Nice loop that includes Bertha peak. You can start right from the townsite.

Quick Stats

  • Distance: 20.2Km for the full loop from the townsite
  • Height Gain: 1369m
  • Round Trip Time: 7h
Bertha Peak towers over the town of Waterton. When I heard the party I was with was planning a hike to Bertha Lake, I had no choice but to attempt to bag Bertha Peak. I had also heard a loop was possible heading up over the peak and then back down the other side. Better check this out!
If you haven’t already, check out the link below for the route to Bertha Lake. After you arrive at the lake, head around it on the right (North) side. When you see the trail pictured here, turn right and start the grind up the ridge toward the summit of Bertha Peak.
There are multiple trails and routes heading up from the lake. Pick whichever line works best for you. The summit of Bertha peak can be seen on the right in the distance.
As you ascend the views improve quickly. If you look carefully, you can see the Bertha Lake trail that leaves from Waterton Lake, heads up the valley and then switchbacks up to the lake. More on the Bertha Lake trail here:
Although I didn’t see a single person during my entire ascent, I was surprised to find a gentleman on the summit soaking up the sun. Sven said, “I’m surprised to see somebody else up here”. The feeling was mutual. Note that some friendly individual has graffitied “Summit” on a rock. If it wasn’t for this handy tag, Sven and I may have been wandering around lost for days!
A look back at the lake from above. If you look carefully on the hiking path beside the lake, you can see some black dots. The little specs are the party that I hiked to Bertha Lake with. Incredibly, we managed to talk to each other via cell phone. I could see them, but they couldn’t see me on the summit. Sven said, I’ve got just the thing!
Sven pulled out an emergency smoke flare and set it off on the summit. It produced a huge vibrant cloud of orange smoke. My friends down at the lake could see us now.
Here is the view of the smoke signal from the lake. Despite the emergency smoke looking so intense from the summit, you probably wouldn’t even notice it from down here. Keep that in mind if you are ever going to use one of these in a real rescue situation.
Zoomed in view of the smoke plume from the lake.
The views of the Waterton lakes from the summit are superb. Boat traffic on the lake is the busiest I have ever seen! The valley on the other side of the lake is home to the world famous Crypt lake hike:
Mount Crandall makes an appearance to the North. You can rent a mountain bike and ride around the entire mountain:
All this excitement I almost forgot the traditional Summit Selfie!
When it is time to leave, the easiest way is to return the way you came. But I was interested in attempting a loop back to town. Instead, I followed this ridge to the col.
I initially attempted to descend from the col along these ridges. The terrain quickly steepened, and I turned around. I then went up the ridge seen here to around the second small bump on the ridge. From there, I could drop down toward the valley that has the trail to Alderson Lake.
Looking back from the ridge to Bertha Peak. The red rock looks pretty cool!
After ascending the ridge for a bit, you are granted a nice view of Alderson Lake.
The initial descent from Bertha ridge is very easy and goes by quickly. There are no trails on this side of the peak, you must be able to navigate your own way down.
I aimed for an avalanche path to follow back to the Alderson Lake hiking trail. Unfortunately for me, the going was very slow down this route. Many fallen trees and deadwood to step over, walk around or crawl under. I got a couple scrapes on my skin from sharp deadwood sticks.
After what felt like an eternity bashing down the rubble in the avalanche clearing, I had to then bushwhack for about 20minutes through thick forest. Eventually, I stumbled out onto the official trail. What a glorious sight this was! Travel was much faster after getting back onto the main trail.
At last, the town of Waterton comes into view. I’ll be drinking beers on the lake shore in no time! The only crux left is the horse droppings on the trail I have to keep dodging.
Right as I reach the town and the end of the trail, the source of the land mines becomes clear. It is just a short walk-through town back to the hotel for a much-needed shower!


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *