Home Destinations Castle Provincial Park: Your Next Alberta Road Trip

Castle Provincial Park: Your Next Alberta Road Trip

by Karen Ung

See what’s new at Castle Provincial Park – and stay a while!

Located in southwest Alberta, north of Waterton Lakes National Park, Castle Provincial Park and Castle Wildland Provincial Park protect more than 105,000 hectares of watersheds, mountains, meadows, forest, and foothills. Over 200 species call this area home, so there are ample opportunities to spot wildlife! With very little development in the area, you can truly get away from it all and enjoy spectacular stargazing at night too!

Beaver Mines Lake, Castle Provincial Park
Beaver Mines Lake, Castle Provincial Park



What’s New?

As Alberta’s newest park, Castle Provincial Park has seen several new developments over 2017 & 2018. Campgrounds have been upgraded, five cabins have been built at Beaver Mines Lake, and the first of three backcountry huts is scheduled to open in late 2018. Highway 774 also got paved!

You can now make online camping reservations at Beaver Mines Lake, Castle Falls and Castle Bridge Campgrounds.

Provincial parks rules are in effect, so please keep your dog on a leash.



There have also been changes to off highway vehicle (OHV) use in Castle Provincial Park. Most notably, no OHVs are permitted south of Carbondale River. For complete details, see Alberta Parks – Castle Provincial Park – OHV Use.

Random camping is no longer permitted in the park, but you may still camp for free at 9 designated camping areas provided you complete and display a (free) permit. Download the map and permit from Alberta Parks here.

Things to Do in Castle Provincial Park

Hike, fish, paddle, picnic, or take part in an Alberta Parks interpretive program or guided hike!



table-mountain-castle-provincial-park
View of Beaver Mines Lake from Table Mountain

Hiking: There aren’t too many official (marked) hiking trails in Castle Provincial Park, so carry a map and compass/GPS. Some of the more popular trails are as follows:

  • Table Mountain (scramble): 4.3 km one way, 685 m elevation  gain. Departs from Beaver Mines Day Use Area.
  • Syncline South has a network of trails suitable for walking and mountain biking in summer, and cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. 
  • Carbondale Fire Lookout: 4.5 km one way, 400 metres elevation gain. Start the hike from the gate on the fire road located 3 km down Castle Falls Road from AB-774. Note that the fire lookout is active, so please be respectful and stay off structures at the top. (You may have to hop the gate too – meant to keep OHVs out.)
  • Haig Lake is one of five signed hikes at Castle Mountain Resort: 3.4 km one way, 400 m elevation gain. Start by the Huckleberry Chair. Check out the map of hiking trails at Castle Mountain here.
haig-lake-castle-provincial-park
Haig Lake, Castle Mountain Resort

Fishing and Paddling

  • Beaver Mines Lake is stocked with rainbow trout and hosts Alberta Parks Learn to Fish programs on summer weekends (they also have “try ice fishing” programs in the winter). 
  • Bathing Lake and Butcher Lake, Castle Wildland Provincial Park, are also worth a try. 
  • If you have a topo map and are good at routefinding, there are several backcountry lakes worth a try (I’ve heard Scarpe Lakes and Rainy Ridge Lake are good, but haven’t been).

Picknicking

  • Castle Falls Day Use is a wonderful place to picnic and play by the water. 
  • In Castle Wildland Provincial Park, enjoy Bathing Lake Day Use or Butcher Lake Day Use.

Where to Stay

Over 200 campsites are available at Beaver Mines Lake (camping and comfort camping cabins), Castle Falls, Castle Bridge, and Lynx Creek. About half the sites are available for reservation at reserve.albertaparks.ca (except Lynx Creek which remains fully first come, first served). Expect rustic camping – no showers or power/water hookups – but generally spacious, well shaded sites. For more information, see my story, Camping in Castle Provincial Park.

If you don’t want to rough it, you can stay at a B&B in Beaver Mines, Castle Mountain Hostel, or condo/cabin at Castle Mountain Resort.

Castle-Mountain-Hostel
Castle Mountain Hostel

Upcoming Events

castle-mountain-huckleberry-festival
Picking huckleberries at theCastle Mountain Huckleberry Festival

Interpretive programs are ongoing throughout the year. See https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/south/castle-pp/activities-events/events/ for more information. (Note that 2020 programs are on hold until further notice due to COVID-19.)

Annual Huckleberry Festival at Castle Mountain Resort: August 21-23, 2020. Visit https://www.skicastle.ca/huckleberry-festival/ for details. 

Getting Here

Some great stops along the Cowboy Trail include the following: 

  • Marv’s Classic Soda Shop, Black Diamond
  • Detour (5 minutes) to Turner Valley for the spray park!
  • Longview Jerky Shop
  • Longview Steak House
  • Lundbreck Falls – 12 metre high waterfalls!
  • Old Man River Brewing microbrewery, Lundbreck

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