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Absolutely stunning remote area! But rough trail - washouts, missing bridges, route finding. Well worth it!.

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Point to Point

5,476' 1,669 m


5,052' 1,540 m


451' 137 m


111' 34 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (12°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Commonly Backpacked · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

This trail was closed in late August 2022 due to a prescibed forest management burn. Check conditions with Parks Canada - Banff. before going.

Need to Know

Camping along this trail is limited to random camping although there are some nice spots regulary used with fire rings. Permits and reservations are needed for the camping. Information can be found here.

Please review the Parks Canada website and follow Leave No Trace principles.


Castleguard River Trail is an easy to follow (in most places) forest trail. The trail is narrow, rocky, and rooty. There is one major washout at the end, just before the climb to Castleguard Meadows though. And an area that gets bogged down near the beginning just past the Castleguard River Patrol Cabin where the creek flows through a flat area. This trail takes one to the awesome Castleguard Meadows.

Castleguard River Trail is found out back of the Castleguard River Patrol Cabin. Almost immediately the boggy area is encountered. Because the creek alters course often, it's not clear there is any real trail through this area. Stay on the GPX, use route finding skills and common sense to get through. Don't worry, it's short. Past the boggy area, at the 0.3 mile mark is a nice trail camp on a small hill to the right/north.

For the next 2.3 miles, the trail stays in the woods, slowly approaching Castleguard River. The roar of the river is eventually heard and then the river comes into view through the trees, as does Watchman Peak. By the 2.7 mile mark the trail is running along the river, above it. Great views. The trail then descends and at the 3.6 mile mark crosses a creek, the first of several creeks to ford. Almost immediately, the trail emerges onto the gravelly banks of the river, a great place to take a break.

From here the trail continues about another 2.8 miles up the Castleguard River, and finally does about a 1.5 mile climb out of the forest, into the south end of Castleguard Meadows, and finishes on fairly flat trail for about the last 0.7 miles. Unfortunately this will all have to wait until another time due to a trip cut short when the 2022 forest management prescribed burn was started earlier than anticipated on August 18, 2022.

Flora & Fauna

Conifer forest on the lower slopes of the mountains and surrounding the trail. Rock, snow, ice, and glaciers on upper slopes of the mountains.


Shared By:

Joan Pendleton

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in Alberta


1 Views Last Month
1 Since Sep 18, 2022



Along the banks of the beautiful Castleguard River, looking upstream/northwest, Watchman Peak, 9,872 ft., on the Great Divide, is in the distance (center right) with its southeast shoulder defining the river valley.
Sep 18, 2022 near Lake Lo…, AB
Castleguard River looking downstream/southeast towards the Alexander River about 3.5 miles away.
Sep 18, 2022 near Lake Lo…, AB
Castleguard River (lower left) and Watchman Peak (upper left) are seen as the trail heads upstream along the Castleguard River. The white dome in the far distance (center) is Castleguard Mountain, 10,115 ft., on the edge of the Columbia Icefield.
Sep 18, 2022 near Lake Lo…, AB
Looking down on Castleguard River, and across to Watchman Peak and its southeast shoulder, from high on the trail to Castleguard Meadows.
Sep 18, 2022 near Lake Lo…, AB
Impressive cliffs of Watchman Peak's southeast shoulder are seen through the trees along the Castleguard River.
Sep 18, 2022 near Lake Lo…, AB
Castleguard River Patrol Cabin. Deep in the backcountry, at the foot of the Great Divide, where the Castleguard River empties into the Alexandra River.
Sep 18, 2022 near Lake Lo…, AB


Current Trail Conditions

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Aug 15, 2022
Joan Pendleton