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!
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!
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.
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).
- 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.
Interpretive programs are ongoing throughout the year. See https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/south/castle-pp/activities-events/events/ for more information.
Annual Huckleberry Festival at Castle Mountain Resort: August 27-28, 2021. Visit Castle Mountain Resort | Huckleberry Festival for details.
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