Spectacular vistas, frequent wildlife encounters, the best wild flowers we’ve ever seen. Hot springs, quaint mountain towns, perhaps the best long distance hikes on the planet.
There are options to scramble ridges and peaks virtually everywhere.
“You can’t lose in the Rockies.”
… so says frequent contributor Rob Glaser who has hiked here all his life.
Trails are safe and well managed. The infrastructure excellent. (In fact, it’s hard to imagine there are two regions in the world we rate better.)
The weather and conditions are variable to say the least, but in many parts of the Rockies Aug-Sept are the best months. A very short window! On the other hand, if you ski or board, you’ll never lack for adventure in the Rocky Mountains.
I camped 3 nights at Circlet Lake altogether. Lovely.
From Circlet it’s not far to the Castlecrag trail marked in orange on the map. Look for the sign to Moat Lake.
I hiked the route marked in orange. Here’s the original Park map online.
This was a foggy and somewhat hazy day.
But plenty clear enough to see where I was headed.
I’d seen lovely Moat Lake the day before from the Albert Edward hike.
For Castlecrag you circumambulate the far side, crossing the worst bridge I’d seen in Strathcona 2020.
En route a helicopter flew into Moat Lake Retreat, an island you can rent with 2 cabins sleeping a total of 10 people. It’s a legacy from when Clinton Wood first built a lodge here in 1934.
In good weather, finding the route is not all that difficult. Follow the cairns and (possibly) ribbons.
Much of this adventure is above the treeline.
Overall the hiking is more difficult than on nearby Edward Albert as there is a fair bit of boulder hopping over avalanche slopes.
Two highlights end of September: no mosquitoes and autumn colours.
The turnoff UP to Castlecrag is not signed. Watch for the big cairn on the right.
Castlecrag 1740m (5709ft) is a satellite peak to Mt Albert Edward 2093m and many serious hikers / trail runners connect the two via Mt Frink. I’d originally planned to do that myself — but found it too difficult and risky on my own. Also, days are short end of September. I might have spent some hours in the dark on the way down.
It’s a short climb from the cairn to the summit of Castlecrag.