Built in the crater of an extinct volcano in the Monashee Range, seven miles north of the United States border in Washington State, Rossland is a mountain city to top all mountain cities, proclaiming itself the Mountain Bike Capital of Canada.
In the spring of 1890, Joe Morris staked the first major claim on Red Mountain, which saw Rossland come into existence as a booming mining town, incorporated as a city in 1897.
Today, Rossland is a quiet residential town dependent for its livelihood on the giant Cominco operations at Trail, although there has recently been a resurgence of local mining activity. Rossland has inevitably become a sub-suburb of neighbouring Trail, but still attracts visitors with its historical museum, the Le Roi Gold Mine Tour and all manner of outdoor activities and sightseeing excursions.
Rossland has experienced a second boom recently. This time the gold is not in Red Mountain, but on it. Red Mountain Ski Area is one of the more challenging ski areas in British Columbia.
In the summer, the colourful turn-of-the-century main street of Rossland bustles with hikers bound for alpine lakes, mountain bikers en route to explore the numerous trails, or visitors seeking scenery.
Location: Rossland is located at the junction of Highway 22 and Highway 3B in the southern Kootenays, 6 miles (10 km) west of Trail and 6 miles (10 km) north of the US/Canada border on Highway 22 (US Highway 25).
The Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre preserves and dynamically presents the heritage of Rossland and area. Major exhibitions include the Cominco Wing, West Kootenay Power Wing, Ski Wing, Superintendent’s Office, Assay Office, Geology Building, Train Caboose and Station, and much more! Rossland Museum is located at the junction of Highways 3B and 22 in Rossland.
Walking Tour: Take a self-guided Walking Tour of Rossland’s heritage buildings, among them the Miner’s Hall (1898), the only Miner’s Union Hall existing in Canada, the Bank of Montreal designed by Francis Rattenbury, and the Rossland Courthouse (1901), which charatierizes late Victorian architecture with its symmetrical corner towers, highly pitched roof and almost fortress-like appearance.
Golf: The Redstone Alpine Golf Resort, formerly the Rossland Course, is a new signature Les Furber design championship course expected to rank within the top 10 resort courses in Canada. Situated in a beautiful alpine valley, and part of the charming town of Rossland, the hilly course has been designed to deliver a much sought-after mountain golf experience. The Rossland Trail Country Club, just outside the beautiful alpine community of Rossland offers the 18-hole Birchbank Course, located on the banks of the Columbia River with spectacular views of the Selkirk and Monashee Mountains. The mature, tree-lined course is loaded with holes that seem like they’ve been there forever. Opened in 1967, this championship course promises and delivers a true test of golf. Known for its large manicured greens and contoured fairways, this well maintained course offers plenty of length and some thrilling elevation changes.
Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Relive the days when Rossland was in the grip of ‘gold fever’ and the city was filled with miners dreaming of making their fortunes. Gold Fever Follies, a live musical theater show is held in the restored 1898 Miners Hall during July and August.
Don’t miss the wild ‘n crazy Rossland Winter Carnival which takes place annually on the last weekend in January. The century-old winter festival, where crazy events outnumber the sane ones, and even the sane ones have crazy elements is a ‘must see.’
Unsurpassed snow conditions and ideal ski slopes have made Rossland a winter mecca for skiers. Rossland boasts the Olympic renowned Red Mountain Ski Club, site of the 1968 World Cup Races, the first ever to be held Canada, and a world-class ski facility offering outstanding alpine and cross-country skiing.
Canadian and world skiing champions Nancy Greene and Kerrin Lee Gartner stepped onto their first skis on the slopes of Red Resort. Red and adjoining Granite Mountain now attract thousands of winter sports enthusiasts from around the world.
Located in the Monashee Mountains just north of Rossland, the 20,000-acre Nancy Greene Provincial Park is noted for its alpine and Nordic skiing, especially Red Mountain. During summer and fall, hikers can take advantage of the more than 12 miles of low-elevation trails to view mule deer, mountain goats and black bear.
Mountain Biking: A battle for bragging rights is being waged among mountain bikers. Bikers from around Whistler say they’ve got the best riding in the province, at which the folks from the Okanagan just laugh. But the riders in Rossland sit back and smile, because they know that Rossland has the best trails, not only in BC, but also in all of Canada! A number of descents offer as much as 3500 feet in the space of 6 km. There are also gently challenging single track rides, perfect for eager learners and the adventurous. The Dewdney Trail, with its blisteringly fast 3,000-foot descent, is the trail that put Rossland on the mountain biking map, and is still one of the best rides around. The start of the trail is up the Old Cascade Highway (a fair ride in and of itself, continuing south from Rossland to the US border and beyond), off Hwy 22 just west of the junction of Hwys 22 and 3B. The climb north is about 12.5 km before turning left onto the Dewdney downhill, which takes you down. The ride is about 18 km all totalled.
A legacy of wagon roads, railgrades and logging roads has blessed Rossland with an expansive network of single track and backcountry mountain bike trails for all levels of riders, earning the distinction of Canada’s Mountain Biking Capital. Rossland offers everything from sick drop-ins to rail beds and family trails, catering to newcomers experiencing their first-time high, as well as hard-core muddy madmen pushing the envelope of extreme competition.
Rossland is renowned for its trail system & laid back lifestyle; RossFest is a celebration of mountain culture, history, cuisine, art, and people.
Dewdney Trail: Ride or hike the historic Dewdney Trail that ran between Hope, at the east end of the Fraser Valley, and Wildhorse, near Creston in the East Kootenays. Although much of the original 4 foot wide pathway that Edgar Dewdney blazed in 1865 has been neglected, its still possible to hike portions of it that have been maintained between Christina Lake and Rossland. Dewdney was a young civilian surveyor who was originally hired by Colonial-Governor Douglas in 1860 to build a trail between Hope and the gold fields in the Okanagan Valley region. With the discovery of gold in Stud Horse Creek (later named Wild Horse Creek), Dewdney was asked to extend the trail east to Wildhorse in 1865. With help from the weather, he was able to complete the route from the Kootenays in five months. Dewdney’s legacy can be touched in several places and by several modes of exploration. In addition to hiking, you can drive a section of the trail as Hwy 3B passes through Trail, which takes its name from the Dewdney Trail.
All of the mountain biking trails are also great hiking trails. The Railgrade at the south end of town makes for an easy stroll – look closely for the old advertisements painted on the rocks; Whiskey – 25c. For a more vigorous walk with an impressive view of town, head up Monte Christo/Kootenay Columbia (two Hours return). The best day hike is Plewman Ridge, and beyond to Old Glory, the highest peak in the Monashee Mountains (6-8 hours return).
Rossland is home to the British Columbia Ski Hall of Fame.
East of Rossland is Trail, steeped in rich mining history and one of BC’s important economic centres in the industrial heart of the Kootenays. The town takes its name from the Dewdney Trail, and was earlier known as Trail Creek.
Circle Tour: See the best of the area on The Okanagan and BC Rockies Circle Tour. Travel the sunny interior of British Columbia, north through the Okanagan to Sicamous, following Highway 1 into the mountains of the BC Rockies. From Golden, head south through the Columbia Valley to Creston, and west through Boundary Country and the Southern Okanagan to complete the loop.
Circle Tours in British Columbia.