Coalmont is located 18.5 km north-west of Princeton
and 8 km (5 miles) south of Tulameen
on Coalmont Road.
Coalmont is a small, unincorporated community located in the Tulameen
River Valley made up of a population of around one hundred people.
Most of the community's heritage buildings sit on Coalmont Road
with the historic Coalmont Hotel, being the most prominent and on
Parrish Avenue the Coalmont General Store, now a private residence,
and a couple of houses from the early 1900's.
If you have time for a visit, make sure to see the historic Coalmont
Hotel for some refreshments and local hospitality. Once inside the
hotel's pub, you can find a number of old photographs that depict
mining life in Coalmont and the nearby ghost town of Blakeburn during
the early 1900's.
Coal and Coke Company
Coalmont owes its beginning to coal first being discovered in the
area in 1858 and the establishment of the town by Columbia Coal
and Coke Company in 1910, later to become Coalmont Collieries in
1913. After WWI the company was headed up in 1917 by two executives
from a Vancouver meat packing business, P. Burns & Co. - William
John ("Blake") Wilson known by the workers as 'Warden
Joe' - and Patrick Burns.
The two men then established another mine and townsite called Blakeburn
located 8 km (5 miles) south-west of Coalmont. The two mines operated
together with a 9,322 metres (30,585 feet) aerial tramway built
for moving ore between Blakeburn and Coalmont. The Blakeburn Mine
operated successfully with a well-established community spirit up
until August 13, 1930, when there was a violent explosion in the
No. 4 mine killing 45 miners, one of British Columbia's worst mining
You can reach the old, now- abandoned ghost town of Blakeburn by
taking Parrish Road through Coalmont then turning south to Bettes
Avenue and then cross over the Tulameen River by bridge to Granite
Creek Road. The road then travels through another ghost town of
Granite Creek, 1 km (.6 mile) south of Coalmont then turns onto
Blakeburn Road. Once at Blakeburn there is little left of the mining
site or town except for some crumbling concrete foundations of the
old steam plant plus some timbers decaying on the ground floor,
intermixed with bushes.
Cairns and Old Mining Equipment
Also situated on Coalmont Road towards Princeton are a number of
historic cairns and memorials, old mining equipment and a couple
of comical signs welcoming you to the small village. Here you can
find the entrance, information kiosk and parking area for the Trans-Canada
The Trans-Canada Trail goes through Coalmont travelling north to
Tulameen and south to Princeton using an old right-of-way once shared
by the CPR's Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) and Victoria, Vancouver
and Eastern (VV&E) Railway. In order to power their steam locomotives,
The Kettle Valley Railway eventually became Coalmont's biggest and
most important purchaser of coal, then the CPR changed to different
suppliers from Vancouver Island in 1940, creating the demise of
The Trans-Canada Trail route, part of the old KVR Princeton Subdivision,
follows the Tulameen River and offers the user beautiful views going
either way especially south past the Vermilion Bluffs. This section
of the Trans-Canada Trail (KVR) is well-maintained and a pleasure
to use thanks to the help of the Vermilion Trails Society. The Trans-Canada
Trail (KVR) to the north of Coalmont takes you to the small community
of Tulameen where there is a campground at Otter Lake Provincial
There are a number of backcountry gravel roads that lead out of
Coalmont with some taking you to various fishing lakes in the area.
Some of the local favourites include going up high into where you
can find 4x4 off-roading, fishing and hunting opportunities, especially
at Lodestone Lake and Wells Lake situated at 1,590 metres (5,217
feet). These mile-high lakes contain some lovely rainbows and have
some rustic campgrounds available.
The Coalmont area also features great snowmobiling trails, especially
in the Lodestone Snowmobile Trails. You can find access to the area
about 1 km (6 miles) north-east of Blakeburn. Once on the trails
there are some that go into Mount Jackson near Tulameen and Tanglewood
Hill or Lodestone Lake Recreation Site in the south-west.
For rustic campgrounds there are old Forest Recreation sites located
at Granite Creek, Blakeburn plus, if you have a 4x4, at Lodestone
Lake. Lodestone Lake FSR features a great staging area for either
hiking or horseback riding the Hope Brigade Trail.