No matter the time of year, exploring abandoned (and possibly haunted) ghost towns around Alberta makes for a solid adventure. From mining towns and mountain settlements to a town sitting at the bottom of a lake, this province is filled with historical hamlets from a time gone by. Here are 15 ghoulish ghost towns that you can visit in Alberta.

BULWARK


Bulwark is a town about an hour and a half away from Red Deer, Alberta. Established in 1922, this small community was plagued by harsh weather conditions. Turns out, years of dust storms and brutal blizzards were far too much for the residents who eventually abandoned their shops, cemetery, schools, and homes in the hopes of finding a better place to raise their families. It’s certainly no Roanoke, but it’s worth seeing for yourself!

Where: Directions here
Distance from Calgary: 311 km
Distance from Edmonton: 256 km

FRANK

 

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Unlike the others on this list, Frank, Alberta does not have old buildings or abandoned grocery stores that you can explore. Here, it’s actually what you can’t see that’ll give you the heebie-jeebies. In 1903 Frank, which was located at the base of Turtle Mountain, was on its way to becoming a prosperous mining town – despite the Blackfoot and Ktunaxa people warning them to move the town out from underneath a landslide-prone zone. They didn’t listen and sadly it wasn’t long before a rockslide sent thousands of boulders tumbling over most of the town – taking the lives of many. Even now, tourists can visit the site -which is unchanged, unrecognizable and unsettling.

Where: Frank, Alberta Directions here
Distance from Calgary: 219 km
Distance from Edmonton: 514 km

BANKHEAD

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Bankhead was once a company-driven town. Established in 1903, the folks who lived here would provide CPR locomotives with their coal and would supply the Banff Springs Hotel with their boilers. They did fairly well for themselves, until 1922 when CPR pulled their deal due to a disagreement with the workers. This was the beginning of the end for the community, as many had left to find work in nearby towns. Now – years later, the town has been left vacant and crumbling.

Where: Bankhead Banff National Park Bankhead, Alberta 
Distance from Calgary: 126 km
Distance from Edmonton: 411 km

MINNEWANKA LANDING

To get to this one, you’ll have to do a little more than just start your engines. We hope you’ve got some scuba gear because right underneath the beautiful body of water known as Lake Minnewanka, divers will find the untouched remains of the flooded, lake-side summer village, Minnewanka Landing. The town was taken under in 1941 after a newly built reservoir raised the surrounding water by 98 feet.

Where: Improvement District No. 9, AB
Distance from Calgary: 93 km
Distance from Edmonton: 290 km

DOROTHY

A town that never exceeded 100 people, Dorothy is considered by many to be one of the original pioneering communities. Located about 20 km from Drumheller, this town is not completely empty – but it’s well on its way. Despite having a functioning community centre and a few tiny businesses, those travelling through the area can see dozens of crumbling homes and sheds.

Where: Directions here
Distance from Calgary: 149 km
Distance from Edmonton: 316 km

ORION

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The town of Orion, like many others that were established on wide-open Alberta land, was consecutively hit by windstorms, grasshoppers, and drought. All but 7 residents have since fled the town, leaving dozens of unoccupied 20th-century buildings and an eerie silence.

Where: Directions here
Distance from Calgary: 368 km
Distance from Edmonton: 18.2 km

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MOUNTAIN PARK

 

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Located west of Edmonton, Mountain Park is yet another mining town that met its end shortly after the market crashed. At it’s peak the town was home to over 1,500 residents however, now all that’s left is a cemetery (which has been restored), some buildings and some train tracks.

Where: Directions here
Distance from Calgary: 23.2
Distance from Edmonton: 318 km

THE NORDEGG MINING TOWN

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The similarity to Nordegg and that town in the spooky coal miner episode of Scooby-Doo is uncanny. After shutting down their money-making facility in 1955, nearly everyone had kind of just picked up and left. Now all that remains are old forgotten vehicles, run-down buildings, carts, and fences.

Where: Directions here
Distance from Calgary: 305 km
Distance from Edmonton: 302 km

ROWLEY

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Rowley used to be a pretty lively place with a population of about 500 people. Unfortunately, as the times changed and the train into town became less travelled by, Rowley met its end. By the 1970s it had been run into the ground, but thankfully for 12 residents who chose to stay, and restore the old abandoned buildings, it has since become a popular tourist destination.

Where: Directions here
Distance from Calgary: 171 km
Distance from Edmonton: 251 km

MERCOAL

 

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Since closing the mines in the town of Mercoal, nearly all residents have left. Established back in the ’20s, Mercoal once had a population of over 1,000 people. Now, with only a dozen people left, and the homes and buildings of who and what was, remain untouched, quiet, and eerie.

Where: Directions here
Distance from Calgary: 422 km
Distance from Edmonton: 278 km

CONQUERVILLE

Ghost towns Alberta
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Conqureville was once a town that was on what people used to call “prime agriculture land.” Its high school was described as the ‘heart of the community,’ but it was closed in the ’80s due to poor attendance and then burnt down. Unfortunately, we’re not quite sure if this is why the town lost its lustre and ultimately its residents, but we are sure that now, this place is incredibly ghostly.

Where: Range Road 100, Maleb, AB
Distance from Calgary: 336 km
Distance from Edmonton: 569 km

ETZIKOM


The most unusual ghost town on this list is by far Etzikome. Though it does have a thriving windmill museum – that’s really all that’s there, which is incredibly creepy made only more eerie by why no one remains. You see, it actually used to have quite a few residents – sadly, however, the 1918 influenza epidemic killed many of those who lived there. Everyone else? Well, they were driven out by extreme weather and a grasshopper plague. Sad – but true.

Where: Directions here
Distance from Calgary: 349 km
Distance from Edmonton: 601 km

NEMISKAM

 

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Finding this place is a bit of a challenge, but trust us, it’ll all be worth it. Because of its misunderstood name and its out-of-the-way location – the town became less than desirable to its residents. Now, all that’s left are the forgotten grain elevators and empty buildings.

Where: Directions here
Distance from Calgary: 341 km
Distance from Edmonton: 590 km

WAYNE

 

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Hidden in the Alberta Badlands, adventure seekers will find Wayne, a once-thriving community, occupied by over 3,000 people. Wayne was a mining town, but when the job was done residents had gone looking for work elsewhere, leaving the entire town as is and left for just a few to tend its iconic bar the Rosedeer Saloon. This place is incredibly well-preserved and serves as a snapshot of the old west and a tell-all about what life was like in the prairies years ago.

Where: 555 Jewel Street. Rosedale Station, AB
Distance from Calgary: 147.3 km
Distance from Edmonton: 295 km

BRANT

 

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Though residents had high hopes for Brant in the early 1900s, all that remains are various buildings and a gloomy overhang. At one time, Brant actually had quite a few residents (most of which were American settlers), but after one extremely dry season, many who lived there were forced to leave for greener pastures – abandoning it almost completely.

Where: Directions here
Distance from Calgary: 95.3 km
Distance from Edmonton: 389 km

So, there you have it guys. The 10 ghost towns in Alberta that we’d recommend you check out. Don’t forget to bring a camera, comfortable footwear, and most importantly, your imagination.