Take In The Beauty Of Two Mountainous National Parks On This Breathtaking Road Trip

Which do you want to see — the American Rockies or the Canadian Rockies? With this road trip, you don't have to choose. The Rocky Mountains offer visitors some of North America's most dramatic scenery. The Rocky Mountains in the U.S. and Canada are jaw-droppingly beautiful, with towering, snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes, and wildflower-filled meadows. On this road trip, you get to see some of the best of the West in the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park lies in Alberta, while the U.S.'s Glacier National Park sits just across the border in Montana. A vacation to these two parks lets you enjoy Glacier's famous Going-to-the-Sun Road and take short hikes with big pay-offs in Waterton. You'll also have a chance to spot some of the area's incredible wildlife, like black bears and bighorn sheep, which wander across the international border in a way most humans no longer can. Visitors usually drive between the parks, crossing the border at Chief Mountain in the summer and Carway/Piegan during the rest of the year. Make sure you have a valid passport when embarking on this international road trip.

What to do in Waterton Lakes National Park

One of the best things to do in Waterton is strap on your boots and get out on the trails. Waterton can deliver whether you prefer a short stroll or a longer hike. A short but steep hike is to Bear's Hump, which offers incredible views over the park's lakes and into Glacier in the U.S. A highly rated longer hike is the Crypt Lake Trail. Be prepared for ledges with steep dropoffs, a ladder climb and some of the most amazing views in the Rockies. Most hikers access the trail via a 15-minute boat ride.

Waterton isn't just about hiking, though. You can canoe or kayak on the lakes, take scenic drives, like the one out to Red Rock Canyon, and spend time wildlife spotting and bird watching. Another popular activity is visiting the Prince of Wales Hotel. It also offers a delicious high tea and evening programs during which staff share stories of the park, Natasha of The Banff Blog writes. One TripAdvisor user wrote that the view from the hotel is the best in the park, and it's accessible to non-guests.

If you have any doubts about whether to visit Waterton, let Reddit user Tribblehappy lay them to rest. In the r/AskACanadian forum, they boldly claimed that they prefer Waterton over the more famous Banff National Park. (We say explore both if you can!)

Highlights of Glacier National Park

Glacier is part of the Crown of the Continent, an untouched wilderness area that provides a haven for wildlife, including grizzly bears. And the park has many jewels to discover. We mentioned the Going-to-the-Sun Road already, and it's considered by many to be the park's number one attraction. The 50-mile drive takes you across the park from east to west, reaching a high point (literally) at 6,646 feet at Logan Pass. The views are sublime: glacial lakes and dense forests give way to raw tundra at higher elevations. Be aware that you may need a permit to drive the road in the summer.

Other highlights of Glacier include the hundreds of miles of hiking trails, with many receiving incredible reviews on AllTrails. A popular, relatively easy hike is the six-mile trek to Avalanche Lake through the forest to an enticing, clear lake where you can swim on warmer days. If you're looking for a more challenging hike, try the Grinnell Glacier Trail, which has stunning views along the way and ends at a glacier.

Finally, in the summer, Glacier National Park offers a Native America Speaks program. Attendees get an insight into local history and culture from members of the Blackfeet Nation and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. A road trip to Glacier and Waterton National Parks is a breathtaking way to spend your next vacation.