There are so many good things to say about Waterton Lakes National Park, but what I remember most are the deer and the big horn sheep. No, really. They wander around the Waterton town site like they own the place.

Which, I suppose they do.

It’s charming. You walk out of your lakeside hotel for a morning stroll along the shore and there they are, several deer, calmly eating grass. When we first saw this, we stopped, afraid to disturb them, thinking they’d run away if they saw us.

Nope.

We just stood and watched them until some other guests came up and informed us that this wasn’t unusual, the deer are so used to humans that they have lost their natural fear of us. Same with the herd of big horn sheep we encountered near the marina that afternoon. I found it just enchanting.

Safety first

Parks Canada advises (and we wholeheartedly agree) that you keep your distance from the wildlife, as they can be aggressive when they feel threatened. This is particularly true in June and early July, when female deer are protecting their new fawns. Keep your dog leashed (required, anyway) and give them their space. As always, inform yourself of what’s expected of you for your enjoyment and safety in our national parks.

Spring Wildflower Festival and Artisan Fair

June is a lovely month to visit Waterton as the warm-weather season kicks off with the Waterton Wildflower Festival. Emerge yourself in the experience by attending a workshop on wildflower photography or how to paint wildflowers. Follow that up with a guided walk, hike or horseback ride to see the wildflowers yourself.

An artisan fair takes place at the same time as the wildflower festival, featuring “nature-inspired and local” artists including jewelers, photographers, painters, metal-workers, potters and more.

Fall Wildlife Weekend and Artisan Fair

In addition to the deer and sheep roaming around town, Waterton is home to the most diverse wildlife population of any national park in Canada. The Waterton Wildlife Weekend happens in mid-September, along with a fall artisan fair. Sounds like a good time to get a jump-start on holiday shopping.