Table Mountain, Alberta – A Most Instagramable Hike

It’s difficult to say which Canadian Rockies hike is truly the most instagramable, but Table Mountain, Alberta is definitely in the running. The view from the top is one of the prettiest scenes in the Canadian Rockies and you can take incredible photos from every direction. Even though it’s a tough hike up, it’s worth the effort to get to one of the most Instagram-worthy places in the Canadian Rockies

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An image of a young woman taking in the view from the top of Table Mountain, Alberta.
We brought a picnic lunch and relaxed at the top taking in this incredible view. Photo by Debbie Olsen

Instagramable? Seriously, What Does That Mean?

The word “instagramable” is an adjective that refers to a picture, person or scene that is worthy of sharing on Instagram.  It started out as a slang word, but it became legitimate when the Merriam-Webster Dictionary included it in their 2018 edition. Instagramable is now on the same level as the verb “to Google” which was included in the dictionary in 2006 or the word “selfie” which Oxford Dictionaries proclaimed as the official word of 2013.

An image of a your woman standing at the top of Table Mountain, Alberta.
If this isn’t an Instagramable shot, I don’t know what is. You don’t even need to get close to the edge to make this shot amazing. Photo by Debbie Olsen.

Related: Looking for more beautiful destinations in the Canadian Rockies? Check out our post about the Grassi Lakes hike.

Where is Table Mountain, Alberta?

The trail to Table Mountain, Alberta begins in Castle Provincial Park, but the peak itself is in Castle Wildland Provincial Park. In 2017, the two areas were officially declared Alberta’s newest provincial parks. Castle Provincial Park is a 25-minute drive west of Pincher Creek – in southern Alberta.  

An image of the view from the trail on the Table Mountain hike in Alberta, Canada.
Once you get out of the trees, the views on the Table Mountain. Alberta hike are stunning. Photo by Debbie Olsen.

Getting to the Table Mountain Trailhead

Hot Tip: Do not put “Table Mountain” into your google maps app. When we put “Table Mountain” into the google maps phone app, it took us the wrong way. The trailhead is located at Beaver Mines Lake Campground. Put the campground in your GPS and you’ll get there. From the hamlet of Beaver Mines take Highway 774 south for about 20 kilometres. Follow the signs to Beaver Mines Lake Campground. Once you enter the campground, continue driving straight until you see the sign for the trailhead.

An image of a woman sitting on a rock outcropping partway up the Table Mountain hike in Alberta, Canada.
Halfway up, we stopped for a little rest break and took some photos. Photo by Kelsey Olsen.

Table Mountain Hike Details

The hike is 10 kilometres return and takes about four hours in total. It’s a moderately difficult hike with a 700-metre elevation gain and a lot of scrambling near the top, but the views are well worth the effort.

An image of grizzly bear markings on an aspen tree in Castle Provincial Park, Alberta.
Table Mountain Alberta and the new Castle Provincial Parks are both in bear country. Look closely at this tree and you’ll see grizzly bear claw marks. Photo by Debbie Olsen

Related: If you’re looking for more incredible hikes in the Canadian Rockies, check out Heart Mountain in Kananaskis, Alberta. The Heart Mountain Horseshoe Hike lets you summit three mountains in one day.

Gear Up for the Hike

Take plenty of water, snacks, hiking poles and bear spray on this hike. You’ll definitely want to bring your smartphone or a camera. Be sure to make plenty of noise along the way, so you don’t surprise a bear. Table Mountain Alberta is in the heart of bear country.

An image of a young woman standing beside the sign for Castle Wildland Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada.
You begin the hike in Castle Provincial Park and you end it in Castle Wildland Provincial Park. A sign along the trail tells you when you cross the border. Photo by Debbie Olsen.

What it’s Like to Hike Table Mountain, Alberta

From the trailhead, the trail passes through thick vegetation and trees and it runs beside a creek for a while. Eventually you will see a sign letting you know you are passing into Castle Wildlands Provincial Park. Once you get out of the trees, the views get better, but you’re fully exposed to the sun. The trail gets steeper and becomes more of a scramble as you get closer to the top. We found snow near the top when we hiked it in May. Then suddenly you come up over a ridge and you’re on a flat-topped summit. Even though it’s tempting, don’t get too close to the edge for the sake of an Instagram photo. You can get great photos a safe distance from the cliff’s edge.

An image of a young woman gazing out at the view in Castle Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada.
It’s easy hiking through the trees and for a ways afterwards and the views are fantastic. Photo by Debbie Olsen.
An image of bighorn sheep in Castle Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada.
Keep an eye out for bighorn sheep. They are plentiful in this area of the Rockies. Photo by Debbie Olsen.
An image of the Table Mountain Alberta Trail where it gets steeper.
On a hot day, you’ll go through a lot of water on the Table Mountain Alberta hike. There’s very little shade cover and the tail gets very steep in places. Photo by Debbie Olsen.
A view of the Table Mountain Alberta trail where you have to do some scrambling.
Some sections are very steep and you even have to do a bit of scrambling. Photo by Debbie Olsen.
An image of a woman and an inukshuk on the Table Mountain Alberta hike.
What do you do when you really need a break? Pretend you absolutely need to take a selfie of your red face with a random Inukshuk. Photo by Debbie Olsen.
An image of snow on the trail at Table Mountain, Alberta.
At higher elevations in May and June you may encounter snow on the trail. Photo by Debbie Olsen.
An image of a young woman standing near the top of the Table Mountain trail in Alberta.
See that plateau? We’re almost there. Thank goodness! This was a tough hike for me. Photo by Debbie Olsen
An image of two women standing at the top of Table Mountain in Alberta, Canada.
Kelsey and Debbie standing at the top of Table Mountain. One face is redder than the other, but we made it! Woohoo! Photo by Debbie Olsen.

A Good Alternative to Bear’s Hump

I first heard about Table Mountain, Alberta from a tour operator in Waterton Lakes National Park. My daughter and I were looking for a good alternative to the Bear’s Hump hike, which was closed due to a wildfire the previous season. Our horseback outfitter overheard us and suggested we hike Table Mountain in nearby Castle Provincial Park. We’re glad she did. The view from the top is every bit as good if not better than the Bear’s Hump hike in Waterton – another of Alberta’s most Instagramable hikes.

Related: It’s just over an hour’s drive from the Table Mountain trailhead to Waterton Lakes National Park. Read our post 15 Fantastically Fun Things to do in Waterton.

2 thoughts on “Table Mountain, Alberta – A Most Instagramable Hike

  1. Mariam Qureshi Reply

    Beautiful!

    What time is agood time to start the hike? How long did it take you get to the “table top” lol? 🙂

    Is there a campground near by?

    Would you recommend against taking an older dog with you?

    Is it bear country? could we take snacks in a back pack with us?

    These pictures make me wanna go there right now! Im thinking of going end of august or early september, I see there was some snow spots, what type of weather did you encounter ? which month did you go?
    : ) lol so many questions lo l .. very excited to go there!
    Im on Instagram, if its easier to reply there.. @artist.mariamqureshi

    1. wanderwoman Reply

      Thanks for visiting our blog, Mariam! Here are some answers to your questions:
      I think it will take a couple of hours to reach the top of Table Mountain. The trailhead is at the Beaver Mines Lake Campground and that would be a good place to stay. You can take dogs on the trail if they’re on a leash. It’s a steep hike with some scrambling and near the top there isn’t much shade, so make sure you bring enough water for you and the dog. This trail is in bear country and you should pack bear spray. We hiked it in May and that’s why there was some snow. If you hike it in August or September there typically wouldn’t be snow. It was a really hot day and we hiked in the afternoon and ran out of water. If it’s a very hot day, hiking in the morning might be a good idea. I’d definitely bring snacks in your day pack. We had a little picnic at the top.
      I hope you enjoy your hike. Table Mountain is one of my favourite hikes. Please let me know if you have more questions. Thanks again, Debbie

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