Castle Provincial Park offers great camping and wild mountain adventures on paths less travelled – only three hours from Calgary. Here’s where to camp in this beautiful mountain park.
The water is calm as we paddle across Beaver Mines Lake. Campers wave to us from shore and fishers quietly tend their lines. It’s a peaceful evening and we still can’t believe we got a last-minute campsite near a lake on this gorgeous August weekend.
Stacey and Chad from Lethbridge tell us it’s always like this here. Chad grew up in Blairmore, less than an hour away, and has spent a lot of time in the Castle. He recommends a pickerel rig to catch trout in the weed beds offshore and shows us how to set it up. It seems to work well for them! My kids, on the other hand, aren’t patient enough to sit still, so we explore the campground before settling in for the night.
The next day, we hike Table Mountain (2232 metres elevation). Although it’s a well-known peak, we see only two people on the trail all day! The 29 degree (84 F) heat may have something to do with that. Later, we learn that Castle Falls is the place to be on a hot day – for cliff jumping and wading.
Beaver Mines Lake is an awesome base camp for exploring Castle Provincial Park, but there are several other great campgrounds to choose from if Beaver Mines is full.
For more fun things to do in the area, see our story Castle Provincial Park: Your Next Alberta Road Trip.
Camping in Castle
Partnership Disclosure: As an Alberta Parks Ambassador, I received free camping in some Alberta Parks, but all words and opinions are my own.
Since becoming a provincial park in early 2017, Castle has received new infrastructure and upgrades. Some of the changes include: reservable campsites, a beautiful warming hut at Syncline South Day Use, cabins at Beaver Mines Lake and Castle River Bridge, larger tent pads, and more signage/washrooms. Random camping is no longer permitted in the park, but you can camp for a low fee in designated camping areas (more info below).
Castle Provincial Park has a range of camping options:
- Four campgrounds: Beaver Mines Lake, Castle River Bridge and Castle Falls are 100% reservable. Lynx Creek Campground is first come, first served.
- Two Group Camping Areas at Syncline: Reservations required
- Comfort Camping at Beaver Mines Lake and Castle Bridge: Reservations required for the bright and spacious cabins
- Six Designated Camping Areas: Fees in effect as of June 1, 2022, and
- One equestrian designated camping area: Fees in effect as of June 1, 2022.
Here’s what you need to know about camping in Castle Provincial Park:
Beaver Mines Lake Campground (reservable, unserviced sites)
Beaver Mines Lake is the largest campground in the area with 76 unserviced, reservable sites suitable for tents and RVs. Bring your own drinking water and firewood. Loops A-C have good tree cover. Loop A is furthest from the lake, Loop B has some walk-in tent sites and car camping sites, and Loop C has a few lakeside spots. Loop D, the “View Loop” is on a little hill above the lake and has more open sites suitable for RVs and cabins.
Enjoy fishing (Beaver Mines Lake is stocked with rainbow trout), paddling, and hiking at this pretty lake. The boat launch and trailhead for Table Mountain are near the entrance to the campground. See our story Hiking Table Mountain for details on this easy scramble.
Castle River Bridge Campground (reservable, power sites)
Castle River Bridge,1 km off Hwy 774, is adjacent to sandstone bluffs along the Castle River. It is open year round unless there has been very heavy snowfall (check park advisories before you head down in the off season). Try for trout, kayak the rapids, or hike to Carbondale Hill Fire Lookout. All 25 campsites are reservable sites with power. Sites are suitable for tents and RVs. Potable water is available. Bring your own firewood.
Castle Falls Campground (reservable, unserviced sites)
Castle Falls Campground is 6 km down Castle Falls Road. Campsites are in mixed forest with partial shade or full sun. 45 unserviced, reservable sites. Bring your own drinking water and firewood. Carbondale Hill is a nice hike in the area.
Lynx Creek Campground (first come first served, unserviced sites)
Image Credit: Alberta Parks
Lynx Creek is a small campground 16 km from Hwy 774 with 27 spacious first come first served, unserviced campsites. The River Loop has a few campsites right next to the Carbondale River.
Group Camping Areas
There are two group camping areas in Castle Provincial Park: Syncline A (max capacity: 15 units) and Syncline B (max capacity: 20 units). Amenities include picnic shelter, pit toilets, firepits, and horse corral. Reservations required.
Comfort camping is available at Beaver Mines Lake and Castle River Bridge! Each cabin sleeps 4 people:
- Beaver Mines Cabins have: single over single bunk bed + queen bed with mattresses, solar lighting, wood burning stove, dining table + 4 chairs, and outdoor fire pit and picnic table. Bring your own drinking water.
- Castle River Bridge Cabins cost a bit more but have more amenities including: mini fridge, power and lighting, electric heaters, single over single bunk bed + queen bed with mattresses, dining table + 4 chairs, and outdoor fire pit and picnic table.
Note that the cabins have no plumbing; use the campground pit toilets.
For more info, or to book your cabin now, visit Alberta Parks – Castle Provincial Park – Comfort Camping.
Castle Designated Camping Areas
As of June 1, 2022 fees are in effect for Castle’s Designated Camping Areas. Designated Camping Areas 1-5 and the Equestrian Designated Camping Site have fire pits and pit toilets; Designated Area 6 has no amenities. Pack out all trash so the site will be clean for the next camper!
Sites are first come first served; self-register at the kiosk when you arrive. These roadside camping areas are best suited to RV camping.
To get more information, or download the Castle Designated Camping Area permit, visit Alberta Parks | Castle Provincial Park | Designated Camping Areas.
Random Camping aka Wilderness Camping
Random / wilderness camping is not permitted in Castle Provincial Park, but is permitted in adjacent Castle Wildlands Provincial Park. Park rules require you to camp at least 1 km from roads or backcountry facilities, and it is advised you camp more than 30 metres away from water sources.
Recreational Activities in Castle Provincial Park
For fun things to do in the park, see our story: Castle Provincial Park, Your next Alberta Road Trip.
Alberta Parks offers interpretive programs year-round in Castle Provincial Park. For more information, check the information kiosks at campgrounds and day use areas or visit the temporary Visitor Centre at South Syncline.
If you’re in Castle Provincial Park in late August, don’t miss the Huckleberry Festival at Castle Mountain. Fun for all ages!
For winter fun including snowshoeing, skiing, ice fishing, and cross country skiing, please read Winter Fun in Castle Provincial Park.
Know Before You Go
Camping reservations may be made at shop.albertaparks.ca. You can book frontcountry and backcountry campsites up to 90 days in advance. Comfort camping and group camping areas can be booked up to 180 days in advance.
What to Bring Camping
Our Ultimate Camping Pack List has everything you need for a fun camping trip, and includes tips on what to look for when buying gear.
Disclosure: This section includes affiliate links through which I earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.
Good hiking boots, a down hoody or fleece, toque, gloves, and windproof/waterproof shell are recommended year round. Trekking poles are useful for long hikes, steep descents, or when you’re carrying a heavy pack. You should also carry The Ten Essentials including: water, extra food, extra clothes, a first aid kit, headlamp, GPS / compass, and map of the area, sunscreen (this mineral sunscreen is fragrance free, paraben free, and reef-friendly), bug spray (this Deet-free one contains 20% icaridin and will repel ticks), and bear spray. Carry bear spray in a Bear Spray Holster or Scat Griz Bear Spray Running Belt.
A Garmin inReach Mini 2 satellite communicator is highly recommended for contacting Search & Rescue and emergency contacts in the event of an emergency, or communicating with friends and family when you are out of cell phone range. You can send text messages and your GPS coordinates via satellite, but a monthly service plan is required!