The District of Sparwood is located 29 km (18 miles) north-east
of Fernie and 19 km (12 miles) east of
the British Columbia/Alberta border crossing along the Crowsnest
Pass. The area surrounding Sparwood is called the Elk Valley and
contains some of the richest coalmines in the world.
Sparwood is a small community made up with a small downtown mainly
used as a service hub supplying residences for the mineworkers.
Various coal-mining operations operate in the Elk Valley and Sparwood
helps service the necessary work force.
Sparwood has a few accommodation places if you want to visit overnight.
There are a couple of motels plus some guest houses located right
in town. If you prefer RV camping there is the Mountain Shadows
Campground conveniently located near Hwy 3 and the Sparwood Golf
If you like big equipment you have to see this. Sparwood is home
of the world's largest dump truck - the Terex Titan. This truck
was used to haul coal in the mines around Sparwood. The Terex Titan
is on display at the beginning of town at the Visitor Information
Centre just off Hwy 3.
The Elk River that flows past Sparwood comes from the north and
the small mining town of Elkford 35 km
(22 miles) away. Take Hwy 43 through the beautiful Elk Valley. Once
you're at Elkford, you can even access farther up into the Elk Valley,
eventually coming to the Elk Lakes Provincial Park.
There is a nice trip from Elkford that goes towards Alberta following
the Fording River. This is where you'll experience some awesome
Rocky Mountain views. The area is also rich in wildlife so be 'animal
aware' when walking about.
When you drive from Sparwood towards Alberta east on Hwy 3, the
highway will be following the Crowsnest River towards the Crowsnest
Pass. Just before you reach the summit, you will come to a junction
that goes south up the Michel Creek towards Corbin.
If you take this backcountry road and continue south from Corbin,
this eventually arrives at the Flathead River. This is one of British
Columbia's more untouched regions and you will be able to experience
some incredible snowmobiling, hunting and fishing opportunities.
Kishinena Provincial Park
The backcountry road follows the Flathead River eventually to Flathead
- an abandoned Canada/USA border crossing. At this point you can
take a First Nations ancestral trail or 4x4 roads into the west
side of Akamina Kishinena Provincial Park.
Lakes National Park
Otherwise to view the Akamina Kishinena, the easiest route and the
preferred access is through Waterton Lakes National Park in south-west
Alberta. Once at Waterton there is a paved road that goes to the
start of a 1.5 km (1 mile) uphill walk into Akamina Pass, the narrowest
point in the Rocky Mountains.
Just remember if you are enjoying the countryside around Sparwood,
please remember this is Bear Country as is the rest of BC. Try to
avoid the rivers during heavy salmon spawning times unless you feel
comfortable with bears around. There is also the possibilities of
encounters with wolves or cougars so please play it safe and practice
good outdoor wildlife procedures.