Oil City - Waterton National Park - Hiking Alberta

 

The 'First Oil Well in Western Canada National Historic Site' on Akamina Parkway.

 

Oil City, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Following a hearty breakfast at Zum's Eatery, as reward for the early morning hike to Bear's Hump, the drive north-west, from the north end of Waterton Village, proceeds on the 16 KM (10 mile) Akamina Parkway, also know as Cameron Lake Road, in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Around 8 KMs (5 miles) the drive passes the south trail-head to Crandell Lake and soon after arrives at the 'First Oil Well in Western Canada National Historic Site'. 

This is one of two official historic sites in Waterton Lakes National Park.  The other is the Prince of Wales Hotel.

 

Oil City - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada The sign at the parking area is across Akamina Parkway from the exhibit near Cameron Creek.

 

Oil City - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Cameron Lake Road is surrounded by impressive mountains en route through Cameron Creek Valley

 

Oil City - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Dramatic mountain views surround the Oil City Exhibit on Akamina Parkway near Cameron Creek

 

Informative plaques document the early history of oil discovery and exploration in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Allan Patrick's 1889 claim adjacent to Oil Creek (now Cameron Creek) was the first, followed by 150 more, but difficult access issues saw all of these abandoned by 1893.

The oil seeped into pools above ground and in 1898, William Aldridge earned a living to support his family by soaking up about a dozen gallons of surface oil daily with gunny sacks and packing it out on horses for local use as a lubricant and for medicinal purposes.

 

Oil City - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada The Oil City Exhibit is adjacent to Cameron Creek in Waterton Lakes National Park.

 

Oil City - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Informative plaques provide an interesting and brief history of Oil exploration in the area.

 

Oil City - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Oil City - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

A representative oil derrick with memorial plaque is erected over one of the original oil well heads.

 

Oil City - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada The representative oil derrick resides over one of the original well heads.

 

Oil City - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Oil City - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

There are spectacular vistas on a short walk along the shore of Cameron Creek adjacent to the exhibit.

 

Oil City - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Oil City - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Oil City - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Oil City - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada Oil City - Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Alberta's oil boom began here in 1897 with the Lineham Discovery Well when John Lineham and his Rocky Mountain Development Company teamed with Allan Patrick and G. K. Leeson.

In 1902 oil was being extracted at a rate of 300 barrels per day.  Heavy equipment was hauled in and grand plans were developed for building a town nearby, but a series of problems brought the initiative to a halt.

By 1904, the site was abandoned.  Overall, an estimated 8,000 barrels of oil were extracted.

Halfway to Cameron Lake, the oil city exhibit is a nice place to stop and absorb some history combined with incredible scenery.  At the very least, the stop at this historic location is an excellent leg stretcher.

The location is very close to the trail-head for the Lineham Creek hike to view a 250 m (410 ft) high waterfall.

The Lineham Creek hike is estimated to consume 3 hours of time round trip over 8.4 KM (5¼ miles) with elevation gain of 350 m (1,148 ft).  There are further options to consider.

 

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