Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore - Hiking Alberta

 

The Coal Mine Number 2 exhibit is worth a visit in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.

 

 

Update:  A reader has provided information that parts of this exhibit have been eliminated, substantially reduced and/or fenced off.  The area is still a great walk.

On a visit to the Alberta Visitor Centre in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, an attractive young lady at the information counter informs me of a nearby historic coal mine within easy reach.

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Drainage in a surface coal field under the Three Sisters Parkway into the Bow River Valley below

 

Coal Mine # 1 is located near the base of Ha Ling Peak near recreational Quarry Lake.  Today's objective is Coal Mine # 2 which is east near the base of Mount Lawrence Grassi on a grassy plain adjacent to the Bow River. 

Today's hiking objective is located on an excellent, paved, walking, cycling and rollerblading trail that travels much of the width of Canmore.  Coal Mine # 2 is located at the large 'S' curve in that path.

Even with a very good map, it is challenging to pinpoint a suitable entry location for access within relatively close proximity. 

Driving along Three Sisters Parkway, a drainage location on the south side provides a clue and, after checking this out, parking at an unsigned, gated road slightly east on the north side of the road provides a satisfactory route to drop down into the river valley.  There are no helpful signs.

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Massive easily accessible coal deposits near Three Sisters Mountain south of Canmore, Alberta, Canada

 

The road drops down to the paved path and the mine is visible in the distance to the left with a small, beautiful pond between the Coal Mine # 2 entrance and the Bow River.

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Drainage from the quarry pond into the Bow River - Coal Mine # 2 in the background

 

The pond has water gushing into it from two large pipes and smells heavily of sulphur which begs the assumption the water is being pumped from the old abandoned mine.

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Water is being pumped into the pond from the long abandoned Coal Mine # 2 near Canmore, Alberta

 

The mine entrance has been sealed shut with cement blocks painted black.

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Canmore Coal Mine # 2 entrance shaft - Canmore, Alberta, Canada

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada The original entrance to Coal Mine # 2 on the south side of Canmore, Alberta, Canada

 

Slightly west, just around the corner, there is a concrete entrance to the mine, sealed the same with an access door that is locked.

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Second entrance to Coal Mine # 2 with the Lamp House perched above and behind - Canmore, Alberta, Canada

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Approaching the Lamp House above the second entrance to Coal Mine # 2 near Canmore.

 

Perched above the more modern access is the remains of the old Lamp House which is quaint, decrepit and dangerously close to collapse.

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada The Lamp House is in poor condition, vandalized and close to collapse on the far side.

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada The vandalized inside of the Coal Mine # 2 Lamp House at Canmore, Alberta, Canada

 

Left of the entrance to the Lamp House is a trail down the hill and a wide passage. 

From this vantage point, sparse remains of foundations in the grassy fields become evident and motivate an off-trail visit to those features near another pond and beneath new home development to the west.

Bits of old mining debris scattered about are rusting into obscurity.

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada View from the Lamp House across the quarry pond, and 'S' curve past the Bow River to Grotto Mountain on the far side of Bow Valley Corridor.

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada One of a few foundations remaining - Mount Lady Macdonald and Squaw's Tit in the background

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada An old foundation to the west of Coal Mine # 2 and close to new construction

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Survey evidence of the removed Powder Shack between the mine entrance and the Lamp House.

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Adjacent to the Lamp House an old rail line heads east - Slag heaps are behind the Lamp House

 

Back at the Lamp House, the hike proceeds through the flat channel which was clearly a rail line.

Some of the rotting railroad ties are still in the ground.  Metal debris and old rails are visible off to the sides of the line which return me to the access road initially used to drop into the valley.

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada This unique fungus is about 4 inches (10 cm) high.

 

An old road above the rail route leads back to slack heaps near and above the Lamp House.  Above that there are switchback roads that are nearly obliterated by new forest. 

The day provides a good energetic walk combined with the mystique of potential and exciting discovery which motivates engagement of the very important inner child.

On the return trip to Calgary, another old mine-shaft is preserved, sealed and resident beside the Three Sisters Parkway. 

The old, sealed shaft is an ideal place for a memorable photograph which summons up the coal mining days of old and the huge contribution the railroad companies made to the development of Canada.

 

Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada Canmore Coal Mine # 2 - Canmore, Alberta, Canada

 

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