The spectacle of The Pass is the incredible rock slide that eerily covers both sides of Highway 3 as you head west into BC. Like other mining communities, Frank started off with all fanfare it deserved, considering this town would soon be dubbed the “Pittsburgh of Canada”, residents felt nothing but pride for their 600 person town. Prosperity was at the forefront. However, on April 29, 1903 at 4:10am in the morning, the small mining town of Frank would become victim of one of the worst rock slides in history. Destroying the eastern portion of the town within two seconds and leaving nothing but boulders and rubble in its 3 kilometer, 30 meter deep death path, including the two kilometer section of the CPR railway.
While the town never rebuilt in the same location, the railway reopened within 3 weeks and the mining operations that were damaged during the slide were reopened after a few months.
The historical route from Frank connects to Hillcrest via a gravel road. I highly recommend taking this route instead of Highway 3 for a couple of reasons, the view is unparalleled. Within minutes you are driving amongst the boulders of the slide and if you are an avid fisherman, the Crowsnest River awaits under the breathtaking vista of Turtle Mountain.
There may be little remaining of this turn-of-the-century town, but the history is unequalled.
Categories: Alberta Road Trips