Scrambles in Castle Provincial Park

Region in Alberta, Canada

Castle Provincial Park and Castle Wildland Provincial Park are two new provincial parks in the SW corner of Alberta. The Castle area, as it’s referred to locally, is one of the most biologically diverse areas of Alberta. Located just north of Waterton Lakes National Park and south of Crowsnest Pass, these new provincial parks are just getting going, however the Castle area is already known for its stunning beauty. The scrambles in the Castle are much more isolated than in nearby Provincial and National Parks, and many of the approaches are along gravel access roads or ATV Tracks, where a bike would help cut down the travel time. We share the best scrambles in Alberta’s Castle Area.

THE TOP 10 SCRAMBLES IN CASTLE AREA, INCLUDING CASTLE PROVINCIAL PARK AND CASTLE WILDLAND PROVINCIAL PARK, ALBERTA

  1. Victoria Peak (17.6 km, 1,021 m, 5-8 h): Victoria Peak is the highest peak in the Castle area. Scrambling up Victoria Peak provides spectacular views where the colorful mountains of the Castle meet the prairies.
  2. Loaf Mountain and Spionkop Ridge (20.8 km, 1,314 m, 7-12h): Loaf Mountain is the second highest peak in Castle and is bordered by spectacularly colorful valleys. An extension to the summit of Spionkop Ridge provides a spectacular view into Waterton Lakes National Park.
  3. Drywood Mountain Traverse (24.0 km, 1,259 m, 7-12h): Drywood Mountain is a long and easy traverse of a high ridge in the colorful Castle Wildland, followed by a descent to a brilliantly-blue lake for a swim and possible camping makes this a spectacular summer outing!
  4. Southfork Mountain and Barnaby Ridge (18.0 km, 1,395 m, 7-12h): The scramble to Southfork Mountain and Barnaby Ridge has it all, a backcountry campsite on beautiful Southfork Lakes, a long ridge top traverse, and spectacular scenery throughout!
  5. Table Mountain (9.4 km, 764 m, 6-9h): The scramble up Table Mountain is a colorful ascent alongside a creek, with spectacular photo opportunities above the sheer north face, and great summit views of where the mountains meet the prairies. In other words, a perfect day out in Castle!
  6. Turtle Mountain (7.5 km, 922 m, 4.5-7h): The rockslide off Turtle Mountain over a century ago fractured the mountain on a scale that is difficult to imagine, yet this scramble takes you across the fractured summit ridge where the sheer scale of the forces at play are apparent. A stop at the Frank Slide Interpretive Center afterwards to complete the history lesson makes this a fascinating and different kind of scramble!
  7. Pincher Ridge (11.7 km, 849 m, 5-8h): Pincher Ridge is located near the heart of this spectacularly colorful region of the Rockies - Castle Wildland Provincial Park. The scramble up Pincher Ridge provides a stunning aerial view of the surrounding ridges of red argillite, lush green valleys, and the intersection of the mountains with the prairies.
  8. Mount Gladstone (16.9 km, 984 m, 7-10h): A scramble up Mount Gladstone is a wonderful day out in the mountains! A nice trail alongside a lively creek, a colorful ascent, and unparalleled views of Castle Peak and Windsor Mountain make it, arguably, one of the most scenic mountains in the entire park!
  9. Mount Haig (11.6 km, 1,205 m, 6-9h): Mount Haig is the highest peak in Castle PP and you can’t go wrong scrambling to the top of the highest peak in any park let alone Castle Provincial Park! Add on a scenic and swimmable lake at its base, abundant huckleberries and salmon-berries along the approach, and you’ve got an excellent outing on Mount Haig.
  10. Mount Coulthard (19.1 km, 1,112 m, 6-9h): The scramble up Mt Coulthard takes you through a spectacular and lush alpine basin, a historical plane crash site, and provides wonderful up-close views of the spectacular peaks of the Flathead Range.
  11. Syncline Mountain (5.8 km, 995 m, 5-8h): Syncline Mountain is a steep ascent through a larch forest (or a hellish bushwhack thru alders if you take the wrong approach), best viewed in late September for their remarkable color change, although at any time of year, the summit views that stretch down multiple mountain valleys make Syncline Mountain an excellent outing!

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Best Scrambles in Castle Provincial Park

Open details for Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak

Hard
17.6 km
1,021 m
6-8h

Victoria Peak is the highest peak in the Castle area, scrambling up Victoria Peak provides spectacular views of where the colorful mountains of the Castle meet the prairies.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Loaf Mountain and Spionkop Ridge

Loaf Mountain and Spionkop Ridge

Hard
20.8 km
1,314 m
7-12h

Loaf Mountain is the second highest peak in the Castle area and is bordered by spectacularly colorful valleys. An extension to the summit of Spionkop Ridge provides a spectacular view into Waterton Lakes National Park.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Drywood Mountain Traverse

Drywood Mountain Traverse

Hard
24.2 km
1,359 m
7-12h

The Drywood Mountain Traverse is a long and easy traverse of a high ridge in the colorful Castle Wildland. The traverse is followed by a descent to a brilliantly-blue lake for a swim and possible camping, making this a spectacular summer outing!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.9
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Southfork Mountain and Barnaby Ridge

Southfork Mountain and Barnaby Ridge

Hard
18.0 km
1,395 m
7-12h

This scramble to Southfork Mountain and Barnaby Ridge has it all, a backcountry campsite on beautiful Southfork Lakes, a long ridge top traverse, and spectacular scenery throughout!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Table Mountain

Table Mountain

Moderate
9.4 km
764 m
4-7h

Table Mountain is a colorful ascent alongside a creek, with spectacular photo opportunities above the sheer north face, and great summit views of where the mountains meet the prairies. In other words, a perfect day out in the Castle!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Turtle Mountain

Turtle Mountain

Very Hard
7.5 km
922 m
4.5-7h

The rockslide off Turtle Mountain over a century ago fractured the mountain on a scale that is difficult to imagine, yet this scramble takes you across the fractured summit ridge where the sheer scale of the forces at play are apparent. A stop at the Frank Slide Interpretive Center afterwards to complete the history lesson makes this a fascinating and different kind of scramble.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Pincher Ridge

Pincher Ridge

Moderate
11.7 km
849 m
5-8h

Pincher Ridge is located near the heart of Castle Wildland Provincial Park, a spectacular part of the Canadian Rockies. The scramble up Pincher Ridge provides a stunning aerial view of the surrounding ridges of red argillite, lush green valleys, and the intersection of the mountains with the prairies.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.9
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Mount Gladstone

Mount Gladstone

Hard
16.9 km
984 m
7-10h

A scramble up Mount Gladstone is a wonderful day out in the Castle! A nice trail alongside a lively creek, a colorful ascent, and unparalleled views of Castle Peak and Windsor Mountain make it one of the most scenic mountains in the entire park!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.9
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Mount Haig

Mount Haig

Hard
11.6 km
1,205 m
6-9h

Mount Haig is the highest peak in Castle Provincial Park, and you can’t go wrong scrambling to the top of the highest peak in any park let alone Castle Provincial Park! Add on a scenic and swimmable lake at its base, abundant huckleberries and salmonberries along the approach, and you’ve got an excellent outing on Mount Haig.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.9
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Mount Coulthard

Mount Coulthard

Moderate
19.1 km
1,112 m
6-9h

Located in Castle Wildland Provincial Park, the scramble up Mt Coulthard takes you through a spectacular and lush alpine basin, an historical plane crash site, and provides wonderful up-close views of the spectacular peaks of the Flathead Range.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.9
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.

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Open details for Planning a Trip to Alberta’s Castle Provincial Park

Planning a Trip to Alberta’s Castle Provincial Park

By Richard Campbell
May 4th, 2019
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