Lifestyle Guide

Guide: 10 spooky Alberta ghost towns that you have to check out

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Ruin gazers, a term to describe people who frequent deserted settlements, find the beauty and charm in empty streets, collapsing buildings, and dusty windowsills. Although we wouldn’t consider ourselves abandoned community aficionados, our fascination with run-down convenience stores and quiet schoolyards runs deep. How could it not?! In places like these, it’s almost impossible not to be inspired, or at the very least, a little bit afraid – and who doesn’t enjoy the occasional scare?! This summer, check out of the big city and join us in letting your mind run wild in one of these Alberta ghost towns.

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

WAYNE

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. 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

BANKHEAD

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

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

ORION

The town of Orion, like many others that were established on wide-open Alberta land, had several years 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

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NORDEGG

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

ROWLEY

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 1970’s it had kind of 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

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

CONQUERVILLE

Conqureville was once a town 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 luster and ultimately its residents, but we are sure that now, this place is incredibly ghostly.

Where: Range Rd 100, Maleb, AB
Distance from Calgary: 336 km

NEMISKAM

Finding this place is a bit of a challenge, but trust us, it’ll all be worth it. Because of it’s misunderstood name, and it’s 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

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.