Part of our time in the badlands was spent at the Atlas Mine. While looking for a ghost town, which evidently we could not find we came across the atlas mine and after getting out of the car we signed up for a ghost tour of the mine that started at 7pm that night. We returned a bit before 7 pm after doing a bit of hiking and having lunch back at camp.
Here is some background about mining in the Badlands. Coal in the badlands was formed horizontally making it much easier and safer to mine. The coal is sub-bituminous; basically meaning it is an “immature” grade of coal and has had less time to produce methane gas, which is a big problem in other mines around the world. It was great coal for heating homes and cooking food. The mines brought in people from all over the North America and Europe. The Atlas Coal Mine closed about 20 years ago.
The Atlas Mine is a national historic site and tours are offered from May to mid October. There are a few different guided tours offered for very reasonable rates. The Tunnel Tour is $12 per person and takes you into one of the mine tunnels. The tipple tour is $9 per person and offers a look inside Canada’s last wooden tipple. There is a Train Tour in a Coal car which is also $9 per person and is above ground. The tour we chose was the Ghost Tour which was $9 per person and started at 7 pm in the evening. The Ghost tour is only available from late June to early September. For those who want to explore the site themselves you may do so for $7 a person. All guided tours include site admission.
The ghost tour was awesome. I won’t get into many details because you have to see it for yourself but if you’re looking for a tour that’s a bit different, complete with some ghost stories, then this is for you. Our guide Matt was great and since we were hanging around looking at things after the tour we got to see a bit more as a bonus. I highly recommend this to anyone who is in the badlands area, for its history, stories and its general look into the history of a coal miner.
Here are a few snaps I took on the tour, it was funny but after hearing some of the stories Matt mentioned on the tour I started taking pictures of windows just incase a spirit was lurking in the shadows. The contact info for the mine can be found below the pictures. Enjoy!
Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site
Box 521, 110 Century Dr.
East Coulee, Alberta, Canada
Phone (403) firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax (403) 822-2225