire mountain scaling are so thrilling, the waterfall is beautiful, and the extra km to the Hell Roaring Canyon is great! Also, the trail is very green and hasn’t been harmed by wildfires so that’s great! But beware! It is bear country! I did run into a cub on the trail!

hiking
2 months ago

My husband and I are beginner hikers and we had no idea what we were getting into with this hike...It took us 4 hours to get to the lake, and then 3 to go back down to the dock. You have to catch the ferry from Waterton to cross the lake to get to the start of the trail, then make sure to make it back in time in the afternoon to catch the last ferry back.
The trail is very steep with lots of switchbacks. There were a couple of waterfalls that you pass by. You know you're close to the the lake when you reach the campground, then there's a tunnel and cables/chain on the side of the mountain to shimmy across.
That being said, hard work does pay off. Crypt Lake is beautiful, and the water is cool and delicious (we brought a water purifier with us - don't drink straight from the lake!). We had a quick picnic and rested our feet before we headed back through the Hell Roaring Falls detour (adds 1 hour). We saw a chipmunk on the way back!
My husband and I are of average fitness...if we can do it, so can you!

hiking
2 months ago

2 months ago

Wow, what a workout. Definitely something I will never regret doing. A great feeling of accomplishment. Yet, will never do again at age 52 and with lung that are used to be 6 feet above sea level.

2 months ago

Amazing hike, not for a beginner but well worth the effort. Views from the tunnel are incredible and the lake is beautiful. Even saw a mountain goat up resting by the lake!

hiking
2 months ago

Great, thrilling hike. Enjoyed it immensely.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful views! Don’t be daunted by the chain and edge walk... if you can walk on a sidewalk you can walk across the exposed edge! Bring lots of water if it’s a sunny day, as you’ll be very exposed to the sun in the valley.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike. Lots of mountain scenery. Lake was pretty. Hike off trail at the lake up to a snow field with great views of the lake. There was smoke from the fires in Glacier Park on the US side.

3 months ago

Long hike, very busy . Was able to walk out onto the ice and jump in for a dip at the lake to cool down. Pictures make it seem more intense than it actually is. Cable isn't even needed. Has some nice scenery but the traffic takes away from the experience for sure.

hiking
3 months ago

A fun hike. A bit of everything for everyone. I would rate this as easy to low intermediate. The ladder, tunnel and little climb after are cool but very short and extremely easy to handle. We took our time and made it up in 2.5 hours, stayed 2 hours on top then took the alternate route down and still made it back within 2.5 hours

backpacking
3 months ago

Up to this point, this is the toughest hike I have ever done. I would rate this hike closer to difficult than to moderate. The terrain is very rocky and requires a bit more than average stamina. The ladder climb, cave traverse, and cable climb are not for the faint of heart. Loved it all! The descent is tough but is rewarded with multiple waterfalls. Recommend extra water or filter system. Went thru 6 liters

3 months ago

Best trail ever! We took the earliest 8:30 water taxi and returned at 5:30 making it a full day of adventures. Do yourself a favor and bring a bathing suit and beers, we had the best time walking/swimming around the lake. Tip: put your beers in the water, it will be nice and chilly:) It took us the same amount of time to go back as to hike up.

hiking
3 months ago

We hiked this trail on 8-3-2018 and found it challenging but doable. You feel pushed because you are not sure how much time you will need to meet up with the boat time. We picked a steady pace and made it in 2 hours and 45 minutes which we were told is better than the average. Stayed at the top had lunch and headed back. Still made it and had to wait an hour and half for the 4 pm boat. We took the early boat also which allowed us extra time. We did not have a lot of people on this day total maybe 60 .
Wonderful hike with a unique trail! If you don’t like heights don’t do this hike.
This was a wonderful day spent in Canada!

3 months ago

My first time and my new experience for hiking on this crypt lake has been fascinated me! This is literally a beautiful hike, recommend!

3 months ago

This was a nice hike that I didn’t find too difficult. We got on the first boat, which I highly recommend. We made it up in just over two hours. I find it more difficult coming down than going up. It’s more technical for sure. It was a great day.

3 months ago

One of the very best day hikes I’ve done

hiking
3 months ago

One of the most amazing hikes I've ever done. We got to the dock early and they sent a ferry at 8am because there was enough people to fill the boat. Sit by the stairs on the ferry to get off first! We took off running to separate from the crowd and made it to the lake behind only one other person. We then took our time going back, exploring waterfalls and doing the hell-roaring canyon detour. I can't image why people have said this section isn't worth taking, it was absolutely gorgeous. We got back to the dock at 2:30 and were lucky that they sent an early ferry which we got on at 3pm. Again we sat at the stairs and were the first ones off. It was the perfect day. I've done around 40 hikes in the past 2 years and we both agreed this was in the top 3!

Load More