Castle Mountain between Banff and Lake Louise is one of the most prominent mountains along the Bow Valley Parkway but do youknow how Castle Mountain got its name?
It all started back in 1858 when James Hector decided that a 9,000 foot mountain with a fortress or castle-like appearance should be named appropriately and recorded the mountain he was looking at as Castle Mountain. He wrote, “Seeming to stand out in the center of the valley is a very remarkable mountain… which looks exactly like a giant castle.”
Despite the appropriateness of Dr. Hector’s name and the fact that it had been used for almost one hundred years, the mountain was renamed Mount Eisenhower in 1946 in honour of American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during the final year of World War II.
The decision to rename Castle Mountain was made by Prime Minister Mackenzie-King on the day before the President was to pay a visit to Ottawa. As much as Eisenhower was respected, this arbitrary decision so enraged the Alberta government that it immediately formed its own geographical names board. It took thirty-three years and an Albertan as Prime Minister before Castle Mountain regained its original name in 1979. As a compromise, the prominent tower on the southern end of the mountain was given the name Eisenhower Peak to pay tribute to Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Now you know the story of Castle Mountain and on a CTE Tour we take you out along the old highway so you travel deeper into the forest for up close views of the mountain, Bow River and certainly a better chance of spotting wildlife such as Coyotes, Elk, Rocky Mt. Big Horn Sheep and most definitely, Grizzly Bear territory.