What kind of hiker are you? Do you pore over trail reviews and maps before you go? Or do you just look at the basic stats and hit the trail into the unknown? I’m the latter and it did not pay off when we tried to hike to Paradise Lake in Castle Provincial Park recently.
Distance – 2.7 KM (one-way)
Elevation Gain / Loss – 1430 feet
Trail Difficulty – Moderate
Paradise Lake is another hike that starts at Castle Mountain Resort just like Haig Lake and Haig Ridge. Shortly after you begin the ascent from the resort, the signage points you in the direction and you follow an old ATV trail.
Do Your Research!
Here is where I should hav e done my research. Because there was so much signage on the Haig trails, I figured there would be signage for Paradise Lake. But the trail leaves Castle’s land and goes back into the park so they don’t post signage out of their border.
About 2 miles in, the trail to the lake shoots to the left into the woods. There is an ‘X’ carved into the tree and someone made a small inukshuk, but otherwise there is no signage saying to turn for Paradise Lake.
From what I gathered from other hiking reviews the trail goes through the woods, along a stream, up to the lake. I wouldn’t know first hand because we missed the turn off.
We passed the turn off as we huffed and puffed up a steep section of the trail. At one point we heard voices in the woods and thought it was strange that people were off the trail like that.
We kept following the ATV path until it shot straight up. I found this very strange as I had done Haig Ridge the day before and knew Paradise Lake was at the base of Mt. Haig. We went up maybe 200 metres before I knew we were not on our way to the lake. We were on our way up to the ridge!
We looked around and tried to get our bearings and to see if there was an obvious path below us that would lead to the lake. But it’s hard to tell a hiking trail from a game trail and we thought we saw the trail but didn’t want to risk bushwhacking to get to a game trail.
After a bit of sulking (on my part) we decided it was better to turn around, enjoy the hike we had and give up on the lake.
On the way down is when we finally noticed the inukshuk and realized we missed the turn off. I swore to come back next year with a sign that clearly says “Paradise Lake” to nail to the tree so it’s more clear.
We still had a great day out hiking, chatting, and moving our bodies so that was a win. I guess. Ha ha!