Interviewing Canadas Hostels: HI-Castle Mountain Wilderness Hostel

Numero huit mes amis! It would be sheer lunacy to ignore some of the amazing hostels found a little further off the beaten trail. One of these rare beauties is the Castle Mountain Wilderness Hostel, yet another amazing HI-Canada hostel. Tony Chatham was kind enough to give us a few answers along with an amazing description on what you can expect when you book a night in the famous Castle Mountain Hostel.

Q: How long have you been operating your hostel?

A: I have been running HI-Castle Mountain Wilderness Hostel for eight fabulous years.

Q: Tell us about your hostel?

A: HI-Castle Mountain has two dorms, one for 14 guys and another for 14 gals, both with their own bathrooms .The beds are very wide and comfortable, a bit like Via rail some say, the only difference is ours don’t move.

There is an excellent equipped kitchen for 28 people, 2 fridges, 2 ovens, a microwave, out door barbeque, cozy lounge with a wonderful fireplace, front loading laundry, incredible water that is the equivalent of spring water. Indoor toilets, hot showers, electricity, phones, cell coverage are some of other features we have that folks that travel the chain of hostels down from Jasper look forward to when they arrive at the Castle.

Q: Tell us about the area your hostel resides in?

A: A food store and gasoline bar is available across the road. In the surrounding area, within a short drive of the hostel there are three superb restaurants that all offer something special in Canadian foods.

Our fire pit sits beside Silverton Creek with a stunning view of Castle Mountain in front of you. We are surrounded in a true wilderness setting, with streams, trees, and fields of flowers. There are frequent animal sightings of bears, moose, elk, deer, coyotes, wolves, lynx, and pine martens. The best time to be here for the flowers is from last week in June to the 1st week in August. The bouquet is out of this world.

Castle Mountain is halfway between Banff and Lake Louise, near the intersection of Highway 1A and Highway 93 south.

Q: Does your hostel offer any activities or help book tours for it’s guests?

A: The Castle area offers outdoor enthusiasts a wide range of adventures, from hiking alpine trails to skiing at nearby resorts or right out the door on groomed X-C ski trails. Cycling is some of the best in the world along the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A). Popular Trails in the area are Castle Mountain, Stanley Glacier, Boom Lake, Johnson Canyon, Castle Mountain Lookout.

There is extra room for luggage and bike storage. Plenty of tourism info available for those who want to know what’s going on in the Rockies. Linen is included and of course the parking is free.

Once it’s dark and the skies are clear we offer a wee trip out to look at the stars. I usually track the satellites and the space station and we time the outing with the passing of the space station, which can be quite spectacular considering how bright the station is and how dark it is in our neck of the woods.

If you need a bed anywhere in our hostel network than we will help to book that for you. Or if there is something special in the area that needs doing and you are interested but are not sure what you need, we can help make the right choice to match your sense of adventure.

HI-Castle Mountain is the perfect size to get to know your fellow hosteller. The hostel has musical instruments, a great selection of music, lots of games, a super outdoor library, along with many good reading nooks in our lounge with its huge windows.

Q: How much does it cost for:

A: Dorm prices for members is $20, non-members $24

HI Castle Mountain Wilderness Hostel Website

HI Castle Mountain Hostel
The junction of HWY 1A and HWY 93 South in Banff National Park

Despite how hard these rugged hostels can be to get to, if you have the opportunity to stay at the Castle Mountain Hostel be sure to do so. It may involve some serious hiking, some hitching, some cab sharing, or just meeting the write people heading in the same direction. Whatever the case may be, getting out of the city centres and into the Canadian wilderness can be a great reminder of why you’re backpacking in Canada.

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