Hiking Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks
by Erik Molvar (Falcon Guides)
© 2012 Erik Molvar/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
We hiked this trail at the end of June, and a late winter meant the trail to upper Rowe Lake was still covered with snow and downed trees. We restricted our hike to Lower Rowe Lake. The far end of the lake was still frozen, but the shale was warm to the sun, and provided an excellent picnic spot. We have some beautiful photos along the way as reminders.
From what I could tell, this is a great trail. However, when we went there was still about 2-3 feet of snow pack and every second step, your foot would sink into the snow. It was about 25 degrees out and we were surprised the snow hadn't melted yet. Also, about 3/4 of the way, we ran into an avalanche that must have happened a couple of days before. So with an avalanche in our way and soggy boots, we decided to turn around. I would love to try this trail again in a few weeks. What we did see: an awesome roaring river, beautiful rock faces and a few waterfalls.
Upper and Lower Rowe lakes is one of the prettiest hikes in my 30 years of experience. Catch it in a little bit of wet or snow and the place is an emerald playground. Look up often, you might see a flock of bighorn sheep up the side of one mountain or another. But, don't think of getting too close! The big Bucks will make sure you don't molest their does or kids. Look for fresh snow in late fall, and make sure when you climb the mountain ridge up past upper Rowe lake that you have visibility. It can be treacherous in a white-out. Marmots will help you stay entertained as will Ptarmigan, if you don't step on these well camoflaged birds! Solitude is immense and truly awesome. Enjoy the peace and calm. You may even see a hawk or eagle playing on the updrafts along the canyons.
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