Located on the Morrissey Ridge and is part of the Flathead range of the Canadian Rockies, Castle Mountain is particularly amazing as it offers views opposite of most hikes in the valley.
Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Difficult
Elevation Gain: ~ 350m
Average Time: 3-5 hours
Length: Approx. 8km return
Don't forget to pick up a Fernie Trail Map before your hike. TrailForks users can track their progress and location along this hike, if they have GPS on their mobile device, using the Trailforks app, and the route for Castle Rock.
Please note: These trails are also used for mountain biking.
This hike starts off pretty mellow and progressively gets steeper. The beauty of it is there are so many viewpoints along the way, any point you reach is rewarding. Roots Trail eventually joins with Hyper Ventilation Trail. Follow Hyper Vent, and continue to climb up through the forest and via the numerous switchbacks. Soon you will reach the first lookout and bench. From here, it’s a few switchbacks before you meet up with Southern Comfort, that can take you to the base of Castle Rocks. Once here, take a left and walk the last steep pitch to Castle Mountain’s rocks, a very worthwhile pinnacle. You can also shorten the hike by not taking Southern Comfort and just continue on Hyper Vent to the top viewpoint. Take the same trails back to your starting point.
There are a number of access points for this hike. The easiest access point to Castle Mountain is by starting up Roots Trail (mountain bike/hiking trail) off of River Road. To get to the trailhead drive past the Fernie Aquatic Centre on Pine Avenue and turn left on Coal Creek Rd. Stay on this road for about 2 km, then you will see a yellow bridge on your right, this is River Road. Cross the bridge and stay on this road for about 1.5 km until you see a gravel pullout on the right with 'Roots' trail markings across the road on the left. Park here and take the trail across the road marked "Roots Trail". This is a multi-use biking and hiking trail so please be cautious of other trail users and be loud for bikers and wildlife. From here follow it up "Hyper Ventilation" trail to the summit viewpoint bench. Prior to reaching the summit bench on Hyper Vent, there is a trail for Southern Comfort/Castle Rocks heading right that you can take side trip to another viewpoint. This would add approximately an hour return hike. Head back down Hyper Vent and Roots trail to go back to starting point.
As with any trip into the backcountry be well prepared for changes in weather. Remember that you are travelling in an area where wildlife is abundant. Be aware of your surrounding, be loud, follow the proper safety protocols and respect the environment.