Accessibility at its finest: Castle Provincial Park
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A ZenSeekers' road trip isn't complete unless the destinations include outdoor adventures, and culinary, learning and cultural experiences. During summer 2018, create your #BucketlistAB itinerary in Southern Alberta and come and stay a night and see a sight.
2017 was an exciting year for Canada. We celebrated our 150th birthday while also celebrating that Lonely Planet named Canada the No. 1 country to visit in the entire world.
But while many were focusing on Canada as a whole, Alberta had an exciting year, too. They got a new provincial park! That doesn't happen every day. Castle Provincial Park, a gorgeous Southern Alberta gem is surrounded by lush forest and the Rocky Mountains.
Christian Bagg demonstrates his invention, the Icon Explore, an electric-assist tricycle that enables people with disabilities to get onto the trails.
Now everyone can explore the great outdoors. This is such an incredible machine and the first of its kind. Joining us for a demonstration was the inventor himself, Christian Bagg. His passion for getting people with disabilities out into the wilderness was truly contagious.
"I've been waiting for this moment for 22 years. That's how long it's taken me to perfect this e-trike, and I've never seen anyone not have a great time riding it," Bagg said.
When we first arrived and met with Aaron, he told us the park is all about making this beautiful natural place accessible to everyone. I wasn't exactly sure what he meant, but as the day went by, it became apparent. The park is easily accessible to all. The roads make it easy for cars to traverse, there's a variety of hiking trails for all levels of fitness, there are programs for getting kids involved in the outdoors, and the e-trike that enables people with disabilities to enjoy the forest trails.
Christian Bagg rides the Icon Explore (an e-trike he invented) through the forest, while his friend Aaron Domes peddles his mountain bike behind him.
After spending some time biking the trails, we drove to Castle Falls. This scenic river and waterfall is located right next to a campground and is a stunning place to visit. The water was still quite high, but by mid-summer, it’s low enough to wade out. While walking around enjoying the ambiance of the place, we met some campers who told us how much they loved falling asleep to the sound of a moving river.
The Learn-to-Fish program is just one of the ways Castle Provincial Park appeals to young families.
We headed over to Beaver Mines Lake to take part in the "Learn to Fish" program and to paddle a canoe. Here we met Jennell and her two young kids who had just driven down from Calgary to check out Alberta's newest park.
"I visit the Kananaskis quite often, but I am blown away by Castle Provincial Park. It's so quiet. It's beautiful beyond expectations,” Jennell McManus said. Her kids were equally impressed. Her son, Elliott, was having a blast learning how to cast a fishing line with an Alberta Parks guide, while her daughter, Finley, was out playing by the water trying to catch minnows.
As the sun began to set, we jumped in a canoe and went for a paddle. With loons calling in the background and the sun casting its rays over the still water, our day in Castle Provincial Park came to a scenic, tranquil, and fitting end.
If You Go
Travel Alberta also has lots of great information about things to do and places to see in the Castle Provincial Park.
Matthew Bailey is a Canadian travel writer, photographer, and video host with MustDoCanada.com. Follow his travels on Instagram and Twitter @MatthewGBailey and @MustDoCanada.