Fort Steele Resort & RV Park - Fort Steele, BC.

Travel Spotlight

Fort Steele

Fort Steele is a heritage town, and like many other communities in the region, got its start as a gold rush boom town. It is perched along the scenic Kootenay River and abounds with recreational water activities. Due to the remoteness of the community, its natural surroundings remain relatively untouched and very beautiful. Wide open fields, lush forests, and majestic views of the mountains can all be found here year-round.

The community has been deemed a National Historic Site of Canada, and contains many building that have stood since the town’s founding. The Lambi House is a perfect example of the communities’ dedication to Canadian Heritage. The smell of fresh baking greets visitors to the Lambi House, where the refined domestic skills of yesterday are alive and well. Daily activities from spring through fall include laundry, carpet beating, wood-splitting and fire stoking. The Barr & Combs Blacksmith Shop, built in 1897, is operating in its original structure much as it did 108 years ago. Coal is burned in the original forge, and fanned by the original bellows. Traditional tools, materials, and techniques are used. Demonstrations are conducted two to three times daily on a seasonal basis.

Location

Fort Steele is located on Hwy 93/95, 17 km (10 mi) northeast of Cranbrook, and east of Kimberley.

A Step Back in Time

The origin of Fort Steele can be traced to the small settlement of Galbraith’s Ferry, which was born during the 1864 Kootenay gold rush. In 1888 the settlement’s name was changed to Fort Steele to honour Superintendent Samuel Steele of the North West Mounted Police, who peacefully settled tensions between white settlers and the Ktunaxa people. Major mineral discoveries in the East Kootenay brought a new boom in 1897. Fort Steele became the commercial, social and administrative centre of the region while property values soared. However, in 1898, when the B.C. Southern Railway bypassed Fort Steele in favour of Cranbrook, the boom sputtered to a halt and the town soon declined into obscurity.

The Province of British Columbia acquired the site in 1961, and later began the good work of preserving and reconstructing the historic town. Today, the Province of BC, along with the Friends of Fort Steele Society, continue this good work preserving and presenting an important part of Canada’s pioneering history.

Contact Information

Fort Steele Heritage Town

Camping Lodging

The Super Camping / Select Lodging Guide

First Published in 1989