Huckleberry Festival 23 – What to Expect

Huckleberry Festival 23 – What to Expect

With less than 72 hours until our 23rd annual Huckleberry Festival kicks off, we thought we’d give you a quick heads up on what to expect this weekend!

Evacuation Alert Rescinded

On Tuesday evening, the MD of Pincher Creek rescinded the evacuation alert previously in place, for Castle Mountain Resort, due to the Sage Creek fire. We all remember how quickly last year’s Kenow Fire spread into Waterton Lakes National Park and, while this fire was always 15 + km’s away from us, we understand and appreciate the caution our MD exercised, over the past 2 weeks, and thank them for their superb communication during this time. The Sage Creek fire is now 100% contained which has us confident that back country travel is safe for our guests. 

Huckleberry Festival will take place with no changes to our original schedule (click here for PDF).

Highway 774 Construction

Work continues on the last 11 km’s of HWY-774, leading up to Castle Mountain Resort, as it is prepped for paving. Crews are grading and laying a fresh layer of gravel this week with paving to occur in the coming weeks.

Work crews are aware that we’re expecting a large influx of people this weekend, for our 23rd Annual Huckleberry Festival. However, you should be prepared to encounter brief delays on your way to and from the resort.

Air Quality

While it’s not possible for us to accurately forecast air quality / visibility, we can tell you that things have improved SIGNIFICANTLY, as of Tuesday. Check out the shot above from Tuesday morning, as we headed into the resort for our workday.

It’s possible that smoke from forest fires in British Columbia may have an impact on visibility and air quality but it certainly seems like things will be better than they have been in past weeks.


Full Moon Hike & Fine Dining Experience

Guests with reservations to take part in our inaugural “Full Moon Hike & Fine Dining Experience” should plan to arrive at the resort no later than 3 PM on Friday. Our meeting point will be outside the T-Bar Pub, in the picnic table / patio area. In order to make our hike more pleasurable, we have arranged for a special upload, on the Huckleberry Chairlift which will take away the most strenuous portion of the hike (the climb out of the base area).

We are pleased to welcome Uplift Adventures, with owner and guide Heather Davis, at the helm of the interpretive and hiking portion of this event. Please do not forget to bring sturdy, appropriate hiking footwear, drinking water, bear spray, and an extra layer (waterproof preferred). 

Photo Courtesy of Uplift Adventures

 Huckleberry Festival All-Access Pass Pick-up

Our Huckleberry Festival all-access passes were back, for the second year, as a pre-sale only option for those looking to make the most of their weekend! Passes are / were available for purchase, online only, until end of day on Wednesday, August 22. All-access passes are not available for purchase, on site.

All passes are pre-printed, affixed to one of our new Castle Mountain Resort branded lanyards, and available for pick up at Castle Mountain Resort Guest Services.

Ticketing / Guest Services

Castle Mountain Resort Guest Services, located on the lower level of our daylodge, will be operational the following hours:

  • Friday – 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM
    • After hours camping check-in through the T-Bar Pub
  • Saturday – 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
    • Should any additional Pig Roast tickets remain available, for Saturday night, they can be purchased at the bar upstairs in the main daylodge
  • Sunday – 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Our staff and volunteers will be ridiculously easy to recognize, in their “extreme orange”, Castle / Huckleberry Festival branded shirts (great smile Hamish!). Don’t hesitate to ask any of our orange shirts a question while you’re here. They’ll be sure to steer you in the right direction.

Hiking Trails

Most of Castle’s hiking trails are exceptionally well marked. Exceptions are the Haig Ridge trail above the Huckleberry Chairlift (which simply runs the length of the ridge) and the trail to Gravenstafel Peak (follows a summer access road to the summit). Keep a sharp eye for hiking markers (orange hiker disc on rebar posts) and be sure to grab a trail guide, if you’re not familiar with the area. In addition, you can download the Trailforks App (click here), where all of our trails are uploaded (compatible with Apple and Android products).

For more information on our trail network, before you arrive, visit our hiking page (click here).

Riding the Chairlift

The Huckleberry Chairlift will upload guests on both Saturday and Sunday. Downloading on the lift is also possible but, due to the design of our triple chair, 1 out of every 5 chairs can be loaded with guests on the way down. This means that wait times at the summit, for downloading, can be a bit lengthy (30 minutes +). 

There are washroom facilities at the Huckleberry summit as well as refreshments being available (bottled non-alcoholic beverages, snacks) to help you out if you’re feeling snacky or you really just need to, you know, go! Not down with waiting? Take the Haig Ridge trail downward to where it connects with Haig Lake South trail, and follow it all the way to the base. We’ll have an abundance of summer trail maps on hand or you can click here.

A friendly reminder to those looking to take infants up the chair; they must be in a child carrier, controlled /harnessed to the adult at all times. Children and adults are able to ride the chair but pets and bicycles are not permitted on the lift.


A Backcountry Experience / You’re In Bear Country

While you will be surrounded by friends, family, and soon-to-be friends, you’re still in bear country and hiking in the back country. We would like to suggest that you travel in groups, make lots of noise (talking loudly), and carry bear spray. Bear encounters are rare and extremely unlikely at an event of this size. Still, it’s better safe than sorry and bear spray will be available for purchase at Castle Mountain Resort Guest Services, throughout the weekend. Any bear encounters should be reported to any staff or volunteers, who will be easily identifiable by their extreme orange Huckleberry shirts. For more on being Bear Smart, follow the link to best practices as indicated by Alberta Environment and Parks.

Let’s all be great environmental stewards this weekend. Garbage of any sort, even the peel from your fruit, doesn’t belong in the Castle. Leaving even a trace of food can lead to the wild animals becoming accustomed to human food. Our carelessness can lead to the relocation or even the death of a wild animal; not cool if you ask us.

Garbage receptacles and recycling bins can be found throughout the base area as well as at the summit of Huckleberry Chair. Pack out your trash until you reach one of these locations please! Remember, this pristine mountain environment is the home of the animals. We are only guests.


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