OverviewKishinena Peak is one the 25 named peaks in Waterton Lakes National Park of Alberta Canada. Having origins as far back as 1895, Waterton became Canada's 4th national park, and is the smallest in the Canadian Rockies at a measly 505 sq km (195 sq. mi). To get an idea of just how small the park is, at its widest point it is about 30 km (less than 20 miles), and its largest length is around 23 km (14 miles). A 195 sq miles is a square approximately 14 miles long by 14 miles wide. Nonetheless for such a small area, Wateron is full of numerous mountains, lakes, streams and wildlife, and one could spend many years exploring it.
Kishinena Peak is located about 20 km WNW (294 degrees), as the crow flies, from the townsite and is located on British Columbia/Alberta border. It is in the same neigbourhood as Mt. Bauerman, which is about 2.5 km east of Kishinena Peak. All of the approaches for Mt. Bauerman can also be used to access Kishinena Peak.
Kishinena Peak may not be one of the tallest peaks around, but nonetheless it's location offers amazing views in all directions. Too see the views follow one or all of the links in the Trip Reports section below.
Getting ThereKishinena Peak is located in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada. This Park is situated 270 km (162 miles) south of Calgary, Alberta, 43 km (27 miles) west of Cardston, Alberta, and about 80 km (48 miles) from the St. Mary entrance to Glacier National Park, Montana. When driving to Waterton Lakes National Park it can only be accessed from its eastern side.
From Calgary take Highway 2 south to Fort Macleod, then west on Highway 3 to Pincher Creek, then south again on Highway 6. The drive requires about three hours.
From Cardston take Highway 5 west, through the village of Mountain View. The drive is less than 40 minutes.
From Glacier National Park, Montana, take the Chief Mountain International Highway (closed in the winter). From the St. Mary entrance of GNP it is approximately a 1 hour drive. In the winter take Montana Highway 89 to Alberta Highway 2 to Cardston, then Highway 5 to Waterton.
Once you pass through the toll both on Highway 5 continue going southeast a few kilometers until you notice a major road on the right (west). This is the first place you can turn right (west) and is just before a bridge over a creek. The road is the Red Rock Parkway and it travels 15 km (less than 10 miles) up the Blakiston Valley through rolling grasslands and ends at Red Rock Canyon where the hike to Kishinena Peak begins. The Red Rock Parkway is gated closed from late fall to early spring.
Click here for a map.
Drive up the Red Rock Parkway to its termination at Red Rock Canyon. From the parking lot follow the signs for Blakiston Falls. Pass the falls and continue on for approximately 6 more kilometers (for a total of 10 km from the parking lot) to the point where it meets the Tamarack trail. At the intersection turn left heading north along the Tamarack trail about 2 km to an evident high point above Twin Lakes called the Bauerman Divide at 2,070 m (6,791 ft) which is marked with a large cairn. At the cairn, on the high point, turn to the left and go west up the ridge toward Kishinena Peak. This a fairly easy scramble with nothing harder than a class III.
At Red Rock Canyon, after crossing the bridge, instead of turning left toward Blakiston Falls, go straight ahead (in a northwest direction, eventually heading mostly west) towards Goat Lake and the Snowshoe Cabin along the Snowshoe trail. Bikes are allowed on the Snowshoe trail, so you might consider biking the Snowshoe trail for 8.5 km at which point you will end up at designated backcountry campground directly below the north face of Mount Bauerman. From the campground continue west 3.2 km, on foot (bikes are not allowed on this section), to the Twin Lakes. At the lakes turn left, heading south up about 1 km to the evident high point above Twin Lakes called the Bauerman Divide, and from the Divide follow the instruction for Route 1 above.
Route 3 is essentially the same as Route 2 except at the Twin Lakes instead of heading south to the col between Mt. Bauerman and Kishinena Peak, follow the Sage Pass hiking trail west and up to the ridge. Once you gain the ridge turn left and head south, along the ridge, to the peak. The ridge walk to the peak is less than 2 km.
A nice combination, quasi loop, is to use Route 2 to gain the peak, and use Route 3 to descend the peak, or vice versa.
CampingThere are 9 designated wilderness campsites in Waterton, and one of them is located at the end of the bike permitted section of the snowshoe trail as mentioned in the routes section above, and yet another is located at the Twin Lakes (also mentioned in the routes section above). In other words there are at least two good camping options in the Kishinena Peak area.
Non-designated camping may be permitted in certain circumstances. Prior permission from a park warden is required and all wilderness camping regulations and fees apply. Fires are not permitted.
Reservations are available for wilderness campsites. A non-refundable reservation fee is charged (see below), plus a modification fee for any changes. Reservations may be made 90 days in advance. Call the visitor center at (403) 859-5133.
As of Feb 21, 2012 Backcountry camping fees are as follows. Overnight, per person $ 9.80. Season, per person $ 68.70. Reservation $ 11.70. Can anyone say “rip-off”?
All fees are Canadian dollar rates.
Additionally Parks Canada operates four campgrounds in Waterton Lakes National Park. Click here for details.
WeatherWind is a noticeable element of this area’s climate, and shouldn’t be ignored. Gusts of over 100 km/hr (60 mph) are common, but thankfully they occur mostly in the fall and winter rather than the summer. Note that gusts of over 150 km/hr (90 mph) have frequently been recorded in the area.
The summers in the Kishinena Peak area are brief with some hot spells (high 35*C/94*F). Winters are long and relatively mild (high 10*C/50*F), with occasional warm spells caused by Chinook winds. This area is often one of Alberta's warmest places in the winter, despite ample snow and temperatures that can occasionally drop as low as -40*C/-40*F.
This area receives Alberta 's highest average annual precipitation of 1072 mm (42 inches) per year.
Red TapeIn the spring, summer, and fall, one must pay an entrance fee in order to get into Waterton Lakes Park, home of Kishinena Peak. There is no fee in the winter. As of summer, 2011 the Canadian dollar daily rates were $7.80 per adult or $19.60 for a family/group. Click here for the most up to date rates.
Also note the park has no gas or groceries available in winter.
When traveling to Waterton Lakes National Park from Glacier National Park in the US state of Montana one must be aware of the Canada Ports of Entry operating schedules. Chief Mountain port of entry is open seasonally (closed in Winter) from May through September and Carway/Peigan port of entry is open year round from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
HistoryMost often "Kishinena" is said to be a Native (as in Kootenay Indian) word meaning "white fir" or "balsam".
However, Landsurveyinghistory.ab.ca gives another possible origin of the Kishinena name. "The name Kishinena may be a corruption of the Indian word, "ish-nee-nee," which means "there it is." Evidently, the survey party was looking for water, and the Kootenays who crossed the summit with them answered saying "ish-nee-nee," and because they speak with a gutteral sound, the survey party did not catch the proper pronuniciation."
Whatever the origin "Kishinena" was informally used as the peak name long before it was officially adopted in 1959.
Trip Reports (Linked Externally)- http://www.freewebtown.com/anugara/kishinena.html
Hiker atop Kishinena Peak.
Notice one of the Twin Lakes to the left.
(Above image is displayed from trevorhelwig.blogspot.com and belongs to Trevor Helwig)