Discover Crowsnest Pass Day 14: What makes Crowsnest Pass special? 

Join Uplift Adventures as we hike along the Miner’s Path to discover five things that make the Crowsnest Pass special.

There are certainly more things than these five items that make Crowsnest Pass special, but we have to start somewhere! Right? We hope you enjoy our list.

1. The Lewis Thrust

The Lewis Thrust is part of how the mountains were formed in Waterton, the Crowsnest Pass and other parts of the South Canadian Rockies. During the process of mountain building, the old sedimentary rock was pushed up over top the younger sedimentary rock. We have some of the oldest exposed sedimentary rock visible in the South Canadian Rockies. It is very, very old rock! You can see this sedimentary Lewis Thrust in Crowsnest Mountain. That is part of what makes Crowsnest Pass so special!

2. Volcanic Rock

The second thing that makes Crowsnest Pass special is that it has volcanic rock! Finding this in the Canadian Rockies is not common.  A lot of geology students will come to the Crowsnest Pass to see the rocks here because they are so fascinating. There is even volcanic rocks along the Miner’s Path. We have a layer of what’s called the Crowsnest Volcanics – you mostly see it along Willoughby Ridge, Wedge Mountain, and Crowsnest Mountain. The volcanoes were here 100 million years ago. Now, we don’t even see the evidence of volcano craters any more, the only evidence of volcanoes here are the volcanic rocks.

3. Biodiversity

The Crowsnest Pass and Waterton region is very narrow in width compared to the rest of the Canadian Rockies. Banff and Jasper are a much wider width east to west – this has to do with how many major thrusts there were when the mountains formed. In the south there is only one major thrust, which creates a higher degree of biodiversity. For example with plants, they evolve and mix with different types of seeds. In the Crowsnest Pass, the prairies are to the east, the Pacific to west, and we have montane and alpine environments. Because of the narrow width of these mountain ranges, there are many different seeds collecting here and mingling contributing to a higher diversity rate. This is why there are a lot of rare species and species at risk in the South Canadian Rockies. 

4. The Headwaters

Crowsnest Pass is located at the headwaters. The water here comes right out of the mountains and flows into the streams. The Alberta/BC border is the Great Divide. On the east side of the divide, the water flows to the east into Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and water on the west side of the divide flows west into the Pacific Ocean. There are no glaciers left in the Crowsnest Pass so all of the water comes from springs from the mountains or precipitation. Being right at the headwaters makes the Crowsnest Pass very special. 

5. Caves

There is a lot of limestone in this area, and limestone is slightly basic and our rainwater is slightly acidic, so over millions of years this combination has resulted in an extensive caving system in the Crowsnest Pass. 

There are certainly many more than five things that make Crowsnest Pass special, but we hope you enjoyed these.

Thank you for joining a virtual tour of us venturing along Miner’s Path in Crowsnest Pass. We invite you to come join us on a hike, backpack, outdoor course, climb or more around Crowsnest Pass, Waterton Lakes National Park, or Castle Parks. We are your local and certified professional guides in the South Canadian Rockies.

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