Greenwood Stack – Greenwood, British Columbia - Atlas Obscura

Greenwood Stack

This former smelter is a crumbling ruin, with the exception of its towering smokestack. 


Located partly up a small mountain right next to Canada’s smallest city, the Greenwood Stack is a relic and a monument of the city of Greenwood’s early days as a copper mining town.

From the late 1890s to the early 1900s, Greenwood’s prosperity in copper mining made it one of the busiest towns in the province of British Columbia during that period. The mines around Greenwood were so prosperous that it necessitated the construction of their own copper smelter to serve the surrounding area in 1901, so that raw ore could be processed quicker.

As the story goes with so many other mining towns, eventually Greenwood’s boom of prosperity ended. A combination of the price of copper falling and a lack of demand after World War I led to the closure of the smelting site in 1918. The plant was sold, and the land eventually given back to the city of Greenwood once the machinery was disposed of.

Today, much of the smelting facility is a crumbling ruin with the exception of the smelter’s smokestack, which is remarkably intact and towers over the city today, just as it did over 100 years ago when it was operational.

Know Before You Go

To get to The Greenwood Stack from Crowsnest Highway, turn westbound onto Washington Street and follow it across a small bridge, where it changes to Railway Avenue. Follow Railway Avenue up the mountain a short distance, until you come to a rounding turn with a small dirt road diverging off the road going south. Turning onto this dirt road will take you right to The Stack.

The dirt road leading to the stack is only wide enough for one-way car traffic, so be careful that there isn't any traffic coming towards you when you're on it. There's enough space around the base of the stack to park a couple of cars but not much more, so be mindful of that if it's a little busy around The Stack.

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November 17, 2022

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