This was my first time to Crowsnest Pass, Alberta which is located Southwest Alberta in the Rocky Mountains. I stayed in a mobile home in Hillcrest which is a tiny little town with a population of around 500-700 people who live there. Within the Crowsnest Pass there are a lot of small towns that are located really close together and they all have cool hikes to go to and some have mining tours as well since this area used to be full of miners and their families.
Chinook Lake Hike
I wouldn't say this is a real "hike" per say but more just a walk around the circumference of the lake, which is really quite pretty! It was about a
20 minute drive from Hillcrest, Alberta and it is located close to Coleman, Alberta. The drive is beautiful but when you turn off to go right down to the parking lot at the lake, the road is extremely steep and bumpy and I wouldn't recommend going down that road if you have a big trailer or anything like that. The lake is a beautiful place to set up a blanket and have a picnic or go for a little swim even! The walk is about 2km all the way around with beautiful views and lookout spots. Chinook Lake also has a full campground and if you're looking for somewhere to camp in Crowsnest Pass, this is a prime location!
There is suppose to be a waterfall hike called Allison Creek that is connected to Chinook Lake, but I highly DO NOT recommend this hike. I'm not sure if I missed a path or something? But the trail is very grown in and it is practically impossible to get across this river that runs right through the path. Also side note.. if you do go against my advice and go try this trail anyways, watch out for horse poop, I may have learned this lesson the hard way.
Now this is something you don't see everyday. In April 1903, 82 million tons of rock broke off Turtle Mountain's summit and came crashing down right over the small town of Frank. Now, there's a Frank's Slide Interpretive Centre that you can go to that gives you more information about the tragedy, and there's also a small hike/pathway around all the rocks that fell. I would definitely recommend doing this walk, it's something you won't want to miss if you're in the area!
Star Creek Falls
This hike says it's an "easy" hike and I can assure you it's not. It's steep and depending on which trails you choose to go, it can be slippery because of the loose rocks. Also, if you're afraid of heights, don't bother with this hike. The trail takes you to above the water fall and the end of the path to the final view point is narrow and looks over both edges of cliffs. I would recommend following a map of the hike while you're on it since it can get very confusing, especially if you want to see the waterfall, there are many maps online you can find! When I was hiking, I really wanted to get to the bottom of the waterfall, but we couldn't find the path the lead us there. The main trail cuts off to other trails many times, so we tried to follow the map to the bottom of the waterfall, but it just seemed like every trail we took, it would either take us to a dead end or the opposite direction. So, if you've found the bottom of the waterfall, please message me and tell me how, because I determined to find it next time! The view from the top of the waterfall was gorgeous and it was an incredible workout! I also recommend bringing bear spray, just in case since it looked like it could have been bear territory since there are lots of creeks from the waterfall.
Bellevue Underground Mine Tour
This was SO cool! As I said earlier, throughout the Crowsnest Pass there are many little towns that used to be mining towns. Unfortunately that also means there was mining disasters such as the Hillcrest Mining Disaster and the Bellevue Mining Disaster. We went to the Bellevue Mines and did a tour of the mines and I would highly recommend doing one of these tours if you can. You get a hardhat with a light on it and a very informative tour guide takes you into the mines and gives you a background on the mines and and the miner's lives on the job back when they were running. They also do something called a "light out" and that's when you are at the end of the mining tour and everyone turns out there lights and you get to see the little lantern that the miners had use and how little you could see with it. Then, they turn the lantern out and show everyone what it was like if the lanterns went out, which happened quite frequently. You couldn't see a thing. The tour was informative and super fun to experience. It's about $20 a person and would strongly recommend this experience!
My little trip to get away from the big city of Calgary was just what I needed. The outdoors and good company was amazing for the mind, body and soul. If you live in Calgary, the drive is about two and a half hours and is so worth the views and the hikes! I hope if you're planning a trip out there, my travel guide helps guide you on what to see and what to do!
Until next time!