Crowsnest Pass and Rocky Mountain Front

Discoveries from the Elk Valley across the Crowsnest Pass onto the prairies of Alberta's Rocky Mountain Front. This trip ends in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Layers

Day 1

Ancient Cottonwoods Trail
1
Ancient Cottonwoods Trail
Outdoor Adventure | Hiking Trail or Trailhead
A nice place to spend an hour or so walking the woods and contemplating the ages of these old Cottonwoods.

Veloured in dense green moss, 400-year-old cottonwood trees congregate on the side of the Elk River at Morrissey Bridge. A nature walk steers you around wet spots and avoids sensitive cottonwood roots.

This forest is managed by the Nature…

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Fernie, British Columbia
2
Fernie, British Columbia
Community | Appealing Downtown Area
Definitely worth spending a couple of hours exploring downtown Fernie. The main street is away from the main highway so don't just drive through town without stopping here or you'll really miss out.

Founded in 1898, Fernie is a picturesque town nestled in the Elk River Valley surrounded by the dramatic Lizard Range. From town you can't help be in awe of the jaw dropping views of Mount Hosmer "upside down mountain". This iconic Canadian…

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Basin Cave Pictographs
3
Basin Cave Pictographs
Historic or Prehistoric Place | Archaeological Site
A little bit of an adventure but a compelling discovery.

This site invites reflection upon the thousands of years of First Nations society in the Rocky Mountains, and the subsequent imprint of just a few decades of non-native occupation. Inside this astounding little cave, are a number of ochre-…

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Frank Slide Interpretive Centre
4
Frank Slide Interpretive Centre
Museum, Theatre, Interpretive Centre | Visitor or Interpretive Centre
A somber but very compelling place.

At 4:10 a.m. on April 29, 1903, 90 million tons of limestone broke loose from the top of Turtle Mountain and came crashing down on the valley below. A portion of the sleeping coal mining town of Frank was destroyed and more than 90 people lost…

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Hillcrest Mine Disaster Cemetery Site
5
Hillcrest Mine Disaster Cemetery Site
Historic or Prehistoric Place | Cemetery
A good added stop to the Frank Slide museum.

The 189 coal miners who died in Hillcrest Mine's 1914 explosion are buried in mass graves, grouped according to the religious cultures of the mostly young and immigrant men.

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Leitch Collieries Provincial Historic Site
6
Leitch Collieries Provincial Historic Site
Historic or Prehistoric Place | Historic Site
A short but interesting stop right by the roadway.

The high-flying technology companies of the 1990s did not invent wishful-thinking as a business model. The ruins of Leitch Collieries at the eastern extremity of Crowsnest Pass attest to similar irrational exuberance among entrepreneurs and…

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Day 2

Bellevue Underground Mine Tour
7
Bellevue Underground Mine Tour
Museum, Theatre, Interpretive Centre | Visitor or Interpretive Centre
This looks really interesting.

Chill in the Bellevue Underground Coal Mine where the tunnel’s breeze stays a constant 7°C (45°F). The Bellevue Mine operated from 1903 to 1961, during which time 13 million tons of coal were taken from the rich seams. Today, you can put on a miner’…

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Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, World Heritage Site
8
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, World Heritage Site
Historic or Prehistoric Place | Archaeological Site
A world heritage site. What more to say?

Before the horse and the gun, native peoples hunted bison by stampeding the animals over rock ledges. One particular precipice just west of today's Fort Macleod was a prime slaughtering ground for plains dwellers. A bed of bones 10 metres attests…

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Day 3

Lebel Mansion and Allied Arts Council
9
Lebel Mansion and Allied Arts Council
Museum, Theatre, Interpretive Centre | Art Gallery or Studio
A fun stop along the way.

This Pincher Creek landmark was built in 1910 and served as the private residence of local businessman Timothee Lebel until 1924. The mansion was then donated to the Roman Catholic Order Les Filles de Jesus for use as a hospital. Later, the…

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Cameron Lake
10
Cameron Lake
Natural Area | Lake, River, or Waterfall
The hike along the lake is a must-do while visiting Waterton Lakes National Park

Cameron Lake is one of those magical places in Waterton Lakes National Park, ideal whether you are cross country skiing in the winter or canoeing and kayaking in the summer. A mountain lake astride the U.S.-Canadian border (mostly in Canada, it's…

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the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
John Frandsen

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Trip Plan Details

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In This Trip Plan

1 Ancient Cottonwoods Trail
2 Fernie, British Columbia
3 Basin Cave Pictographs
4 Frank Slide Interpretive Centre
5 Hillcrest Mine Disaster Cemetery Site
6 Leitch Collieries Provincial Historic Site
7 Bellevue Underground Mine Tour
8 Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, World Heritage Site
9 Lebel Mansion and Allied Arts Council
10 Cameron Lake