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Castle Mountain

As you travel west from Banff to Lake Louise, there is an abrupt and dramatic change in the appearance of the mountains as you go from the Front Mountain Ranges into Main Mountain Ranges. The castle-like peaks and thick, relatively flat-lying beds of the Main Ranges, such as are seen on Castle Mountain, stand in sharp opposition to the tilted, folded, and faulted beds of the Front Ranges, seen immediately to the east in the Sawback Range.

At first glance, Castle Mountain resembles a medieval fortress with its rock layers turned into cliffs, terraces, and towers by the forces of erosion. This mountain type is best developed where there are alternating beds of resistant rocks, such as limestone, and easily eroded rocks, such as shale. As the softer layers erode, the harder rocks above are undermined and break off, slowly forming a mountain of vertical walls separated by sloping ledges.

The Main Ranges are composed of older and more colourful rocks than the grey rocks of the Front ranges. Some of the rocks are 400-600 million years old.


On the east side of Castle Mountain is Rockbound Lake. The large depression (hole), in which the water sits, was carved out by glaciers during the last Ice Age. This sort of depression, which is common in the Rockies, is called a cirque.

For additional information on the Rocky Mountain region click here.

Castle Mountain

Castle Mountain