Historic coal mine train in the ghost town of Bankhead with Mt. Rundle in the background located in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Where in the World? Bankhead Ghost Town 

By Meaghan Archer

AMA Insider’s Summer 2024 issue featured Bankhead Ghost Town in the Where in the World section at the back of the magazine.  

Bankhead is a small town near Banff—in the Rocky Mountains. The town, abandoned nearly a century ago, was founded in 1903 amidst the coal mining boom that swept across Alberta. Less than 1,000 people made up the town’s population in its heyday. They enjoyed modern luxuries, like electricity, sewage system and municipal water supplies—amenities that neighbouring towns like Banff and Canmore did not yet have.   

The coal mine was established by CP Rail to produce anthracite coal at the turn of the century. However, by 1922, the mine was shut down. Many homes and buildings were lifted and transported to Banff and other nearby towns, and the rest were abandoned. Today, buildings, stairways, and mine equipment remain untouched in Bankhead, making it just one of Alberta’s hundreds of ghost towns.  

Get the most out of your visit: 

Bankhead Historical Tour: Take a self-guided walking tour through time in the old town of Bankhead. Plaques are set up to provide information on buildings and artifacts as you tour through the old pathways of the mine.  

Take a Hike—you are, after all, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Bring a backpack packed with water and snacks as you follow the trail along Bankhead. Want a bigger challenge? Check out any of the day hikes in the Banff area—your options are endless.  

Stack up on Facts: Ready to learn more about the history of the Rocky Mountains? Check out the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff—AMA members save 10%on admission. Participate in a walking tour guided through the museum’s app, or meander around at your own pace, taking in the exhibits.  

Plan on staying for the day? AMA members can save up to $10 on an annual Parks Canada Discovery Pass when purchased in-centre.