From the World Heritage inscription for Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park:
In 1932 Waterton Lakes National Park (Alberta, Canada) was combined with the Glacier National Park (Montana, United States) to form the world’s first International Peace Park. Situated on the border between the two countries and offering outstanding scenery, the park is exceptionally rich in plant and mammal species as well as prairie, forest, and alpine and glacial features.
Glacier might be my favorite national park in the US. The views are breathtaking and the mountains are magnificent.
The Glacier/Waterton International Peace Park is a transnational property listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its natural value in 1995. The park is attributed to both the United States and Canada, specifically the state of Montana in the US and Alberta in Canada.
The Waterton/Glacier International Peace Park was established to unify two separate parks: Waterton Lakes National Park (Canada) and Glacier National Park (US). Both of these parks were previously designated by UNESCO as Biosphere Reserves but they were unified as one property by UNESCO in its World Heritage Site list.
Waterton Lakes National Park
This national park consists one half of the Waterton/Glacier International Peace Park property listed by UNESCO. It is located in the southwest of Alberta, Canada and shares a border with the Glacier National Park in Montana. Established in 1895, this is the fourth national park in Canada and named after the lake within the park’s premises: Waterton Lake. The park consists of over 500 square kilometers of rugged mountains and wilderness.
The Waterton Lakes National Park is open all year round and is managed by Parks Canada. With more than 400,000 visitors per year, there are hiking and lake trails within the park. There is also wildlife that inhabits the park including mule deer, wolverines, river otters, bobcats, grizzly bears, black bears, moose, foxes, elks and many more.
Glacier National Park
The Glacier National Park is dubbed as the Crown of the Continent, which forms half of the UNESCO site Waterton/Glacier International Peace Park. It is located in the state of Montana and along the US-Canada border. The park measures over 1 million acres in land area and encompass two mountain ranges including some parts of the Rocky Mountains. It also consists of more than 130 lakes (most of them unnamed) and several species of plants and animals.
The site of the current location of the Glacier National Park was once home to the Native Americans. Meanwhile, the mountains that are located within the Glacier National Park formed for more than 170 million years. When it was recognized as one unit with Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park as a UNESCO site, it was the first international peace park established in the world.
How to Get Here
If you want to visit the Waterton/Glacier International Peace Park, you have two options: to travel via Montana or Alberta in Canada.
To access the Waterton Lakes National Park, you can drive via Highway 2 South from Calgary or via Highway 5 from Lethbridge. There is no bus service that can take you to the park. But you can book a cab in advance to take you from the nearest station to the park.
Getting to the Glacier National Park is easier than most people think. If you are traveling from an international destination, you must fly into the Glacier Park International Airport. You can then take the Amtrak Empire Builder to the park. If you prefer a road trip, it takes 10 hours to get to the park from Seattle or 4 hours from Spokane.
View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States.
View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada.