From Waterton to Yellowstone – The Great Bear Trail


Calgary | Waterton National Park | Glacier National Park | Yellowstone National Park

It was said that, once upon a time, the Great Bears roamed this route inside the Rockies between Canada and United States. Hundreds of thousands of wild buffalo, big horn sheep and mountain goats too, travelled this land, and the ancestors of First Nations people hunts and lived freely on this land.

Let us trace their foot prints, and relive the stories of the Great Bear Trail.

Start location: Calgary, AB
End Location: Calgary, AB

  • Product ID
  • Vacation Style Family Friendly, National Parks, Wildlife & Nature
    • Activity Level Easy
    • Duration 8 Days 7 Nights
    All about the From Waterton to Yellowstone – The Great Bear Trail.

    From Waterton to Yellowstone - The Great Bear Trail

    Find the prairies of Alberta meet the peaks of the Rocky Mountains in Waterton Lakes National Park. Clear lakes, thundering waterfalls, rainbow-coloured streams, colourful rocks and mountain vistas await hikers and sightseers.

    Embraced by many, discover for yourself why Waterton is the true hidden gem of Canadian Rockies, and why it is so well loved by many.

    Then, bare witness to Mother Nature’s talent as an artist, as it is evident everywhere at Montana’s Glacier National Park. From the verdant glacier-carved valleys to the effervescent waterfalls and razor-edged peaks. While inside the park boundries, enjoy the scenic 80 kilometer path through dramatic mountains, past shimmering lakes and around hairpin bends.

    Visit Montana’s Capital City of Helena, the town that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the west, serving as the ultimate backdrop for adventure. The Perfect pit stop before entering Yellowstone National Park.

    First spotted in 1807 by Lewis and Clark, words can hardly do justice to describe the beauty of Yellowstone National Park. With dynamic geothermal forces lurking just below the surface gave rise to its dramatic collection of mountains, rivers, canyons, springs and geysers, all surrounded by a tapestry of animals, from the largest mammals to the smallest birds. It is no wonder that since 2008, the Yellowstone National Park receives over three million visitors annually.


    A woman sitting on a rock and taking a picture in Waterton National Park

    Trip Distances:

    for references only
    • Calgary, AB – Waterton National Park ( 259km / 162mi )
    • Waterton National Park – Kalispell, MT ( 248km / 155mi )
    • Kalispell, MT – Bozeman, MT ( 467km / 291mi )
    • Bozeman, MT – West Yellowstone, WY ( 129km / 78mi )
    • West Yellowstone, WY – Lethbridge, AB ( 669km / 418mi )
    • Lethbridge, AB – Calgary, AB ( 215km / 135mi )

    – Trip Highlights –

    • in Alberta:
      • Calgary Tower
      • Calgary Stephen Avenue
      • Waterton National Park
      • Lethbridge High Level Bridge
      • Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
    • in Montana:
      • Glacier National Park
      • Going to the Sun Road
      • Lewis Range
      • Logan Pass
      • Kalispell
      • Helena
    • in Wyoming:
      • Yellowstone National Park
        • West Thumb Geyser Basin
        • Abyss Pool
        • Fishing Bridge Visitor Center
        • Yellowstone Lake
        • Canyon Village
        • Upper & Lower Falls
        • Mud Volcano
        • Mammoth Hot Springs
        • Old Faithful Geyser
        • Midway geyser basin
        • Norris Geyser Basin Museum
    a grand tour of the majestic rockies

    – Trip Dates –

    *Please contact us for available travel dates.

    Note: This itinerary maybe converted to a self-drive package and modified to suit your travel interests, time frame, and budget. Please contact our travel specialists for your customized package.

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    1. Day 1 Welcome to Calgary

      Welcome to Calgary, Alberta. Also known as “Cowtown” to the rest of Canada, this cosmopolitan city is rooted in its wild Western heritage.

      Upon your arrival, your tour guide will greet you at the airport and help you check-in into your hotel. For the rest of the day, we recommend taking a trip to see the Calgary Tower, a symbol and pride of all Calgarians! Or fell free to roam about and explore the city at your own pace.

        Accommodation suggestion
      Coast Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre (3 ) or more selective

    2. Day 2 Rockie's Hidden Gem - Waterton National Park

      Today we travel on Alberta’s scenic ”Cowboy Trail” to the Majestic Waterton National Park on the US-Canada border.

      The Cowboy Trail is a stretch of 640km highway from Mayerthorpe to Cardston in the South Alberta. The highway is painted by sceneries of the prairie along both sides of Highway 22, with cattle, sheep and horses galloping. We will make a stop at the ”Bar U Ranch National Historic Site of Canada” and ride into history and discover ranching life from the late 1800s.

      Arrive in Waterton National Park in the afternoon. In 1895, it was officially commissioned as a National Park by Parks Canada, and shared its southern boundaries with Glacier National Park in Montana, USA when it was commissioned in 1910. Decades later, in 1932, the United States and Canada jointly designated the two sites to create the world’s first International Peace Park to commemorate the peace and goodwill the two nations continue to share, and was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

      Waterton Lakes National Park is located at the junction where Alberta’s vast grassland meets the towering Rockie Mountains; full of breathtaking scenery, it offers visitors different ways to embrace its beauty.

      Visit the Prince of Wales Hotel by the lake and be amazed by its sapphire blue lakeside scenery, towering snow-capped mountains and rolling hills. Here, you can see Glacier National Park directly on the opposite bank of the lake.

      Overnight in the beautiful Waterton Lakes.

        Accommodation suggestion
      Waterton Lake Lodge Resort (3 ) or more selective

    3. Day 3 Kalispell

      Day 3 will take you across the U.S.-Canada border and into United States. Please note: you must hold a valid visa to enter United States

      Immediately arriving at Glacier National Park in Montana, U.S., and you will be greeted by the ”Going-to-the-Sun Road”. The Road spans 50 miles and crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass at 907 meters above sea-level. During your traverse you will see impressive glaciers, beautiful valleys, cascading waterfalls, towering mountains and colourful wildflowers. Be also on the look out for Wildlife sightings! Since this section of the road is typically frozen in winter, it is only open for driving from mid-June to mid-October. Therefore, an alternate route will be plotted should this portion of the highway is closed.

      Arrive in Kalispell by the evening. Surrounded by forests, lakes, streams, and mountains, Kalispell sits between Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake, and is known for producing cherries. Fun fact! Before the opening of the Great Northern Railroad in 1891, it was a beautiful area called Mountain Park by the local Salish people that roamed this land.

      Overnight in Kalispell.

        Accommodation suggestion
      Hampton Inn Kalispell (3 ) or more selective

    4. Day 4 Bozeman

      Continuing the journey toward Yellowstone National Park, head south along Flathead Lake will take us to Helena, the capital city of the state of Montana. Along the way, you can enjoy more of the beautiful landscape of Montana, and see why Montana is also known as ”Big Sky Country”.

      Arriving at Helena, you may visit the impressive Capital Building and take pictures with it. Montana is also one of the five states in the United States that does not impose a sales tax, so feel free to enjoy a shopping spree while you are here! Visit the ”Rocky Mountain Museum” next to the University of Montana, where you will hear the story that Montana is where the first dinosaur fossil was discovered in United States, and the town has become an important location for collecting and researching dinosaur fossils.

      Arrive in Bozeman in the evening where you will spend the night.

        Accommodation suggestion
      Hilton Garden Inn Bozeman (3 ) or more selective

    5. Day 5 Yellowstone National Park

      Entering Yellowstone National Park enroute from Livingston today;

      Listed as a ”World Heritage” by UNESCO, Yellowstone National Park also bares the name as ”the crown jewel of American national parks”. It is a plateau in the Rocky Mountains. Located at the intersection of three nearby states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, covering a massive area of 2,219,789 acres or 8,983 square kilometers;

      Yellowstone National Park was originally a volcanic terrain. After the last violent volcanic eruption 600,000 years ago, erosion by the waves of the Yellowstone River, alluvial deposits during the Ice Age and the shock of crustal changes have made Yellowstone famous for its out of this world landscapes, and mind blowing geyser. In addition, there are rugged mountains, dense forests, deep lakes, rushing rivers and towering waterfalls, all are ready to make a lasting impression on you during your visit. With its diverse ecology, there are also plenty of different species for one to observe while visiting Yellowstone National Park.

      We will arrive at the destination early afternoon and the experience will immediately have an impact on you. Experience the unique landscapes and sceneries at the West Thumb Geyser Basin and Abyss Pool. Witness the power of nature that scalped the canyon, and feel the immense force of the upper and lower falls.

        Accommodation suggestion
      Kelly Inn West Yellowstone Hotel (3 ) or more selective

    6. Day 6 Yellowstone National Park

      Continue the immense experience of Yellowstone National Park today first by a visit to the Mammoth Hot Springs. Walk on boardwalks above the steaming hydrothermal features and have an up close and personal view of this unique feature.

      Mammoth Hot Springs are a must-see feature of Yellowstone National Park in part because they’re so different from other thermal areas in the area. This is largely because limestone is a relatively soft type of rock, allowing the travertine formations to grow much faster than other sinter formations. It has been described as looking like a cave turned inside out.

      Then, visit the Yellow Stone’s famous Old Faithful Geyser. Each eruption can vary in height from 100-180 feet with an average near 130-140 feet. This has been the historical range of its recorded height and normally last between 1.5 to 5 minutes.

      To finish the day with a bang! You will visit the Midway geyser basin, where you will see one of the most photographed feature in Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Prismatic Spring. The hot spring has bright bands of orange, yellow, and green ring the deep blue waters in the spring. The multicolored layers get their hues from different species of thermophile (heat-loving) bacteria living in the progressively cooler water around the spring.

        Accommodation suggestion
      Kelly Inn West Yellowstone Hotel (3 ) or more selective

    7. Day 7 Lethbridge

      Today will be a travelling day, we will be leaving Yellowstone National Park and make our way back to Canada. Watch as the sceneries once again slowly transforms from towering mountains to the plains of the prairies.

      Tonight, you will spend a night in third largest city in Alberta, Lethbridge. With warm summer and mild winter, Lethbridge is a thriving hub for adventure, agriculture, heritage, history, cuisine, and 200 km of trails that will keep your heart beating fast, and your soul stoking the coals of inspiration.

      We’ll visit the The Brewery Garden that was once originally a disposal site for used coal ashes used in the Brewing process. The Brewery was commissioned in 1950 and gifted to the City of Lethbridge in 1990 when the Brewery closed. This is also the best location to see the High Level Bridge, a Lethbridge landmark that has framed views of the city for over a century. Its black steel trestles contrast the rolling hills of the coulees and the Oldman River.

        Accommodation suggestion
      Hampton Inn Lethbridge (3 ) or more selective

    8. Day 8 Calgary

      Go north along Highway 2 this morning, we will be visiting and other UNESCO ”World Heritage” site of ”Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump” where it interprets over 6,000 years of Plains Buffalo culture. Through vast landscapes, exhibits, and diverse programming, learn about the cultural significance of this cliff to the Plains People.

      Arriving back in Calgary in the afternoon, and upon drop-off at Calgary International Airport marks the end of this unforgettable journey.

        Accommodation suggestion
      Coast Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre (3 ) or more selective