Exploring Southern Alberta Adventures
Crowsnest Pass in Alberta, Canada
10 Things to Do in the Crowsnest Pass - To begin with The Pass is a narrow corridor tucked in the southwestern corner of Southern Alberta along Highway 3 near the BC/Alberta border. This mountain locale is an undiscovered gem with adventures waiting for outdoor enthusiasts and lovers of history alike. Read on for a list of 10 of my favourite things to do in Crowsnest Pass.
Ten? Only 10 cool things to do in Crowsnest Pass? Trust me, this list is just a random selection of the multitude of adventures that await you in the Pass. Come, experience and explore and you'll soon be racking up the numbers on must-do adventures just like me! For this reason we have to start somewhere, so I'll start with 10 of my favourite things.
In a recent post, I wrote about the fantastical storybook glamping experience at Charmed Resorts in Blairmore, Alberta. It's a perfectly offbeat and unique place stay in the Crowsnest. However, now that you know where to stay, it's time to get your adventure on!
Adventure #1 – Hike to a Waterfall
There are dozens of waterfalls flowing fast and free in the Crowsnest Pass – some easy to access and others more challenging. In other words check out 3 Stellar Crowsnest Waterfalls to get you started. Pick one or make it a quest to hit as any waterfalls as you can during your visit to the Pass. You won't be disappointed.
Adventure #2 – Climb up to a Fire Tower Lookout
Ironstone Fire Lookout on Willoughby Ridge is a 14-kilometre return hike (550 metres of elevation gain) up to spectacular views of the Flathead Mountain Range. In addition, talking with the lookout staff, we were shocked to learn that he receives less than 50 visitors in a season. Definitely an under-appreciated jewel in the crown of the Crowsnest Pass.
Adventure #3 – Bike the Crowsnest Community Trail
Looking for rolling good fun from Bellevue through to Coleman and beyond? Check out the Crowsnest Community Trail! Do the paved pieces, explore the gravel road section leading through Frank Slide or test your mettle on the upper trail from Frank to Bellevue.
Furthermore, the trail runs from Bellevue down to Hillcrest and along through Frank, Blairmore and Coleman.
Adventure #4 – Head Underground for a Mine Tour
You don't just have to imagine what it felt like to leave the warm summer sunshine behind as you walk into a darkened cavern and feel the temperature drop like a stone. You can experience it for yourself by donning a miner's hat and light and heading underground for the Bellevue Mine Tour. We did the tour with my brother and with our great-nephews. Needless to say, it was a smash hit for both of our over 60 and under 16 crowd!
Adventure #5 – Summit Saskatoon Mountain
Don't let 4.4-kilometre return distance with only 270 metres of elevation gain fool you. This hike requires a little bit of route-finding and has a serious steep section!
That being said, the views of Coleman, Blairmore and Crowsnest Mountain make it worth the effort. Keep your eyes peeled for the namesake Saskatoon bushes that are loaded with berries in mid-summer.
Adventure #6 – Paddle Crowsnest Lake
This lake has been popular with people for thousands of years. Notably, the First Nations people used to camp on the shores and fish the headwaters of the Crowsnest River. In the early 1900s, the area was a popular getaway and in the 1930s a dance hall was even built on the eastern lakeshore.
Today stand-up paddlers and kayakers alike flock to the somewhat sheltered bay at the east end of the lake. However, it's important to note that while the bay is a great place to paddle out of the wind, the main body of the lake can blow up into whitecaps in the blink of an eye. Always play safe with your outdoor adventures.
Adventure #7 – Explore the Frank Slide
This historic rubble pile holds more stories than you can imagine. It never fails to amaze. Don't miss a visit to the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, walk through the slide on the circular interpretive trail and witness the "Mountain that Walks" for yourself. For this reason alone, it is a Top 10 Things to Do in the Crowsnest Pass region.
Adventure #9 – Take a Tour to a Ghost Town
Although we biked into the ghost town of Lille on our own, you can join Uplift Adventures for guided tours to discover old mine ruins, settlements, and an historic cemetery as you bike or hike towards the past.
Adventure #10 – Wander Coleman's National Historic District
Most people overlook the old town of Coleman as they drive through on Highway 3 but take the time to pick up a walking tour pamphlet and explore the old downtown, residential areas and remnants of the surface mine plant.
This National Historic District preserves the atmosphere of a western Canadian mining town as it was from 1905 until 1950. This historic tour is perfect for biking, walking or driving. P.S. Don't miss the Disney house! Spoiler alert: it might have been built for Edmund Disney not Walt, but it's still magical to see.