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.







Nice pictures but that foundation is not the coke ovens in Lille. It's the old hotel. The coke ovens are in the bush below the hotel. They are amazing to see. I hope you got down there.

The mining history in Alberta and British Columbia is historically rich and fascinating. There are many interesting locations deserving of preservation for future generations to reflect upon. Most are not protected and, through natural forces and vandalism, will eventually disappear. It is an opportunity to get some exercise and visit while the opportunity is available.

Lille's story reflects much of Alberta's story. So much effort, so much hope poured into what ought to be a viable undertaking, all undermined by world forces. The reasonable expectation of reward destroyed by consequences of decisions taken elsewhere.

Thank you. It is a special place. If you check my blog for the Turtle Mountain summit traverse, I photographed the slide from the top looking straight down. It is a unique view. The size of the Interpretive Centre provides perspective. When you you visit again, there is a road between the mountain face and Hwy 3 which links Frank and Hillcrest that deserves attention. There is a memorial at the Frank (west) end to commemorate the many victims of the 1903 slide that were never recovered. They remain buried in the rubble somewhere. The stories of this event range from tragic to miraculous. I visit the area annually and have for many years. There is still much to do.

Love the pictures! So much history...I know I went to Frank Slide years ago, as a class field trip, but my memories are so faint that it's probably time for a revisit! Thanks for the post!