Coal mining in Canmore was critical to the expansion of Canada's National Railway.
Canmore in Alberta, Canada is a town blessed with incredible potential.
Located in a broad part of the Bow Valley Corridor, and surrounded by magnificent mountains, Canmore is the east gateway to Banff National Park. Canmore was established in 1883 as a railway depot two years before Banff National Park became Canada's first National Park.
Canmore's second life began in 1887 when the No. 1 Mine opened at Whiteman's Creek, now known as Canmore Creek. Without the discovery and mining of coal at exactly the right time, it is possible Canmore would not exist today.
An excellent article by Rob Alexander, author of 'The History of Canmore', is available to more fully understand Canmore's Coal Mining History.
There is parking for about a dozen carefully placed cars, clearly signed on 8th Avenue in Canmore, near the bridge over the Bow River. The Mineside Trailhead is adjacent to the river and hosts a red-roofed TransCanada Trail pavilion as well.
Continuing along this trail passes an interesting sculpture and veers away from the Bow River past a couple of trail intersections and a children's playground to arrive at the Canmore Creek Trail which is a right turn at the Y-junction.
A post in the ground with a tiny placard on top containing the crossed symbol of an ax and shovel confirms the right path as a trail, over crushed stone, heads uphill beside and above Canmore Creek and through a densely populated residential area.
Elevation increases fairly aggressively with the creek disappearing into the forested valley below. The slopes of the valley appear to consist of crushed coal.
Soon, a sign indicates the location of Coal Mine # 1.
Canmore Creek Trail continues on good, flat trail a short distance to a substantial set of stairs off to the right. Continuing straight encounters a wooden platform with a slight descent to Canmore Creek and a pretty little waterfall.
Rather than return to the stairs, a scramble up the hill-side picks up the top-side trail which leads to a view over Canmore and the valley, a large waterfall just below, and forward to Ha Ling Peak, Mount Lawrence Grassi and Mount Rundle. Soon, arrival at, and crossing Three Sisters Parkway provides the opportunity to wander around open grassland skirting the mountains.
The short distance to Quarry Lake provides the opportunity to capture photographic images at a very popular and beautiful recreational area accessible from Three Sisters Parkway above Canmore.
On the return hike from Quarry Lake by the same route, a pause is taken at the viewpoint for pictures of the cascading waterfall below Three Sisters Parkway before continuing the descent on the uneven steps of the substantial staircase bypassed on the hike up.
At the bottom of the stairs an old foundation reveals itself in shallow forest and confirms the location of Canmore's original Coal Mine # 1.
At the beginning of this short, 3.0 KM (1⅞ mile) round trip hike, between the Mineside trail-head and Quarry Lake, continuing along the Three Sisters Pathway, would have encountered access to Coal Mine # 2.