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.
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.
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.
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.
The mine entrance has been sealed shut with cement blocks painted black.
Slightly west, just around the corner, there is a concrete entrance to the mine, sealed the same with an access door that is locked.
Perched above the more modern access is the remains of the old Lamp House which is quaint, decrepit and dangerously close to collapse.
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.
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.
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.