Human Powering Through The Crowsnest Pass

Crowsnest Pass
Photographer
Andrew Penner

Human Powering Through The Crowsnest Pass

The communities of Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass invite you to explore this August and September through #BucketlistAB. That invite not only comes with epic southern hospitality, but also with a sustainable approach to its tourism offerings.

Andrew Penner

Halfway down Turtle Mountain both my legs and lungs started sending signals to my brain that something wasn't quite right. Call it fatigue. Lactic acid build-up. Overexertion. They’d all apply. And, given the fact this hike required 740 metres of elevation gain (and subsequent loss!), this “negativity” wasn’t all that surprising. But, just like my entire tour through the Crowsnest Pass, in the end, the “positivity” was off the charts. 

Not gonna lie. My legs were sore for three days after the Turtle Mountain trudge. But the reward was rich. The view from the top of Turtle Mountain – high above the legendary Frank Slide – was heart-stopping. As storm clouds toiled overhead, the massive fractures in the mountain, the gaping chasm where millions of tons of rock poured down into the valley below, was stunning to behold from this bird's eye perspective. And, as we trundled down the mountain, the views got even better. The clouds parted – timing is everything! - and sunset glow poured in from the west. It was a captivating sight and one that required numerous “clicks” of the camera. 

Uncover The Crowsnest Pass for its Human Powered Adventures

While the hike to the top of Turtle Mountain is certainly a bucket list activity in the Crowsnest Pass, it’s one of many awesome adventures in this mountain-filled region in the southwest corner of the province. The Crownest Pass - which is comprised of five communities: Hillcrest, Frank, Bellevue, Coleman, and Blairmore - is situated approximately 2.5 hours south of Calgary.

Crowsnest Pass
Photographer
Andrew Penner

For golfers, the hot-off-the-press holes at the Crowsnest Pass Golf & Country Club are a testament to this region's strong surge forward in the travel and tourism game. Talented Canmore-based architect, Gary Browning, crafted nine new holes in a tranquil setting far off the highway (those highway holes are now gone!), vaulting the club into the rightful position as one of the best mountain golf experiences in Canada. A new clubhouse, driving range, and substantial changes to the existing Les Furber-designed nine, make the Crowsnest Pass Golf & Country an 18-hole retreat with few equals.  

Crowsnest Pass
Photographer
Andrew Penner

And, for mountain bikers, the Crowsnest Pass is fast-becoming one of the go-to stops for two-wheeled enthusiasts. The Pass Powderkeg Ski Area, a two-lift gem in winter, is webbed with awesome single-track – Berma-Grin and Buck 50 are killer good! - that rivals any mountain resort riding you'll find in the west. And epic cross-country rides like Big Bear – the descent is about as wild and riveting as anything I've ever done – make the Crowsnest Pass a favourite for intermediate and advanced riders.  

But newbie riders can also find a home in the area. Karey Watanabe, owner of Sweet Riders, has found a niche when it comes to easing beginners into the sport. (Because, yes, it takes a while before you are ready to “shred the gnar” on the revered black trails in the region.)

“Mountain biking in the Crowsnest, just as it is at any mountain destination, can be intimidating,” says Watanabe. “However, we offer beginner clinics, tours, and guiding services to make sure your experience on the trails is positive. And people travel from far and wide to experience the riding here. It's that good!”

Crowsnest Pass
Photographer
Andrew Penner

Another thing people come far and wide to experience is the mining history. A great place to start is the award-winning Frank Slide Interpretive Centre. Located right at the edge of the debris field on the north side of the highway, the centre documents the infamous 1903 slide (over 90 people were buried in the rubble) and the region's captivating mining history. The Hillcrest Mine Disaster Cemetery and Memorial site is another interesting place to stop. The site documents the horrific Hillcrest Mine Disaster where 189 miners lost their lives in a gas explosion in 1914. You can even walk in the footsteps of the miners by taking a tour of the Bellevue Underground Mine.

While coal mining is still a mainstay in the Crowsnest Pass, the area is definitely ripe for exploration and outdoor adventure. Regardless of which activities you choose – and regardless of how your legs and lungs perform – the positive vibes will flow.     

When You Go

Uncover all of the above #BucketlistAB experiences to be had in one of most gorgeous areas.

Grab an awesome itinerary and start your Southern Alberta adventure.

Check out the Crowsnest Pass website to get planning your trip.

Hit the road to explore Alberta's South along Highway 3 this month and be sure to share your discoveries on social media with the hashtag #BucketlistAB and #ExploreAlberta. You could be featured on our social media channels. Check out www.BucketlistAB.ca for itineraries, stories and lots more video on Southern Albertan experiences.

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