Explore the most popular trails near Castle Junction with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Castle Junction, Alberta Map
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hiking
1 day ago

Sep 17, 2017 - awesome hike !

hi folks is it possible to hike all of these rookies summit in winter too?

Awesome hike, I really enjoyed seeing the 7 or so various mushroom types growing in the mossy dank initial ascent of the hike. My girlfriend, pups & I really enjoyed the hike, beautiful panoramic views of a large portion the Banff N.P.

Aaron B.

1 month ago

Lost the sun at the lake in the mid-afternoon, so earlier the better if you want to hang out there for a while. Bring cleats cause of the recent snow near the top (which also made for muddy swampy conditions towards the end in some sections).

hiking
1 month ago

Gradual elevation gain pretty much the whole way but not too steep or strenuous - good cardio training. A lot of the forest floor is changing colour which was beautiful to see. Definitely worth the final push up to the second lake. It was a little chilly and started to snow so we didn’t hang around long. Whilst have a snack though we did hear a wolf / coyote howl that echoed around the bowl, that was incredible. Well trodden trail that was a little slippy when wet. On a hot sunny day it would be easy to spend an hour or two at the lakes

3h 46min return which was a fast pace. 18.23km

#HikingWithHarri

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike but long. Get early start, no later than 10am imho.

The whole way you can here thehighway, view of construction..

Loved this trail...the first 6 km is a pretty steep trail, then the last 2km the trail flatens out and the views are amazing.

Although it was smoke,the view was amazing!

This trip was hampered by the smoke from the BC wildfires, so being totally fair the reward at the top is probably usually a lot better! I would do this hike again as a prep for bigger summit hikes. It was definitely tough. I think the only reason this trail gets rated as “moderate” is because of the length, but it’s a hard work out. The first kilometre or so is very steep. It does ease off a bit through the middle portion and then finishes off with a series of switchbacks. We ran into quite a few people on this trail and I don’t think most of them were expecting such a tough hike, but it looked like everyone stuck it out to the top!

We did this hike with our two dogs. It was definitely doable, but a couple of notes.... The middle section is mostly loose rock, which was a bit tougher for the dogs (mostly on the way down). The upper section is dirt but a very narrow trail which I found a little challenging with two on leash dogs, even with 10 ft leashes. With a single dog I think it would be totally fine, but two dogs attached to one person requires a bit of experimentation. There was also one section in the switchbacks where I opted to let the dogs off leash on the descent. It’s a very short section (literally a couple metres), but it didn’t seem safe to navigate it with two dogs attached to me. Otherwise though the dogs really enjoyed this one and so did we!

hiking
2 months ago

As someone who has hiked in New Zealand, Patagonia, Peru and more, this hike was disappointing. It’s all uphill with the excitement being the lake 5 miles in. Good workout but not very rewarding.

hiking
2 months ago

This is one of my favourite hikes in Banff.
Rockbound Lake is a must see..

hiking
2 months ago

This is my favourite hike in the Rockies. The hike to the lake is a well maintained path with a reasonable incline until you reach the alpine valley leading back behind castle mountain. Once you reach the valley, the trail flattens out and you'll meander your way back toward the lakes. The first lake is tiny, and not the real prize of the day. Snap some pics, and then continue to follow the trail up the headwall. This is the only "challenging" part of the hike, but in two switch backs you'll be above the headwall and basically at the foot of the lake. Views of the peaks on all sides are very impressive, and will make you feel tiny against the towering sheer cliff faces. It's worth making the lap around the lake, but you will need to be a bit careful to pick your way around the boulders on the south side. Also, bring a bathing suit and go for a dip! It's very rewarding and a great secluded beautiful spot in the park.

A few other tips:
- I've hiked to Rockbound a handful of times, and I appreciate it more toward the middle or end of August once the bugs have passed and the snow is melted. I've been once on Canada Day and the bugs were awful.
- There's a little stream in the woods on the east side of the parking lot. A great place to cool your feet at the end of the day.

This is my favourite hike in the Rockies. The first quarter of the hike is to Rockbound lake, which is a beautiful hike on its own. Circle the lake counter clock-wise and reconnect with the trail just past the sandy lake drainage. You'll gain about 200M vertical in about 20 minutes, on a trail set by a jokester that didn't believe in switchbacks. As you approach the alpine line, the path will flatten out and begin to trend more counterclockwise again. There's an unmarked branch in the path here, where the longer route will take you up and toward Stuart's knob, while the lower route will remain flat and take you around an intermediate bench above the lake. Both routes are impressive for their own reasons and I might recommend that you try both.

The path to the intermediate bench is not clearly marked, but you'll want to cross the grassy area before you begin to make the second steep incline. You'll cross a banked scree slope that has an impressive drop below you back to the lake, as well as a large cliff face above you. After this crossing the bench is a marmot haven that's ribboned with creeks, alpine grasses and mosses, (and lots of marmots). There are multiple routes off this bench, varying from aggressive scree slopes to straight up bouldering routes. Pick one that works for your group (or avoid this lower bench altogether).

The upper route is also very impressive and although following any sort of trail is fairly impossible, it's also a fun "choose your own adventure". I'm not a geologist, but the rocks appear to be an ancient ocean, with coral and other "ocean like" formations (you'll see what I mean if you go). There are plenty of cairns everywhere, but generally if you just remain close to the cliff edge, you'll find your way quite nicely.

Since your target of Eisenhower peak is clearly in view the whole time, you have a good sense of where you're headed. As you approach the back corner of the lake and begin to ascend toward the summit, a more clearly defined trail will pick up again, but it will fade in and out. Follow the cairns when in doubt. It feels like you're walking on the moon, and the views in all directions are incredible.

The summit and ridge walk isn't as foreboding as some other hikes around, but the altitude and views are second to none. Plus, this is a mountain that you'll drive past every time you're west of Banff, and it's quite an impressive feat to make it to the top.

A few other tips:
- I've hiked to Rockbound a handful of times, and I appreciate it more toward the middle or end of August once the bugs have passed and the snow is melted. I've been once on Canada Day and the bugs were awful.
- You'll have 360 degree views from the top, go on a clear day
- We had about 28.5 KM on two Garmin devices. It's a long day, but other than the quick ascent out of the lake, it's not a grind. Bring poles and lots of water.
- There's a little stream in the woods on the east side of the parking lot. A great place to cool your feet at the end of the day.

Surprisingly strenuous uphill hike. We enjoyed it. Went with my kids and dogs.

This is the first section of the approach to the ACC hut on Castle mountain’s cliffs. The remains of the fire lookout provided a decent spot to sit before we carried on up the steep trail. A good access road for the mountain approach but I wouldn’t recommend this as a hiking destination. Nothing to see until you reach the lookout, and mainly a steep road to walk up.

2 months ago

As most other reviewers mentioned this is a long hike but with a wonderful reward. My recommendation is to start in the morning to catch the hot sun once you are at the second lake. If you can, definitely worth making it past the first lake (a 1/2km trek over a ridge) and the offshoot to the falls near the start of the hike. The falls don't connect with the main hike so it is out and back but the three tiered falls are pretty cool.
When you get to the 2nd lake take time to explore by hiking around the lake for better views.
I found this place magical, its beauty is out of this world.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trial, easy to follow and the views are amazing. Large amount of the hike has lots of trees, which makes it great for hot or rainy days!

on Rockbound Lake

hiking
2 months ago

The best hike I have done so far. It is long, but the view at the top is worth it. After the first lake thr path to the top is very steep, but it's worth the hike for the view. There is some great forest area, wild flowers and amazing views of the mountains. Bug spray is a necessity and hiking poles would be helpful on the descent.

hiking
2 months ago

Fun hike not great views but a lot of fun and the 2 lakes at the end are worth it. Not to busy also so that made it better.

Great workout early under moderate strenuous climb. Good trails with rocky surfaces. Areas to cross dry creek bed. Occasionally the trail levels to give you a break to take in the views.

A seemingly ‘short’ hike, but surprisingly intense. The 600+ meters gained is all in the first half, so a pretty steady climb. Then a good knee-burn on the way down. Incredible panoramic view from the top.

Long and wonderful hike!

hiking
3 months ago

it was amazing awesome sights the few people we ran intro were pleasant wonderful sights. only downside was the mosquitos

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked this trail 2018 July 16 with my wife, our 12 year old and our Labrador. Sunny and hot day. The trail was in excellent shape and well maintained. It was a Monday and we saw a total of 8 other people the entire day. The trail is a long steady climb through the forest which some previous posters found "boring" but I certainly enjoyed the quiet solitude of the woods. There are a few glimpses of mountains along the way up. Be sure to take the extra 15 minutes or so to see Silverton Falls along the way. As you get closer to Tower Lake the forest opens up with lots of wildflowers and small Meadows and the views of Castle Mountain and Helena Peak are impressive. Take a break at Tower Lake because you'll probably need it. The final push up to Rockbound from Tower is quite steep, probably close to a 1 in 3 gain. It's not a very long section however and you are soon rewarded with a spectacular view of Rockbound Lake and its surrounding mountains. There is also a very interesting boulder field with some peculiar rock formations to explore. The boulder field seemed to attract a lot of mosquitos and horseflies so we ate lunch on a large flat rock a bit more to the east along the shoreline. It took us 3 hours up and 2 and a half back down at a moderate pace stopping a few times each way. Enjoy the hike!

3 months ago

Amazing hike with moderate difficulty. It was absolutely beautiful and a great hike

Longest hike I have done so far, the hike itself is not difficult but it is a long day and the route is hard to find. Trail starts with an easy hike in the forest to Rockbound Lake then you need to find the trail at the right of the lake; once that is done you go up to the bottom of Helena Peak and then to a plateau where I lost the trail and ended up going way too high towards Stuart Knob. Had to ask a marmot for directions but it was not very helpful. Did this hike on 9 July, still lots of snow up there and only had light hiking shoes, good thing there were footsteps in the snow. View is definitely worth it!

hiking
3 months ago

Fairly high traffic but nice break from Johnston Canyon if you’re looking for something more challenging. Last bit after first lake elevation gains abruptly, worth the final push for the views.

Fabulous hike. Yes steep incline all the way up but a great work-out and rewarded with a great view at the end. Even better snowshoeing it in the Winter!!!

Done this route twice, great uphill if your training to go hike mountains :)

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