A Tale of Two Ghost Towns – Kitsault & Alice Arm

The 1922 Alice Arm School
One of the apartment buildings in Kitsault.
Faded stop sign that is not really needed anymore as there is no traffic
Inside the Kitsault Shopping Centre
Access to the town is restricted and permission is needed to enter the town
An old paved road slowly getting moss covered
Inside one of the apartment living rooms
Our guests from the 2018 tour
The empty post office boxes
Swimming pool at Kitsault
The pool table ready for another game
The library still full of books
One of abandoned streets
Another street in Kitsault
A carport of one of the houses
Operating room in the hospital
Curling rocks waiting for another game
A couple of guests in the Maple Leaf Pub
Kitsault Movie Theatre
Squash Courts
Faded stop sign
Blue Heron Gallery in Alice Arm
The entrance to the Kitsault Mall
A faded swing set seat
Chests in the teacherage of the Alice Arm school

One our Ultimate Ghost Town Adventure we visit two of Northern BC’s most unique ghosts towns which are essentially neighbors.  The early 1900 silver mining town of Alice Arm was home to the Dolly Varden Mine and railway while Kitsault just across the inlet was home to the early 1980’s molydenum mine of Kitsault.  Alice Arm still buzzes with hoped of finding the next big silver “find” as exploration crews still scour the valley in the summer.  Other than that the town is largely abandoned with a scattering of locals who spend the summer in the town.

Across the inlet is the modern day ghost town of Kitsault.  It was a complete town that was built on the premise of strong moly prices for years, but after a couple of years the price of moly crashed and the mine was shut down.  The fully serviced town with shopping mall, swimming pool, basketball court, curling rink, hospital, pub, movie theater, apartments and houses sat vacant until 2005 when Viriginia business man bought the town sight unseen for 5.7 million dollars.  The town has still sat vacant other than caretakers and a summer crew of maintenance people.

Everything still remains relatively eerily as it was in 1982.  We are fortunate enough to be granted access to tour the town and also stay overnight in it.

We will be heading back to Kitsault and Alice Arm,  August 17-18, 2019 for any of you that are interested.  Here are some photos from last year.

Ghost Town of Alice Arm in the News

Global TV Spotlight on the Ghost Town of Alice Arm

This once thriving Silver Mining town Alice Arm of the early 1900’s is home to the Dolly Varden Silver Mine and a dozen or so cabins and homesteads.  It is also one of our stops on the UNBC Continuing Studies “Ghost Towns of Northwest BC” Tour.  Some of the highlights include the 1920 schoolhouse, bakery, haunted houses, old derelict vehicles, polish prison, seafood BBQ, waterfalls, salmon and bears.   Below the video are a few more photos of the town.  For a good read on the history of the town Darryl Muralt’s book “Steel Rails & Silver Dreams” provided an insightful look into the boom and bust times of this silver mining town and the tribulations of building a small railway in some of the most inhospitable conditions.  The town really is a unique pace to visit!

Alice Arm Main Street
Alice Arm Main Street Ghost towns of Northwest BC
Alice Arm Bakery Window
Alice Arm Bakery Window Ghost Towns of Northwest BC
Alice Arm Lodge Ghost Townd of Northwest BC
The Alice Arm Lodge
Alice arm Ghsot Towns of Northwest BC
More coat rack names at the Alice Arm School
Steel Rails and Silver Dreams book

 

 

 

 

The Guests of Ghost Towns 2016

On all of our trips our guest really make the trips. We have had so many interesting people participate in the tours and it has been great to get to know them over a short period. Many of them are repeat guests that are coming back for another tour the following year. We always like to to take a lot of photos on the tours for marketing purposes and many of these now include photos of guests participating in the tours. Here are some photos from last August’s Ghost Towns of Northwest BC Tour. This year’s tour is starting to fill up and will be another great tour to some of northwest BC’s most remote and inaccessible Ghost Towns.

2016 Ghost Town Guests posing in front of Kitsault sign
Exploring the inside of the Anyox Dam
2016 Ghost Town Guests in front of the Dorreen Store
2016 Ghost Town Guests going into the Alice Arm School
2016 Ghost Town Guests checking out the pilings at low tide
Enroute to Anyox to aboard the Raincoast Explorer
Checking out Ringbolts in Kitselas Canyon
Guests posing in the the Kitsault Maple Leaf Pub
Exploring Anyox Powerhouse
Guests Exploring Kitselas Historic Site
Guests waiting for the stores to open in the Kitsault Mall
Guests enjoying a meal at Alice Arm provided by the locals
Photographing in the Anyox Cemetery
Guests paying for a bottel of water at the Kitsault Grocery store
Guests waiting for the movie to start in the Kitsault Movie theatre

 

 

 

2017 Ghost Towns of Northwest BC

Investigate the abandoned Ghost Towns of Northwest BC

Ghost Towns of Northwest BC
August 20-26, 2017
Terrace, BC

Don’t Miss out on our most popular tour as it will fill up again in 2017.

Anyox Coke Plant

 

This 5 day northern BC adventure is a must for the Ghost Town aficionado. Exclusive access to some of British Columbia’s most restricted ghost town’s will be provided. The remoteness and history of these fabled towns will amaze even those without an interest in the eerie past of these boom and bust communities. You will visit the modern day Ghost town of Kitsualt which has sat vacant for over 30 years and the only thing missing are the people. We have been granted access to the remote and historic mining town of Anyox which has been referred to as the “The Town that got Lost”. The once thriving mining town had over 3000 residents in 1914 but has now been uninhabited for the past 80 years. The tour also includes an adventure to one of BC’s most inaccessible ghost town’s, Alice Arm and the historic ghost towns on the Skeena River; Port Essington and Doreen. We will utilize ocean going boats and jet boats to access these remote locations. Hopefully you are not afraid of ghosts as we will be overnighting in three of these eerie towns. Don’t miss this chance of a lifetime to be part of this special trip!

DAY ONE
We travel east of Terrace and launch our two jet boats on the magnificent Skeena River and take a short boat ride to the north side of the river. After a short walk we arrive at Dorreen, at the base of glacier-covered Mt. Knauss. Our local guide will show us around the once thriving town and share is passion and history of the town. The town used to be a prospering mining and farming town on the GTP rail line, but today only a dozen cabins and houses are still remain and most people use it as a summer getaway. The town is hub for old antique discarded vehicles that were brought in by train to drive on the few km’s of dirt road.

Old truck in the Ghost Town of Dorreen
Old truck in the Ghost Town of Doreen

DAY TWO
We will travel downstream (west) towards the historic cannery town of Port Essington. Built in 1875, this town was the life of the mighty Skeena River until 1910, when another town to the north, Prince Rupert, was built at the terminus of the railway. At this ghost-town you will have the opportunity to capture amazing historic photos and explore the forest where remnants of the past await us with a special story behind each one. Afterwards we’ll take a boat ride across the river to a small hidden hot spring, where we can soak in a small pool under the towering coastal Sitka Spruce rainforest.

The Boneyard at Port Essington
The Remnants of the Pilings at tthe Cannery Ghost Town of Port Essington

DAY THREE
On your third day you will drive through the heart of a historic lava flow en route to the coastal village of Gingolx. At this village we will meet our boat and captain who will take us into Observatory Inlet on the way to the once bustling site of Anyox. The boat will go at a relaxing pace to see the amazing coastal scenery and observe wildlife along the way. Our stop will be at the abandoned town of Anyox, once the most important smelter along the west coast. Remains of old railway cars, power stations, general store and the once largest dam in Canada will be toured.

The Anyox Dam

DAY FOUR
We spend the day at Alice Arm, the legendary silver mining town and site of the once famous Dolly Varden Mining Railway whose narrow gauge track led up the Kitsault river to several rich mine sites. The town has several dilapidated cabins and stores, alongside modernized cabins used as summer retreats. We will walk around the historic sites, meet some locals and walk to a nearby waterfall, where salmon can be  seen spawning. We will be treated to a seafood barbecue by the only year round residents of Alice Arm.

Alice Arm Haunted House

DAY FIVE
After a comfortable and peaceful night at Alice Arm Lodge, we will travel by boat across the inlet to the modern day Ghost Town of Kitsault. Our exclusive access to this site will include a tour of the site and the many buildings that have sat vacant as is since 1981. This will include the shopping centre, swimming pool, school, theatre and much more. We will spend the night in one of the 1980’s style apartments and get rested for our 4 hour drive through the coastal mountains back to Terrace the following morning.

36 years of emptiness in Kitsault Shopping Centre

 

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Alice Arm Bakery

When we visit the individual ghost towns on “Ghost Town’s of Northwest BC” we are always looking for a story or a bit of the past that still remains. In Alice Arm one of the things we will see is the Old Alice Arm Bakery. The window where the fresh bread and pies still remains along with the log building. No idea on the exact date of it but probably around the 1920’s based on similar style structures there. Here are a couple of photos of the old bakery window and what main street looked like in the past.

Alice Arm Bakery Window
Alice Arm Bakery Window
Alice Arm Main Street
Alice Arm Main Street

 

2015 UNBC Ghost Towns Expedition

Agenda for the 2015 Ghost Towns Expedition to Anyox, Dorreen, Alice Arm, Kitsault, Port Essington.

August 23-29, 2015 starting in Terrace, BC

Access to three of the five ghost towns is private so do not miss out on this opportunity of a lifetime to re-live a part of BC’s history.

Check out our video from last year’s trip

https://youtu.be/BxbF0XVYK5A

All accommodations (staying overnight in three of the ghost towns), meals, access, transportation ( bus, yachts, jet boats, 4×4 trucks) are included!

DAY ONE
We travel east of  Terrace by boat through the narrow  Kitselas Canyon on the Skeena River where the Kitselas people have lived in the area for the past 5000 years in several villages. Next we will pass the small community of Usk. Once famous for berry-growing, a flood in the 1930s destroyed most of the community. A few people still live there now. Access is by the Usk Ferry or a passenger-only cablecar when the river is iced over. Landing at Fiddler Creek, we arrive at Dorreen, at the base of glacier-covered Mt. Knauss. It used to be a mining and farming town on the rail line, about 70km east of Terrace. Today only a dozen cabins and houses are still livable and most people use it as a summer getaway.

Day Two
We will travel downstream (west) towards the historic cannery town of Port Essington.  Built in 1875, this town was the life of the mighty Skeena River until 1910, when another town to the north, Prince Rupert, was built at the terminus of the railway.  At this ghost-town you will have the opportunity to capture amazing historic photos and explore the forest where remnants of the past await us with a special story behind each one. Afterwards we’ll take a boat ride across the river to a small hidden hot spring, where we can soak in a small pool under  the towering coastal Sitka Spruce rainforest.

Day Three
On your third day you will drive through the heart of a historic lava flow en route to the coastal village of Gingolx.  At this village we will meet our  boat and captain who will take us into Observatory Inlet on the way to the once bustling site of Anyox. The boat will go at a relaxing pace to see the amazing coastal scenery and observe wildlife along the way. Our stop will be at the abandoned town of Anyox, once the most important smelter along the west coast. Remains of old railway cars, power stations, general store and the once largest dam in Canada will be toured.

Day Four
We spend the day at Alice Arm, the legendary silver mining town and site of the once famous Dolly Varden Mining Railway whose narrow gauge track led up the Kitsault river to several rich mine sites. The town has several dilapidated cabins and stores, alongside modernized cabins used as summer retreats. We will walk around the historic sites, meet some locals and walk to a nearby waterfall, where salmon are seen spawning. We will be treated to a seafood barbecue by the only year  round residents of Alice Arm.

Day Five
After a comfortable and peaceful night at Alice Arm Lodge, we will travel by boat across the inlet to the modern day Ghost Town of Kitsault.  Our exclusive access to this site will include a tour of the site and the many buildings that have sat vacant as is since 1981.  This will include the shopping centre, swimming pool, school, theatre and much more.  We will spend the night in one of the 1980’s style apartments and get rested for our 4 hour drive through the coastal mountains back to Terrace the following morning.

 

Ghosts Towns of Northwest BC Highlight Video

This compilation of video ( aerial) and photos will cover off the highlights of last years tour to Five remote Northwest BC Ghost Towns.  Anyox, Alice Arm, Kitsault, Dorreen and Port Essington.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity to visit ( and sleep in three) ghost towns in 5 days in some of Northwest BC’s most scenic and remote locations.

Ghost Towns of Northwest BC

Getting excited about Banks & Groceries!

On our Ghost Towns of Northwest BC we will get you excited to see modern day businesses.  We will travel by boat across Alice arm to the modern day Ghost Town of Kitsault. Our exclusive access to this site will include a tour of the site and the many buildings that have sat vacant as is since 1981. This will include the shopping centre, swimming pool, school, theatre and much more. We will spend the night in this ghost town in one of the 1980’s style apartments.

Here is an 16×9 short documentary on the town that is quite interesting!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX2MvCnyRTo

The empty shelves of the local grocery store that has sat vacant for 35 years.

The old Royal Bank which served the customers for just over a year in 1981! Looks like it could be opened up on a moments notice!

36 years of emptiness in Kitsault Shopping Centre

Alice Arm Schoolhouse

Alice Arm is another of our stops on the Ghost Towns of Northwest BC Tour.  It is home to the historic  Dolly Varden mine which  operated from 1919 to 1940 and the North Star mine which ran  from 1919 to 1921, and the Torbrit mine from 1949 to 1959.  We will cruise along Observatory in our chartered yacht and begin exploring this eerie community.  The Alice Arm Schoolhouse is one of the structures still standing and it is full of stories from the past.   The names of the kids still remain above each coat hook where they were to hang up their jackets.  Hundreds of old textbooks from the 30’s scatter the shelves and remnants of the past can be found everywhere.

The Alice Arm schoolhouse still remains from the early 1900’s
Old Chests in the attic of the schoolhouse