Rockbound Lake Trail
Rockbound Lake trail is a less frequented trail along the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park. It is the perfect route for hikers looking for something a little more demanding without any technical scrambling. Avoid the crowds from Johnston Canyon by heading to Rockbound Lake—you won’t be disappointed. Watch out for Marmots!
To get to Rockbound Lake from Banff, travel westbound on the Trans-Canada Highway for approximately 19.9mi until you come to castle junction. Take the exit and turn right, passing over the railroad tracks and the Bow River. At Castle Mountain Chalets and gas station, take a right. You will quickly see the trailhead for Rockbound Lake on your left. Pull into the parking lot, and the trail starts at the trail map kiosk.
|When to do|
Yes - On Leash
Older Children only
Out and back
Rockbound Lake Trail
Rockbound Lake Trail Description
The Rockbound Lake trail can hold a lot of snow late into the season. In some years, it takes until July to become snow-free. Be sure to check conditions reports before choosing this trail. Often, hikers can travel as far as Tower Lake without being snowbound.
This trail is a great long trail in Banff National Park that doesn’t see too many tourists due to its length and elevation. Hiking beneath the majestic Castle Mountain gives this trail a special feeling. Rockbound Lake is a stunning alpine lake that rests in a basin beneath Castle Mountain. It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy some views while watching for wildlife!
Start the trail to Rockbound Lake at the trail kiosk in the parking lot. You will begin on a steady dirt path and quickly come across a junction to Silverton Falls. This is a short detour if you choose to take it. Continue along the wide path until it begins to narrow after roughly 3.1mi. You’ll have views of the Bow Valley behind you, so make sure to look around.
Enter a meadow that leads you to Tower Lake and keep right to cross a bridge. Follow some steep switchbacks for roughly 0.3mi. Views will become more expansive as you quickly gain elevation here. At the top of this steep section, you will cross a meadow with several larch trees. If you are lucky enough to hike here in the fall, you will catch a glimpse of the golden larches.
Continue until you arrive at Rockbound Lake. You’ll be able to understand the namesake as it lies beneath the grand cliffs of Castle Mountain and is host to boulder fields along the shores. Spend some time exploring the shores if you can. There is an impressive waterfall at the back of the lake if you make your way around the lake.
Return the way you came on the descent.
Hiking Route Highlights
Bow Valley Parkway
Begin or end your hike with a drive on the Bow Valley Parkway. Otherwise known as Highway 1A, this road stretches between Banff and Lake Louise with an exit point at castle junction. This slow and scenic drive is a great way to see the park from within the wildlife fencing. There is opportunity to see various types of wildlife, stop at viewpoints, and even secure a campsite at one of the three campgrounds along the route. As the trailhead for Rockbound Lake is located along the Bow Valley Parkway, you may choose to extend your day by exploring the area.
If you travel along the parkway West of castle junction, be sure to stop at the famous Morant’s Curve and wait for a train. This viewpoint is a must-stop for photographers in the area striving for the perfectly composed shot of mountains, river, and train.
Stop at Johnston Canyon for a bite to eat, or if you are feeling like a superior dining experience, head to Baker Creek Mountain Resort along the parkway for some casual fine dining.
Hike during larch season to catch golden larches
Explore the lakeshore and nearby waterfall
Drive the scenic Bow Valley Parkway
Camp at one of the nearby front country campgrounds
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