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: Difficult
Elevation Gain: ~500m
Average Time: 5-6 hours
Length: Approx. 12km return
Don't forget to pick up a Fernie Trail Map before your hike.
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.
The trail begins at the Montane Barn parking. From downtown, drive past the Fernie Aquatic Centre on Pine Avenue and turn left on Coal Creek Rd. Stay on this road for about 600m until you see the first bridge on your right. Park here, cross the bridge and follow the Montane Access Route to your left, to join Lower Uprooted, and New 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. You'll be crossing two backcountry roads on your ascent. 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 a 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 the 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.