Crow's Nest Pass


After passing Summit Lake the railway descends the valley of Michel Creek, and threads its way along the steep side of the mountain. The comes the "Loop" where the line makes some amazing turns and twists, doubling back to within a stone's throw of itself at a lower level. Three miles are covered to make this distance of less than 200 feet. As the train swings of to the west again, huge rugged mountains appear on either side, and coal outcroppings, also. Michel is the junction of Michel Creek with the Elk river, which we follow to Fernie.

Fernie (population 4500) is a thriving mining town with an output of about a million tons per annum. It has some seven hundred coke ovens in operation. This town is the wholesale distributing and outfitting centre for a large district and one of the more important points on the splendid government highway from Alberta to the international boundary.

The line passes through thickly timbered woods, fir, tamarack, and cedar growing in large quantities. After passing Morrisey Creek, we cross the Elk river on its way to join the Kootenay River. The Elk River Canyon, extending several miles and witnessing a 600 foot water drop, is wild and beautiful. Tobacco Plains, to the south, is a fertile country which is attracting settlement.

From Caithness a short branch extends to Waldo (10 miles), Colvalli is the junction point for the Lake Windermere branch to Golden, on the main line.

At Wardner the line crosses the Kootenay River by a magnificent truss bridge with a swing span to allow the passage of river steamers plying on the Kootenay. The river, which is here nearly 800 feet wide, flows south into Idaho but returns to pour its flood into Kootenay Lake. For a while we follow its west bank, past Sand Creek Range, the Steeples, Mount Fisher and Saunders Peak.

Cranbrook (population 4000) is charmingly situated in a hill-girt valley, surrounded by a dense forest growth, and over looked by the white tipped peak of Baker. It is the centre of trade for the mining interests of the locality as well as for the rapidly growing ranching industry. In the lateral valleys are fine agricultural lands that are rapidly attracting settlers. Cranbrook is the principal lumber manufacturing point of East Kootenay.

From Cranbrook a branch runs to Marysville and Kimberley (19 miles). At Kimberley is the Sullivan Mine, said to be the greatest known deposit of silver-lead-zinc in the world, with $350,000,000 worth of ore blocked out. At Wycliffe is one of the largest lumbering enterprises in interior British Columbia.

Westward from Cranbrook