Hiking the Historic Crowsnest Pass | Alberta

Country Encounters has teamed up with Road Scholar and Routes to Learning Canada to bring you quality learning vacations in the form of an all-inclusive package. Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Crowsnest Pass boasts unsurpassed scenery and untouched wilderness 90 miles (145 km) north of the Canadian/U.S. border. The region is also laden with the history of early coal miners and mill workers who forged the first communities. Learn about key developments that brought the area from its inception to the modern community of today through field trips and interpretive hikes to historical sites. Trailside discussions offer a look into the natural history and alpine environment of Crownest Pass.


  • Learn about the greatest landslide in North American history — the collapse of Turtle Mountain — during a field trip to the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre.
  • Get a historic snapshot of life in the Canadian Rockies during a visit to the ghost town of Lille, a Provincial Historic Site.
  • Gain insight into coal mining history during a morning at the Bellevue Underground Mine.
  • Hiking 1-4 miles on mountain trails and uneven ground; elevation changes of up to 1,000 feet.
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Latitude: 49.6178283 Longitude: -114.5983887 Elevation: 4881 ft

Sample Itinerary of Experience

Day One: Sunday, September 02 - Independent Arrivals/Orientation
There will be a pre-dinner welcome followed by evening orientation session. Complimentary wine and snacks on the first evening. 
Dinner: Dinner at the B&B. Each evening a special menu created for participants will be served. Soup and a selection of salads accompany main course items that reflect the source local ideals of our 2 certified chefs. Expect to be served meals that reflect regional favorites and local ethnic diversities in a variety of styles: plated, buffet service and family style. Don't forget to save room for dessert! Typical Plated Menu Dawn's Own Italian Wedding soup (at the soup station) Fresh greens with red onion, olive, crouton, cherry tomato and balsamic vinaigrette Alberta AAA beef medallions with wild morel sauce served with new potato and fresh mixed veggies Saskatoon Mousse
Lodging: Country Encounters Meals Included

Day Two: Monday, September 03 - Hiking: Frank Slide North Rim Trail & Miner's Path/Bellevue Mine
Breakfast: A typical breakfast buffet would include a hot main course item such as fresh made waffles and apple chicken sausage, fresh fruit, home baked muffins, yogurt, fresh fruit juice, and a selection of dry cereal. Toast and hot instant cereal are always available. Coffee, a selection of teas, fresh juice and non- alcoholic drinks are available from early morning and through out the day.
HIKING: North Rim Trail. Start the day with a tour of the Bellevue underground mine and learn what it was like to be a coal miner at the turn of the century. Then walk the Frank Slide North Rim Trail to the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre. The centre highlights the rich history of the Crowsnest Pass amid the breathtaking beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Displays feature the 1903 Frank Slide (rockslide-avalanche), the Canadian Pacific Railway, European settlement, early underground coal mining and community life. Hiking distance approximately 3 miles/4.5 km and 1000 feet/315 meters elevation change.
Lunch: Bag lunch in field. Each morning a selection of breads, meats, cheeses, vegetables, fresh fruits and baked goods are presented for each participant to build their lunch just the way they like it. Take as little or as much as you like and then pack it in our eco-friendly thermal bags ready for the day's adventures.
HIKING CONTINUES: Frank Slide Historical Trail & Miner's Path. After lunch we hike along the Frank Slide Historical Trail, a well-groomed path which picks its way through the slide and along a portion of both the Frank & Grassy Mountain Railway and an old highway built to by-pass the slide. We return to Coleman for a short hike down Miner's Path to the waterfall and old Magillery creek mine site. Hiking distance approximately 2/3 miles/1 km with 328 ft/100 meter elevation change.
Dinner: B&B - enjoy a locally sourced gourmet dinner.
EVENING WALK: Optional historic walk in downtown Coleman.
Lodging: Country Encounters
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day Three: Tuesday, September 04 - Hiking: Ghost Town of Lille/Crowsnest Museum
Breakfast: Enjoy a gourmet breakfast before heading out on the trails.
HIKING: Lille. Depart for a hike to the ghost town of Lille. Scattered and ghostly remnants of the coal mining town add intrigue to this beautiful hike with scores of historical points of interest and countless opportunities to marvel at the spectacular scenery Hiking distance approximately 4 miles/6.5 km's with 460 ft/140 meter elevation change.
Lunch: Bag lunch in field.
HIKING CONTINUES: Hiking near ghost town of Lille continues after lunch. Lille was originally founded in 1901 by gold prospectors with British Columbia's United Gold Fields. Forced to rebuild after the Frank Slide the town was renamed after the French town of Lille as most of the new investors came from this town in France.
Dinner: Ethnic themed meal.
EVENING ACTIVITY: Crowsnest Museum. A lecture will highlight the origins of the people of the Crowsnest Pass at the Crowsnest Museum which preserves and protects the unique cultural heritage of the Crowsnest Pass. The collection includes a comprehensive collection of archival material including a large repository of approximately 60,000 images.
Lodging: Country Encounters
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day Four: Wednesday, September 05 - Hiking: North York Creek/DC-3 Plane Crash Site/Free Evening
Breakfast: Enjoy a gourmet breakfast before heading out on the trails.
HIKING: North York Creek. Depart for a hike to the North York Creek Plane Crash site. Hike through woodland and up the mountain trail to the alpine basin and the site of Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) DC-3 that crashed in January of 1946. Hiking distance approximately 4 miles/6.5 kms with a 984 ft/300 meter elevation gain.
Lunch: Bag lunch in field.
HIKING CONTINUES: Hiking continues near North York Creek. After the crash in 2946 it took five days for the Crowsnest Pass Forest Rangers to snowshoe to the crash site because of bad weather, guided by the smoke of the burning plane.
Dinner: Dinner at B&B - enjoy a locally sourced gourmet dinner.
FREE EVENING: Free evening to explore on your own or relax and unwind.
Lodging: Country Encounters
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day Five: Thursday, September 06 - Hiking: Livingstone Range & Phillips Pass/Farewell Celebration
Breakfast: Enjoy a gourmet breakfast before heading out on the trails.
HIKING: Livingstone Range. Depart for a hike to the Livingstone Range and the raptor migration lookout. The great spring and fall migrations of Golden Eagles and lesser raptors occur along the spine of the Livingstone Range. This range forms the eastern boundary of the Rockies in the south of the province. The first European to make a recorded ascent in the Canadian Rockies was at Thunder Mountain in 1792. Visit the chert quarry for some of the best views and a look at the ancient native quarrying site. Chert is a type of quartz harder than steel. The Livingstone Range north of Turtle Mountain in Crowsnest Pass was a major quarry site as long ago as 8,000 years. Hiking distance approximately 2.2 miles/3.5 kms with a 984 ft/300 meter elevation change.
Lunch: Bag Lunch during transport to Phillips Pass trail head.
HIKING CONTINUES: Phillips Pass. This out of the way hike at Phillips Pass follows one of the Rum Runner routes across the continental divide into British Columbia.
Dinner: The farewell dinner at the B&B is our big BBQ Alberta style. Choice cuts of Alberta AAA beef, pork, and chicken grilled up just so. Throw in some fish and you have the main course options. Accompanied by fresh salads, baked potato, Mark's special baked beans and Taber corn, serve it up out on the deck (weather permitting) and you have the makings of a celebration "Alberta Style".
FAREWELL EVENING: Wrap-up party on our final evening together.
Lodging: Country Encounters
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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