The book, Hiking the Historic Crowsnest Pass, paints Greenhill Ridge as an absorbing hike through mining sites with buildings and equipment dating back several decades. Dinah and I had visited the lower Greenhill mining site in 2007 and now we returned to see the upper site as well as reach the summit. But things have changed since we were there. Fences and warning signs abound. No longer can anyone wander freely about the sites. The summit, however, is still accessible.
Sonny, Dinah and I parked on Grassy Mountain Road by the lower mining site and started up the road. Right away I could see things had changed. Most of the buildings Dinah and I visited before were now surrounded by a high fence topped with barbwire. Continuing up Grassy Mountain Road, we soon reached a side road that passes the hoist house.
I was hoping we could use the power line right-of-way to gain the ridge on our right, but when we came to it, it was fenced off, No Trespassing signs posted. We continued along the road until we came to a rough side road, possibly a logging road as it took us to a cutblock. The road ends but after hiking up the wooded slope a short distance we hit an overgrown mining road that took us to a ridge crest road. We followed it to the summit. Trees prevented panoramic views, but the scenery was still worthwhile.
Heading back, we decided to take the crest trail as far as we could. As we expected, we ran into a fence marked with No Trespassing signs. Hoping for an easy way down the west slope, we started down a road but after it ended we made our way back to the fence line and followed it down to the road leading to the hoist house, one building that isn’t fenced in. Mindful of the dangers of entering a derelict building, Sonny and I ventured inside to look at the enormous gears that drove ancient machinery. Then the three of us were back on the road, heading to our car.
More than just a hike, Greenhill Ridge is a glimpse into Crowsnest's mining past when iron and wood ruled, instead of plastic and silicon. It's difficult to imagine the hardships of life back then; we can only wonder how people managed without cell phones, TV remote controls, and Tim Horton’s coffee.
We passed the hoist house
We left the side road to take a road leading to a cutblock
The road climbs through trees
From a clearing we see Greenhill Ridge
After the road ends, we started up a cutblock
Hiking up the crest road
Expansive views south
Posing on the top of Greenhill Ridge
Bluff Mountain blocks views to the east
We descended the crest trail as far as a fence
Sonny feigns an attempt to trespass
Subsidence holes like this shallow one may be dangerous
Inside the hoist house
Machinery lies scattered in front of the dynamite house, one of the few buildings at the lower
mining site not fenced in.