Rockbound Lake Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
5.5-8h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
17.5 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
911 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead
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!

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Route Description for Rockbound Lake Trail

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 5.0 km. 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 0.5 km. 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.

Want to find more amazing Lake Louise hikes? Check out the Plain of the 6 Glaciers, Sentinel Pass, Morraine Lake or the Skoki Lakes hike.

Insider Hints for Rockbound Lake Trail

  • 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

Getting to the Rockbound Lake Trail Trailhead

To get to Rockbound Lake from Banff, travel westbound on the Trans-Canada Highway for approximately 32.0 km 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.

Route Information

  • When to do

    June-September

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Rockbound Lake Trail Elevation Graph

Weather Forecast

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Rockbound Lake Trail Reviews

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