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Castle Mountain Lookout Hike

Where:

  • Castle Mountain Lookout

 

When:

  • September 4, 2021

 

Who:

  • Ed, Tomonori, Rod, Bauer, Gerard, Carolyn, Dave, Erin, Oak, Luna

 

Trailhead:

  • the trailhead is 5 km west of Castle Junction on the 1A highway on the north side of the highway
  • the trail starts out of the far end of the parking lot

 

 

Degree of difficulty:

  • 600 meters of elevation gain to go to the ledge above the lookout
  • 7.4 km round trip (out and back) to the lookout and another km to the upper base
  • the trail starts on gentle switchbacks and then becomes steeper and narrower near the top
  • at the lookout, you can go up to the base of the rocks on trails that are on either side of the canyon or right up the canyon (very steep and tricky footing)
  • the hike took us 3 hours, but it’s only around an hour to the lookout

 

 

Interesting notes:

  • most of the hike is in the trees with intermittent viewpoints
  • at the top, there are sweeping views across the valley of Copper Mountain, Storm Mountain, Boom Mountain, Mount Bell, and the Panorama Ridge
  • during the early 1940’s, a network of fire lookouts was constructed throughout Banff National park until the mid 70’s when they were removed
  • you can climb up through the canyon above the lookout, and there is a 5th class scramblers route that leads to an alpine hut on a plateau
  • Castle Mountain was named in 1858 by James Hector for its castle-like appearance
  • from 1948 to 1979, it was named Mount Eisenhower in honor of World War 2 general Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • just west of the trailhead is a memorial to the Castle Mountain Internet Camp, which is worth checking out to delve into this unfortunate piece of Canadian history