Time and distance are return, the elevation gain is minimal.
This small chain of lakes is in northern Montana, in Glacier National Park, but the easiest way to get there is through Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. These lakes are rumored to be your best bet for moose viewing in Glacier. The trail begins at Goat Haunt, Montana, which used to be a mountain goat hunting area for the wealthy, but now is just a port of entry for hikers and boaters from Waterton. You can get to Goat Haunt by hiking the Waterton Lakeshore Trail, by taking your own boat or by riding in style on the International Cruise ship which is docked in Waterton but registered in Montana (it's confusing. A few years ago, the Canadian government tried to take control of the vessel, not sure why. Only after the U.S. state department told them that they would consider that an act of war did our boys finally come to their senses).
Because you are travelling from Canada to the U.S., the normal border crossing regulations apply. There is a ranger station at Goat Haunt, and little else, with a certified customs agent who will process any U.S. or Canadian (ONLY) citizen who wishes to proceed on foot. I would have to say that this is the most pleasant border crossing I've ever encountered.
The trail to Kootenai Lakes is 5km each way with very little elevation change. The trail is well graded and travels through mature old growth forest (old growth for the Rockies, that is). We were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a good sized bull moose who posed for us for the next 3 hours, during which time a cow and 2 calves joined him.
After we got back to the lake it was time to sit back on the shore and relax while we waited for the boat.
Directions:Take the Shoreline Cruise from Waterton to Goat Haunt. Check in with Customs at the ranger station.
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