Outdoor Report: View the Frank Slide from the top of Turtle Mountain

If you’ve ever drive down to Crowsnest Pass before you’ll have noticed — it’s hard to miss — that huge, Frank Slide.

82M tonnes of rock came pouring down off Turtle Mountain back in 1903

Paul Karchut outlines a hike to the top of Turtle Mountain in the Crowsnest Pass, where you'll find a stunning view of the Frank Slide. 1:32

If you've ever driven down to Crowsnest Pass before you'll have noticed — it's hard to miss — that huge, Frank Slide.

We're talking about 82 million tonnes of rock that came pouring down off Turtle Mountain back in 1903.

It's the deadliest rockslide in Canadian history. Between 70 and 90 of the town's residents were killed, with many remaining buried in the rubble.

But there's a great hike that takes you up to the top of the Frank Slide, as well, for a bit of a different perspective.

It starts in Blairmore, Alta. — about 220 kilometres southwest of Calgary — which is part of Crowsnest Pass.

It can be a bit tricky to find so you might want to pop in to the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre and ask staff there for the tricks of finding the trailhead.

It's a short but steep hike to the top of Turtle Mountain overlooking the Crowsnest Pass, which offers a unique view of the Frank Slide. (Paul Karchut/CBC)

Once you do get onto it, it's a pretty quick hike, just over three kilometres.

But it's a stiff climb.

It's going to take you from Blairmore, all the way up to the top of Turtle Mountain, and give you a great perspective of that massive slide below you.

Now, we're talking about a 750-metre climb to get up to this peak but it means you've got a commanding view of not just the slide, but also Crowsnest Mountain off in the distance and Chief Mountain, which is off in Montana.

You can even see over into the foothills and into the prairie.

It's a beautiful spot and one of the great things about this hike is you're really never that far from civilization.

And after all said and done — it should take about an hour for really fast people, or maybe three hours if you're really taking your time — you wind up back in Blairmore, which means there's ice cream waiting for you at the end of all this.

And that really wouldn't be a bad thing given all the hot weather we've been having this summer.


With files from The Calgary Eyeopener

About the Author

Paul Karchut

CBC Calgary

Paul has been with CBC since 2005. He's the director of the Calgary Eyeopener and CBC Calgary's ski and outdoor lifestyle reporter.