On the steep cliffs on either side of the Kicking Horse River, about 4 kilometres east of Field, you will notice holes in the mountain which you may think are just caves. These are the mine portals, remnants and showings as a result of the mining for lead and zinc. On the north side is Mount Field and this is referred as the Kicking Horse deposits, which was located at the 1524-metre mark. On the south side is Mount Stephen and this was called the Monarch deposits, which lie at the 1569 and 1621 -metres. Both mines were located in Yoho National Park, adjacent to the Trans Canada Highway.
The orebodies occur as long narrow runs that extend inward to over 500 metres and 48 metres wide, averaging 5.7 metres thick. The Monarch deposit was located in 1884 during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the mines operated until 1952.
If you wish a spelunking couch potato’s tour, do check this out “Exploration into the Monarch Mine“. It is very well written and display a lot of photos which shows what it is like on the inside.
While Cathedral Mountain Lodge is fairly new, constructed in 2005, the lodge has a rich history dating back to 1930 when it housed mine workers from Kicking Horse and Monarch Mines. After mining fortunes dissipated, the lodge opened its doors to tourists and is by far the best kept secret in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I know cause I b’in there!