Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Crypt Lake Trail is a 12.2 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Improvement District No. 4, 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.

Length 12.2 mi Elevation gain 2,801 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Camping

Fishing

Hiking

Bird watching

Running

Cave

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Snow

Description
Waypoints (0)
Getting There

Please note that the ferry is subject to closures. 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.

This hike is accessed via ferry. You can purchase a ticket ($20 for adults, $10 for children) for the Crypt Lake Shuttle Ferry from the Waterton Shoreline Cruise Company's boat launch. Ferries depart at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. each day and return to Waterton at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. You will need to bring all of your supplies, including water, as none are available on the boat or on the trail. You may want to bring a fishing pole in addition to food, water, a hat, sunscreen, etc.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (484)
Photos (553)
Recordings (242)
Completed (1222)
Kelly Struski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 14 2020
Hiking

My favourite hiking experience so far. Such great memories. Amazing views along the way. Enjoyed the ledge and chains. We hiked at a decent pace, ate lunch and walked around the lake, and had plenty of time to catch the boat back.

Victoria Nguyen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jul 10 2020
HikingScramble

Completed hike sept 13, 2018. Interesting hike — must use a ferry, and apparently if you miss the ferry on the way back to the island you are stuck and have to do an additional 10-15 mile hike back to the town. Overall fun hike, first few miles are in the woods and you have an option to do a “waterside” hike next to the waterfalls which adds a mile or so. Definitely overgrown area as I think people don’t often do that side, but we hit it on the way down so we knew we had enough time to make it back to the ferry. One section you do a short rock scramble into a small cave. Personally, for the amount of switchbacks and views it wasn’t as worth it for me. If you’re here in the area I would recommend, but prob would not do again.

Ange Vogell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 08 2020
Hiking

Did this hike years ago with my husband and was my favorite and longest hike so far. You need to take a ferry over and make sure you take lots of water. Such a beautiful scenic hike with amazing views! A couple tricky spots and the top 1/3 was rocky, switchbacks but overall not hard just long. Would love to do it again.

Anndrea Vogt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Jul 06 2020
HikingGreat!

I did this trail last year and it was definitely one of the most thrilling hikes I've ever done! You definitely cannot be scared of heights for the last part of the hike. The only thing I did not enjoy was how busy the trail was. Just a heads up that we did encounter a bear on the trail though.

Tom Prince
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 05 2020
HikingFloodedSnow

Loop around lake was flooded out. Sone snowy patches closer to the top. Other then that, it was a gorgeous hike and canoe!

View Tom's Recording
Brianna Milne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 05 2020
HikingMuddyOver grownSnow

Completed the hike on July 4, 2020, total return hiking time was 5h10m with 25min for lunch. We hike steady at 4km/hr. Such an incredible day, there was only 6 people (including us) on the trail all day. The views are spectacular, 10/10 day!! Rented a canoe and paddled the 3.5km accross to the trail head. Have heard it's unlikely that the boats will run in 2020. The hike was muddy and overgrown in places, due to lack of use/trail maintenance. When we got to crypt lake, still lots of snow around and the water was high. Was unable to complete the lakeshore walk, the trail is either in the lake or under snow. Would need an axe/crampons to safely complete. If you don't like caves, small spaces or heights this hike is NOT for you.

Shawn Needham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

This one of the most amazing scenic hikes to be done. Do it once a year, while it says hard, I would rate it moderate to hard. Lots of switchbacks on the final climb. Well worth all the effort! Last hiked it in 2019

Brett Wells
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 25 2020

The ferry is closed.

Nav Minhas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 20 2020
HikingBridge out

Is the trail open yet ?

James Wade
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 05 2020
Hiking

Sunny. August, 2014.

Lorianne N
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri May 29 2020
Hiking

Hiked last summer(2019) and it quickly became one of my favourite hikes! A long sleeve was needed when having lunch at the lake. Some people were jumping off rocks into the freezing cold water - which would have been awesome but I was way too cold

Daria Strelnikova
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun May 17 2020
Hiking

Went in August of 2019 and one of my favourite hikes. We went out on the first boat in the morning and the first one back as well! Some amazing views of waterton Lake as well as the canyon waterfalls. We were one of the first ones to make it to the lake up top for lunch and some relaxing! Tons of people who went up also went swimming in the water - but it's very cold! You start off with a group of people which I didn't exactly like but you quickly find that everyone goes at their own pace and after a bit you won't be seeing anyone until you hit the top. Cool cave to climb through with ladders and amazing sites! Definitely recommend! Saw a lot of kids doing it too, maybe around 12 years old? Either way, definitely head out there with some comfy shoes and a nice lunch :)

Samantha Paradee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Apr 22 2020
Hiking

Absolutely incredible. Get out on the first boat in the morning and first boat back! Breathtaking

Heidi Hiker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Dec 29 2019

Interesting hike with fun features. Our friend ran ahead so he could be the first of all the people on the full boat to get there. Though he did, he also got lost for 20 minutes and almost fell at the cave ledge due to anxiety. As hilarious of a story it is, maybe don't do that.

Michaela Kral-Realtor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 23 2019
HikingRocky

Epic hike. Completed on 9/23/19. At this time of year, the ferry ran only at 9a there and 5:30p back. I'm a very overweight short female that lives barely above sea level. I really wanted to complete this hike, but was very concerned about the elevation gain and altitude. I can do length on flat land forever, so the length in and of itself was not daunting for me. However, the added stress of being back to the dock in time for the return ferry was. This is probably one of the hardest trails I've completed taking all those factors into consideration. The ascent is not particularly steep, but about 3 of the 5 miles is fairly constant uphill. I took a LOT of "catch your breath" breaks, but mostly forced myself to keep moving. It took me about 4 hours to reach Crypt Lake. I only took about a 10 minute break at Crypt Lake before heading back down. The descent took me about 3 hours and 15 minutes. There is a section of the trail that is very rocky, so you don't feel extremely stable for a good distance. Add in the high winds we were experiencing and it added an extra element of anxiety. However, it was a fun hike. Crypt Lake was one itself of my least favorite lakes to view in Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks, but the hike itself was amazing and a fun challenge.

Tia Hill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Sep 21 2019
HikingScramble
View Tia's Recording
Rick L
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Sep 20 2019
Hiking

Completed hike today. Was cloudy with slight rain but took nothing away from hike At lake we were privileged to see a mother grizzly bear with 3 cubs. This topped a great hike and a must do in Waterton.

Michael Teetzel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Sep 15 2019
Hiking

amazing!!!

Kelsie McGee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Sep 14 2019
HikingRocky

Dog-friendly trail (be prepared for the ladder/tunnel and ledge with a suitable harness). Fabulous views! Only downside was the crowd of people on the boat/trail and up at the lake. Would love to do this on a weekday in late fall if the weather was nice.

Faye Mauhay
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Sep 14 2019
Hiking

Will definitely do this again. This trail provides enough challenge on both distance and elevation gain. Plus the ladder, tunnel and cable are added fun to the experience not to mention the thought of being able to make it back in time for the ferry back to the town :) Saw three bears during the hike, one of which was right on the trail. It was cold and windy during the hike but still beautiful in all places.

Tabitha Melnychuk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Sep 12 2019
HikingMuddyRocky

Amazing hike! So much to see and experience. It’s a must do! Definitely had it’s more challenging parts, but worth it!

John Curran
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 09 2019
Hiking

We also did the hike yesterday with the rain and wind. The tunnel and cable area was completed by my lady who has a bad fear of heights. She completed it. Truly very cool. I did this hike once b4 in 2015 on a sunny 22 degree day and the views were stunning. Not to be missed if you love both the journey and destination.

Brittany Neiser
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 09 2019
Hiking

Great trail. Was particularly cloudy/rainy yesterday when we did it, which made the views barely visible. Getting to the lake was mildly unremarkable because of this as the surrounding mountains were mostly covered. And 5:30 pick-up is definitely a bit too late. We did the loop around the lake to kill time and slowly made our way back to the boat landing but still had an hour to kill there before the boat came to take us back. I’d like to return and do this trail on a nice day as I imagine it’s amazing in the right conditions!

Ezra Dunlop
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Sep 07 2019
Hiking

This is the second time I’ve done this hike and it doesn’t get old. It definitely made the top 20 hikes list for good reason! The trail itself is not actually that difficult or steep it’s just long. If you’re trying to make a good accurate trail recording make sure you pause it before you enter the tunnel, the loss of GPS reception does some weird this to the track. Fantastic day 10/10 would recommend.

View Ezra's Recording
Brad Beall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Sep 06 2019
HikingRockyScramble
View Brad's Recording
Showing results 1 - 25 of 484