For the third and final day of our Waterton trip we were looking for something short and sweet that would allow us to enjoy the park in the morning, yet still tackle the 6-7 hour drive back to Edmonton within a reasonable time frame. An easy 4km hike up the Lineham Creek trail to the Lineham Falls looked like it would fit these constraints nicely.
With a three hour round-trip time and some decent views this trip did fit the constraints nicely; however, I have one major caveat.
The Lineham Creek trail comes to an abrupt and surprising end half a kilometre away from the falls, which are the centerpiece of the valley. Despite cascading a hundred metres from the Lineham Lakes hidden above, the falls aren't particularly impressive from that distance. For this trip to be worth the time and effort, you need to be capable and willing to continue beyond the end of the trail along faint paths, while contending with some side-hilling and minor bushwhacking, to reach the foot of the falls. If that doesn't sound like something you'd be comfortable attempting, you may want to scratch this particular destination from your list.
The Lineham Creek trailhead is easily reached from Waterton by following the Akamina Parkway westward for roughly 6km from near the Prince of Wales Hotel. The trailhead is signed and has a parking area along the right (west) side of the road.
The Lineham Creek trail is quite linear (there are no forking paths), well-maintained, and very easy to follow. The views from the trail soon improve once you've passed through a forested area and ascended the lower slopes of Ruby Ridge (to the right), where the summit and impressive east ridge of Mount Lineham dominates the valley to the left.
Despite being called the Lineham Creek trail, you won't actually see the creek until the latter part of the approach. Roughly 3km into the trip you should keep an eye out for a brief, but worthwhile side trip to a small waterfall that's slightly below the trail to the left.
Once you've reached the abrupt and signed ending of the official trail, you'll want to follow the faint trail which appears (at first) to be headed up towards the col linking Mt. Blakiston with the unnamed ridge which leads to Mt. Hawkins. The trail soon curves to the left and then begins to weave its way, somewhat erratically, through low brush at first, and then later through loose scree as it nears the waterfalls. The trail does go the entire distance to the falls, but due to infrequent use and some brush overgrowth, it can be easy to lose. If you do lose the trail, just keep an eye out for where it may have continued. In general, this path trends diagonally upwards before it eventually follows the base of the ridge to the falls. You'll definitely want to be on the trail once you reach the scree slopes, as the side-hilling there can be quite tedious otherwise.
The rocky platform next to Lineham Falls makes for an ideal spot to enjoy both a snack and the dramatically improved view of, not only the falls, but of the Lineham Creek valley below. Once you've had your fill, simply retrace your steps back to the official trail, and then the remaining 4.2km to the trailhead and a return to Waterton.