Lille - Ghost Town - Crowsnest Pass - Hiking Alberta

 

Lille is a ghost town near the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta.

 

 

The ghost town of Lille, once a short-lived coal mining operation, now stands silent north of the infamous Frank Slide and the small towns of Blairmore and Bellevue in the Crowsnest Pass at the southwest corner of Alberta.  The fascinating story is well worthy of further research.

 

Lille - Ghost Town - Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada The Frank Slide Visitor Centre and Turtle Mountain

 

 

 

Parking is north and west of the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre.  The hike is 7 KM (4.4 miles), one way, on sketchy, undulating, old road with water crossings over Green Creek, Gold Creek and finally Morin Creek.  Check road, route, and water conditions, before beginning, at the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre

Foot bridges may, or may not, be intact.  If it is not your day, there are multiple alternatives in the Crowsnest Pass area.  The hike has a net elevation gain of about 142 M (470 ft) to Lille at 1,475 M (4,480 ft).  The final, easy ford over Morin Creek leads to a large grass pasture but the remains of the old hotel foundations and old fire hydrants identify this field as the location of Lille.  Further scrounging around will reveal building depressions and old foundations.  Lille is designated as a historic site and deserves to be treated with respect.

 

Lille - Ghost Town - Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada An old fire hydrant. Lille in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada

 

Lille - Ghost Town - Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada Mel at an old Lille fire hydrant. Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada

 

Lille - Ghost Town - Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada The derelict remains of the old hotel foundations at Lille in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada.

 

Lille - Ghost Town - Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada

Lille - Ghost Town - Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada The remains of the old hotel foundations.

 

 

 

Throughout the entire area there are fascinating discoveries of historically significant triumph and tragedy.  In 1901, discovery of rich coal veins, while two French-Canadian prospectors were searching for gold, resulted in the creation of the mining town, Lille

The Frank Slide in 1903 disrupted extensive coal mining operations throughout Crowsnest PassLille continued growing, funded by French capital through West Canadian Collieries, Limited, and in 1906 boasted a hotel, a small school and a rudimentary hospital.  Population peaked above 300 people but the collapse of world coke markets in 1912 led to the demise of Lille's brief existence.

 

 

 

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