Castle Mountain Lookout Day Hike in Banff National Park

Castle Mountain Lookout in Banff National Park, near Lake Louise may have just become my new favourite day hike. The views of the Bow Valley are absolutely incredible! You can see a panoramic view of the entire Bow Valley, Vermillion Pass and...
Castle Mountain Lookout in Banff National Park, near Lake Louise may have just become my new favourite day hike. The views of the Bow Valley are absolutely incredible! You can see a panoramic view of the entire Bow Valley, Vermillion Pass and into Kootenay National Park in British Columbia. I can not accurately describe how stunning the view is, other than I must have said, 'Oh wow, this is incredible" at least a dozen times. If you can manage 4km of steady uphill climbing (there are no flat spots, just more or less steep sections) then a day hike to Castle Mountain Lookout is an absolute must.
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8 June 2024 at   Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
Castle Mountain in Banff National Park is one of the most recognizable sites in the park. Its Blackfoot name is Miistukskoowa. In 1858, James Hector named it Castle Mountain due to its castle-like shape. The mountain was renamed Mount Eisenhower...
Castle Mountain in Banff National Park is one of the most recognizable sites in the park. Its Blackfoot name is Miistukskoowa. In 1858, James Hector named it Castle Mountain due to its castle-like shape. The mountain was renamed Mount Eisenhower in 1946, however public pressure was so great that it reverted to Castle Mountain in 1979. Don't worry about Eisenhower losing his mountain, the southeast pinnacle was renamed the Eisenhower Tower in his honour.
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8 June 2024 ·   1 week ago taken in   Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
The Castle Mountain Lookout trailhead is easy to find as it is well marked. Heading West on the Bow Valley Parkway from the Castle Mountain Resort the trailhead is 5km up the road on the right-hand side just after the internment camp memorial.

C...
The Castle Mountain Lookout trailhead is easy to find as it is well marked. Heading West on the Bow Valley Parkway from the Castle Mountain Resort the trailhead is 5km up the road on the right-hand side just after the internment camp memorial.

Castle Mountain Lookout is a short hike of about 7.72km round trip. Parks Canada rates this hike a being moderately challenging. Although there are no technical sections, I suspect opinions vary about the trail’s difficulty level depending on your feelings about steady up and downhills. The first two km of the trail follows an old road through the forest. The trail is wide in this section.
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8 June 2024 ·   1 week ago taken in   Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
After the first 2km, the trail narrows, and the terrain becomes rougher. Here we are crossing over an old washout. Despite this, the trail is easy to see and follow all the way to the lookout.
8 June 2024 ·   1 week ago taken in   Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
This is the elevation profile for our hike. As you can see, there are no 'rest spots' where the trail levels out. Plan to spend 3 hours on this hike including time to enjoy the incredible views at the top. The hike itself took us 2.5 hours plus...
This is the elevation profile for our hike. As you can see, there are no 'rest spots' where the trail levels out. Plan to spend 3 hours on this hike including time to enjoy the incredible views at the top. The hike itself took us 2.5 hours plus 30 minutes spent enjoying the view. Round trip, our hike was 7.72km with an elevation of 549m. This trail has a fairly high effort to reward ratio, but it is so worth it. Pack water, snacks and break out the hiking poles if your knees are bad because this hike it worth the effort required.
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8 June 2024 ·   1 week ago taken in   Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
Castle Mountain Lookout Trail is one of the earliest day hikes to be snow free each spring. According to trail reports this year, there was snow and ice at the top on May 29 and only a few muddy sections left by June 1. Those sections were still...
Castle Mountain Lookout Trail is one of the earliest day hikes to be snow free each spring. According to trail reports this year, there was snow and ice at the top on May 29 and only a few muddy sections left by June 1. Those sections were still a little muddy on June 8. We had a beautiful spring day for our hike.
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8 June 2024 ·   1 week ago taken in   Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
Wildflowers along the trail were in bloom by early June. Stopping to snap a few pictures is always a good way to sneak in a little break from the constant uphill of the hike...just saying.
8 June 2024 ·   1 week ago taken in   Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
You know what they say about stopping to smell the roses, well alpine wildflowers are no different. Be sure to take you time to enjoy the views great and small on your hike up to the Castle Mountain Lookout in Banff National Park, Alberta.
8 June 2024 ·   1 week ago taken in   Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
Breaks in the trees on the second half of the hike open to incredible views of the Bow Valley. Don't be tempted to turn around early. These views a great, but they are nothing in comparison to the views from the lookout.
8 June 2024 ·   1 week ago taken in   Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
Wow! The view from the lookout must be one of the most magnificent views in all the Canadian Rocky Mountains! The ultimate experience might be timing your hike for sunrise or the golden hour and to pack a picnic to enjoy from lookout. The view...
Wow! The view from the lookout must be one of the most magnificent views in all the Canadian Rocky Mountains! The ultimate experience might be timing your hike for sunrise or the golden hour and to pack a picnic to enjoy from lookout. The view from this angle looks back towards Banff. I hear that on a really clear day you can even see the Three Sisters in Canmore from here.
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8 June 2024 ·   1 week ago taken in   Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
This part of the view from the Castle Mountain Lookout looks out to Vermillion Pass and into Kootenay National Park, B.C.
8 June 2024 ·   1 week ago taken in   Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
Castle Mountain Lookout in Banff National Park was once an active fire tower used by Parks Canada for spotting wildfires. Only the foundation of the tower is left.
8 June 2024 ·   1 week ago taken in   Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
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