Great Divide Trail: Waterton to Blairmore

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  •  3.5 days
  • “The hardest section of the GDT”
  • A mixed bag of good trail, cross country, and dirt road walking
  • Challenges: Trail closure, steep ascents and descents, lightning and heavy rain, scree, resupplying in Waterton’s small and expensive store
  • Highlights: Running into Rocco Shun and Kim chi before the US/Alberta border! A close but harmless encounter with a mother grizzly and two cubs on the Akamina Trail, Absolutely epic scenery from the very start! Challenging terrain! Alpine lakes and glaciers!

Our route choices:

     Mt. Rowe alternate: A beautiful ridge walk that is shorter than the main route

Mt. Rowe alternate

The main route was closed due to a bear attack provoked by inexperienced hikers. You will often see signs warning of bear activity on the more popular trails in the National Parks.

The Rowe Lakes Trail

We also tried the Lineham Falls alternate route, but gave up when we realized we’d need some class 5 moves to do it. Maybe there is a way around, but we didn’t take the time to find it.

Lineham Falls…How?

Castle Mountain: This is the main route and descends to a ski resort that has a soda machine (coins only) and wifi. Our plan was to tackle the Barnaby Ridge Alternate but a lightning storm rolled in which had us quickly descending to a saddle below La Coulette Peak.

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Descending to the saddle. See the trail going steeply up the other side?!


Blairmore alternate: Shorter than the main route and goes directly to the town of Blairmore which has hiker friendly amenities like a good grocery store and “cheap” ~$70 lodging. The main route goes directly to the town of Coleman, but hikers who stay there must resupply in Blairmore anyway. These are the only non-tourist towns along the route!

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Much appreciated road walk before town!

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