Guest Authors: Shannon & Tyson Head (@restlesscrusade)
This trail has been on our minds for a few years now. The full length consists of a 13 km historic railway line from Rosebery to Three Forks in the West Kootenays. We were about to hike a section a couple years back before when we realized the cable car was removed and needed to be fixed. Fast forward a bit and the day finally came. We were in the area, and the trail was in perfect condition with the newly reconstructed cable car. We parked just off Highway 31A turnoff towards Sandon (Three Forks) in an upper parking lot then walked down the road around 30 metres before reaching a large wooden gateway and the start of the trailhead.
From here we ducked into the large cedar trees and quickly came to Seaton creek where we crossed the two small aluminum bridges that connected the trail on the opposite side. Then the path took a few switchbacks dropping down closer to the creek to an easier railway grade hike that led you through towering cedar and fir trees.
You could see the blasted rocks that was required to clear space for the trains so many years ago. The rich mineral content revealed its various colours of reds over the years. Ground foliage was full of devil’s club, ferns and other low growing shrubs. This continued along the river, in the shade, for nearly 3 kilometres.
From here some of the mining area’s history started to reveal itself. We came across the site of the Alamo siding and mine location. Hosting 200 people back in 1904, it even had its own generator for electricity. Some 50 years later a flood demolished the railway line leaving the site abandoned from then on. All that’s left now are old pieces of mining, generation equipment and concrete that still stand while the majority of the site’s structures have burned down.
A short distance from here was what the girls had been eagerly awaiting, the cable car! They were a little skeptical of it at first but once they got loaded up and were on their way they had huge smiles on their faces. Each one wanted to keep riding it back and forth from either side of the river.
Our time was limited so we decided to turn around and go back the way we came, but a further 6 kilometres would take you down to the peaceful community of New Denver.
We had a quick stop back in the sun near the Alamo site where we ate our lunch at a picnic table before returning back to our vehicle.
Next time we are in the area we hope to bring our bikes as this would be an incredibly scenic ride with a constant downhill grade. And the bonus is that the cable car is big enough to put your bikes alongside.
If you are in the area this is definitely worth your time in checking out.