Fort Macleod to Coleman: approx. 95 km (60 mi)
This small slice through southwestern Alberta bursts
with big stories to tell. And you’ll love it for the distinct
character of its resilient people and haunting landscapes.
Founded on coal mining, the five historic communities
that make up the municipality of Crowsnest Pass are
situated within a few minutes of each other and are
great places to explore, not only for the history, but for
the beautiful countryside, where the prairies reach
for the mountains.
Come to understand the tragedies, triumphs, booms
and busts of Bellevue, Hillcrest, Frank, Blairmore
and Coleman on this trip that can easily be done
in a day. Drive, park, and take some historic hikes
along the way.
- From Fort Macleod, head east on the Crowsnest Highway (Hwy 3)
for 67 km (42 mi) to Lundbreck at the junction of the Cowboy Trail
(Hwy 22). Follow the signs to Lundbreck Falls for a hike and a picnic
lunch where the Crowsnest River takes a 12 m (39 ft) tumble to the
- Back on Hwy 3 west, follow the signs to the Leitch Collieries about
10 minutes – just before Bellevue. Established in 1907, the collieries
were one of the largest and most ambitious coal mining operations
in the Crowsnest Pass. Stroll around the ruins to see architecture that
was ahead of its time or take an interpretive tour.
- Head on to Bellevue, the first of the Crowsnest mining towns,
built in 1905, on the flat land above the Bellevue Mine. Take the
underground tour and learn about the disastrous explosion in
1910 that took the lives of 31 miners.
- Just across the highway is Hillcrest, where another tragedy took
place: the Hillcrest Mine disaster of 1914. The deaths of 189 men
made this the worst mining disaster in Canadian history.
- Five minutes down the road is Frank, the site of Canada’s most
deadly rockslide. Some 82 million tonnes of rock hurtled down from
Turtle Mountain in 1903, partially burying the town below. You can still
see the slide today as you drive along Hwy 3. The Frank Slide Interpretive Centre does an excellent job of telling this compelling story.
- Another five minutes brings you to Blairmore. Enjoy the self-guided
Historical Walking Tour which takes you past many heritage houses
and historical buildings.
- Eight minutes west is Coleman, the last major stop before crossing
the Continental Divide into British Columbia. Visit the Crowsnest Museum, hike the Historic Miner’s Path or hike to Star Creek Falls
before returning to Fort Macleod.