OverviewMount Glendowan is one the 25 named peaks in Waterton Lakes National Park of Alberta Canada and is located on the northern most boundary of the park. It is in the same neigbourhood as Goat Lake, the Avion Ridge, and Cloudy Peak.
The view of the south aspect of Mount Glendowan as seen looking north from Mount Anderson.
(Above image is displayed from Flickr and belongs to AlbertaScrambler)
Getting ThereMount Glendowan is located in the Red Rock Canyon area of 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 Mount Glendowan begins. The Red Rock Parkway is gated closed from late fall to early spring.
Click here for a map.
RoutesDrive up the Red Rock Parkway to its termination at Red Rock Canyon. At Red Rock Canyon, after crossing the bridge, do not turn left toward Blakiston Falls, but rather 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 riding one to save a little hiking time.
Route 1 - West Ridge
Continue along the Snowshoe trail for 4.6 kilometers until you come to the turn off for Goat Lake. If you are on a bike you will need to stash it here. Head up the Goat Lake trail until it opens up and you can recognize a passable scramble up the south facing slopes (your right). Your goal is to gain the ridge between Newman Peak and Mount Glendowan (aka the west ridge of Mount Glendowan), and the reason to use the Goat Lake trail is to get above the trees and avoid the bushwhacking of the other routes mentioned below. You will need to rely on your scrambling abilities as well as your route finding skills. Click here for a map with the south slopes labeled as A, Newman Peak labeled as B and Mount Glendowan labeled as C – gain the ridge from point A (off of the Goat Lake Trail) to point D on the ridge, and then follow the ridge east, four kilometers or more, to Mount Glendowan.
A variation for Route 1 is to continue on up to Goat Lake, and from the lake head NW (at about 317 degrees) aiming for the low spot on the ridge. Click here for a map with the Goat Lake labeled point A and the col (or ridge low spot) labeled as point B. This alternative is longer but makes for easier scrambling, and will allow you to tag Newman Peak (49.17677, -114.09898) en route to Mount Glendowan. Once you gain the ridge, follow it more or less east, for five or more kilometers until you reach Mount Glendowan.
Route 2 - South Ridge
Route 2 uses the south ridge of Mount Glendowan as the way to the top. Continue along the Snowshoe trail for 2 kilometers until you come to the first major drainage on the right. Turn right off the Snowshoe trail and follow the creek bed northward, the creek bed may or may not contain running water. The goal here is to use the creek bed to avoid as much bushwhacking as possible as your gain elevation eventually leaving the trees and ending up on the scree slopes of the south ridge. Stay to the left of the creek and use your best judgment as to when to stop following it.
You will find the ridge peppered with pinnacles, typically the left side is the best way to get around these obstacles. Click here for a map with your exit point from the Snowshoe trail labeled as point A and the peak labeled as point B. The route is the south ridge between the two labeled points.
Route 3 - East Ridge
Make your way from the Snowshoe trail up to an unamed point at 8500+ feet, and then head west along Mount Glendowans east ridge to the peak, as seen in this picture. The picture is a view of the south aspect of Mount Glendowan with Routes 2 and 3 labeled as "South Ridge" and "Suggested Route" respectively. The author doesn't nessicarily suggest route 3, as the owner of the picture apparently does.
CampingThere are 9 designated wilderness campsites in Waterton, and one of them is located about 3.9 kilometers further up the Snowshoe trail from the Goat Lake turn off.
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 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 Mount Glendowan. 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.