Lower Bertha Falls

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Rating: 2     Difficulty: 3
Lower Bertha Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Lower Bertha Falls was the last Canadian waterfall that we saw during our September 2010 trip. What Julie and I enjoyed most about this excursion were the views of Waterton Lake as well as the folded yet pointy mountains making up the landscape surrounding the 2.7km (each way) trail to the falls. In fact, it was probably that Rocky Mountain feel of the trail that really made us sense that we really were hiking within the Crown of the Continent.

As for the falls itself, it was mainly an upside-down triangular fan-type waterfall before twisting and turning into a cascade as it passed beneath the footbridge that passed over the creek and continued the trail towards the Upper Bertha Falls and beyond. While we were able see the falls from that bridge, we noticed a steep and slippery scrambling path yielding a more open (less obstructed view) of the falls, which you see pictured at the top of this page.

As for the hike, it started at the Lower Bertha Trailhead (see directions below). Then, the trail went mostly uphill on a fairly gentle grade as it eventually yielded lakeside views after about 15-20 minutes or so on the trail.

The scenery from the Crown of the Continent During this stretch of the trail, it was muddy enough to reveal various tracks from hoofed organisms to even paw prints from grizzlies (which attested to the high amount of bear activity in September since it was berry season). Indeed, we felt like we were in a place that was more wild and laid back than say the more famous parks at Banff and Jasper further north.

Throughout much of the stretch where the trail more or less paralleled above the western shore of Waterton Lake, it was very easy for me to get distracted with the vistas of the mountains rising high above the lake itself. There was even a short spur trail leading to a lookout point towards the backside of the lake as well as the mouth of the lake in the direction of town.

Shortly after this spur somewhere past the one-hour point of the hike, the trail veered inland past a trail junction (where the path we didn't take on the left continued along the lake). Beyond the junction, the trail entered a canyon as it narrowed and provided vistas of the folded mountains ahead. And after a few more minutes of hiking past more berries and a few small cascades, eventually we reached the footbridge from where we were able to see Lower Bertha Falls at about 2.7km from the trailhead.

The outfitter in Waterton where I bought bear spray from suggested that I continue past the footbridge towards the Upper Bertha Falls and the lake nearby. Unfortunately with a pregnant Julie being on the hike with me, the grizzly bear activity, and the lack of time we allowed ourselves for continuing on, we passed on that suggestion and turned back. Though I'm sure it would've been beautiful, it'll have to be punted to next time...

To give you an idea of the time commitment for this excursion, we spent a little over 2 hours on this hike.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Contextual view of the scenery at Waterton Lake from the Lower Bertha Falls TrailContextual view of the scenery at Waterton Lake from the Lower Bertha Falls Trail
Open view of Waterton Lake from the Lower Bertha Falls TrailOpen view of Waterton Lake from the Lower Bertha Falls Trail
When we left Lower Bertha Falls and Waterton, we got this look back at the valley containing the town showing the sheer jaw-dropping beauty of the Rocky MountainsWhen we left Lower Bertha Falls and Waterton, we got this look back at the valley containing the town showing the sheer jaw-dropping beauty of the Rocky Mountains
Lower Bertha TrailheadLower Bertha Trailhead

It didn't take long before the trail skirted Waterton LakeIt didn't take long before the trail skirted Waterton Lake

Signs along the way assured us that we were going the right waySigns along the way assured us that we were going the right way

Trail starts to veer inland with wrinkly mountains in the backgroundTrail starts to veer inland with wrinkly mountains in the background

Julie on the trail as Waterton Lake remained in sight the whole wayJulie on the trail as Waterton Lake remained in sight the whole way

Julie passed by a resting bench, which showed us that this was a trail meant to be enjoyed by many peopleJulie passed by a resting bench, which showed us that this was a trail meant to be enjoyed by many people

Julie now on the part of the trail where it turned away from Waterton LakeJulie now on the part of the trail where it turned away from Waterton Lake

Looking up at the mountains aheadLooking up at the mountains ahead

These signs were near the Lower Bertha Falls.  I believe it was where a stock trail branched away from the main foot trail we were onThese signs were near the falls. I believe it was where a stock trail branched away from the main foot trail we were on

Grizzly bear paw print?Grizzly bear paw print?

A berry bonanzaA berry bonanza! It's only a matter of time before a grizzly finds this bounty

This part of the trail followed Bertha CreekThis part of the trail followed Bertha Creek

One of the smaller lower cascades en route to the main fallsOne of the smaller lower cascades en route to the main falls

View of Lower Bertha Falls from the footbridgeView of Lower Bertha Falls from the footbridge

The footbridge at Lower Bertha FallsThe footbridge at Lower Bertha Falls

Right in front of Lower Bertha FallsRight in front of Lower Bertha Falls

Julie heading back towards the trailhead with scenic mountains ahead of herJulie heading back towards the trailhead with scenic mountains ahead of her

Almost back at the trailhead as we could see Waterton town up aheadAlmost back at the trailhead as we could see Waterton town up ahead

Looking towards the mouth of Waterton LakeLooking towards the mouth of Waterton Lake

These deer looked like they were eating away at someone's plants near the trailheadThese deer looked like they were eating away at someone's plants near the trailhead. It was as if it was providing some form of gardening service.


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Bottom up sweep of the falls as seen from the bridge


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

The Lower Bertha Trailhead is a short distance before the picnic area on the shore of Waterton Lake and just after Cameron Falls.

For directions to Waterton town and Cameron Falls, see the Cameron Falls page.

As for the context, Waterton was 284km (3 hours drive) south of Calgary and 373km (4 hours drive) south of Banff. Across the US-Canada border, Waterton was 76km (over an hour drive) north of St Mary and 398km (over 4 hours drive) north of Helena.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES





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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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RELATED PAGES



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