Distance: 16 km
Elevation gain: 700 mView mapDownload GPS track
If you enjoy perfectly straight trees, multiple shades of brown and dark green, and appreciate a wide, packed pathway, this snowshoe trip is for you! If not, it's probably best to look elsewhere; with the exception of the final kilometer or so, that is all this snowshoe trip has to offer.
The trailhead for this trip is the same as the summer trailhead to Rockbound and Tower Lakes: Exit the Trans Canada highway at Castle Junction, turning northeastwards towards Highway 1A. At the intersection with 1A, turn right, then make an immediate left into the signed trailhead parking lot. The trail kiosk and trail are at the far end of the lot.
From here the trail climbs gently to moderately through three long switchbacks and several shorter ones to Tower Lake. The entire approach is treed and is completely viewless. Two things are worth noting about the trail. First, a signed junction 600 m from the trailhead indicates a detour to Silverton Falls. While the canyon is somewhat impressive, the falls - at least from down low - were invisible and not really worth the detour. There was a trail leading higher up which may have provided a better vantage, but we didn't explore it. Second, just before reaching Tower Lake and where the views first open slightly up, the trail crosses the base of a large avalanche slope coming off Eisenhower Peak. The snowpack was in good condition today so we continued, but it would not be advisable to cross this without proper gear if the avalanche risk were high.
While the area surrounding Tower Lake might be nicer on a sunny day, the only noteworthy visible mountain is Eisenhower Peak (Helena ridge is rather anticlimactic) and it just didn't seem worth the trudge through trees to see this one sight. While the scenic rewards would be boosted by continuing a short distance further to Rockbound Lake, this exposes you to more avalanche risk; without gear this is again not particularly advisable.