Protection Mountain is a long ridge ridge line located north west of TV peak which is itself part of Castle Mountain. This ridge can be accessed several ways judging from the view from the 1A near Baker Creek. What draw my friend and I to this place is the presence of an abandoned Zinc/Copper/Silver mine from we believe the 1920's. Information on this mine is hard to find. There was mining in the area in the late 1800's as well so the mine could be dated earlier. You can find the remains of the living quarters in the form of collapsing log cabins on the route up. The trail itself is an excellent one. You will be following the actual mule train route and the path while not used much is in excellent shape all the way to and just past the mine. It is up though all the way with very little relief.
From Calgary take the Trans-Canada highway to just past Banff then take the Bow Valley parkway or 1A towards Lake Louise. About 15-20 minutes after the cutoff for Castle Junction you will notice a pull off on the opposite side of the road. There is a small clearing to your right. with a creek that descends down from the mountain. You cross the creek to the west side either right at the road or 30 yards down where there is a small wooden bridge. Then it is a matter of just following the well preserved trail. The first 3-4 kms are fairly level till you are forced to take a sharp turn left where it is uphill for the most part. After about an hour if your eyes are sharp you will see a collapsed cabin to your right down in the forest near the creek. Another 45 minutes will take you to the main living quarter site which you will see on a level area to your left. Lots of old debris litter the site including and old rot iron stove. 20 minutes more takes you above the tree line to the entrance to the mine. To attain the summit ridge you must work your way straight up to a visible weakness in the cliff band or traverse over to the right to a more obvious and gentle weakness you can see to the right above another mine site. This one has been collapsed to seal the entrance. The trail to both these sites are easy to find as they were reinforced to take wagons or pack animals. Above them however it becomes more of a true scramble. But not difficult. Once on the ridge you will have to work your way northwest to the high point. It is quite a distance so allow yourself time to do this bit and descend the way you came.
No camping, No fires. Bring out your garbage. Parks pass will be required as it is in Banff National Park.
There are several campgrounds along the 1A. One is called Protection Mountain Campsite. Another can be found at Johnson Canyon. There are lodgings at Baker Creek and Castle Junction as well. http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/banff/visit/visit9.aspx#protect http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/banff/visit/visit9a-6a.aspx
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