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Visiting Sandon, A Cool Ghost Town In British Columbia – Like Where You’re Going


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Willamina Leos



Welcome to Sandon, a hidden gem nestled in the stunning wilderness of British Columbia, Canada. This charming ghost town is a captivating blend of history, natural beauty, and eerie intrigue. A visit to Sandon is like stepping back in time to the heyday of the mining boom in the late 19th century.


Located in the picturesque Selkirk Mountains, Sandon was once a bustling hub of activity, fueled by the riches drawn from the nearby mines. Today, it stands as a testament to a bygone era, offering visitors a unique opportunity to explore the remnants of a once-thriving community.


The history of Sandon dates back to the discovery of silver in the area in the late 1800s. The subsequent silver rush led to the rapid growth of the town, attracting miners, merchants, and fortune seekers from all corners of the globe. At its peak, Sandon boasted a population of over 5,000 residents, making it one of the largest cities in western Canada at the time.


However, as the silver veins depleted and the fortunes waned, Sandon began to decline. By the mid-20th century, the town had become a ghost town, abandoned and forgotten. Today, the remnants of Sandon offer a mesmerizing glimpse into the past, with well-preserved buildings, artifacts, and a fascinating narrative waiting to be discovered.


Exploring Sandon is like embarking on a journey through time. As you wander through the deserted streets, you can’t help but imagine the hustle and bustle that once filled the air. The dilapidated storefronts, rusty machinery, and decaying buildings are a constant reminder of the dreams and hardships of those who ventured to this remote corner of Canada.


While the mining industry may have faded away, Sandon has found new life as a tourist destination. Visitors flock to the town to immerse themselves in its rich history, enjoy the breathtaking natural surroundings, and experience the spine-chilling allure of its ghostly legends.


Before planning your trip to Sandon, it is important to note that the town is best explored during the warmer months, as heavy snowfall can make access difficult in the winter. Additionally, while there are no permanent residents in Sandon today, there are seasonal caretakers who can provide valuable insights and guidance during your visit.


In the sections that follow, we will delve deeper into the history of Sandon, explore its main attractions, uncover haunted spots, and provide practical information to help you plan your unforgettable visit to this fascinating ghost town.


History of Sandon

The history of Sandon is intertwined with the discovery of silver in the region in the late 1800s. In 1885, prospectors stumbled upon rich silver veins in the Slocan Valley, igniting a silver rush that would forever change the landscape of this remote area of British Columbia.


Following the discovery, the town of Sandon quickly sprang up as miners, prospectors, and entrepreneurs flocked to the area in search of fortunes. By 1896, Sandon had become a bustling mining town, catering to the needs of the growing population. The town boasted all the amenities of a thriving community, including hotels, saloons, schools, a hospital, and even an opera house.


At its peak in the early 1900s, Sandon was home to over 5,000 residents, making it one of the largest cities in western Canada. The mines in the surrounding area produced vast amounts of silver, making Sandon a prosperous and influential town in the region.


However, the boom was short-lived. The silver veins began to dwindle, and by the 1930s, most of the mines had closed down. The town’s population dwindled, and Sandon became a ghost town, with only a handful of residents remaining.


Throughout its history, Sandon faced its fair share of challenges and disasters. In 1900, a massive fire ravaged the town, destroying many of its buildings. The resilient residents rebuilt, and Sandon continued to thrive until the decline of the mining industry.


Today, Sandon preserves its rich history as a testament to the dreams and adventures of its early inhabitants. Visitors can explore the well-preserved buildings, including the remains of the once-luxurious Silversmith Hotel, the original post office, and the historic miner’s cabin.


One of the most significant structures in Sandon is the Silversmith Powerhouse. Built in 1897 to provide electricity to the town and the surrounding mines, it is a marvel of engineering and an excellent example of early hydroelectric power. The powerhouse still stands today, offering a glimpse into the technological innovations of the time.


As you wander through the streets of Sandon, you can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia and wonder. The town’s faded glory is a poignant reminder of the dreams and struggles of the people who once called this place home.


Next, we will explore the various attractions that await visitors in Sandon, providing a deeper understanding of the town’s historical significance and cultural heritage.


Attractions in Sandon

Despite being a ghost town, Sandon is brimming with fascinating attractions that offer a glimpse into its rich history and captivating charm. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, adventure seeker, or simply curious about the past, Sandon has something to captivate your interest.


One of the must-visit attractions in Sandon is the Sandon Museum. Housed in the original City Hall building, the museum showcases an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits that depict the town’s mining heritage and the daily lives of its inhabitants. From mining tools and equipment to photographs and personal belongings, the museum provides a comprehensive overview of Sandon’s past.


For those with a taste for the paranormal, the Sandon Cemetery is an intriguing spot to explore. Located on a hill overlooking the town, the cemetery is the final resting place of many early pioneers and miners. The weathered tombstones and eerie silence create a haunting atmosphere, making it a popular destination for ghost enthusiasts and history buffs alike.


Another notable attraction in Sandon is the Sandon Hotel. This historic building, dating back to 1891, was once a grand hotel catering to the needs of the growing mining community. Although the hotel is no longer in operation, you can still marvel at its impressive architecture and imagine the lively scenes that once unfolded within its walls.


Outdoor enthusiasts will be delighted to discover the hiking trails surrounding Sandon. Take a scenic hike through the lush forests or embark on a more challenging trek up the picturesque mountains. The trails offer breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.


After a day of exploration, relax and unwind at one of the nearby lakes, such as Carpenter Lake or Idaho Peak. These serene bodies of water provide the perfect setting for fishing, boating, or simply enjoying a peaceful picnic amidst nature’s beauty.


For a unique experience, consider embarking on a guided ghost tour of Sandon. Led by knowledgeable locals, these tours take you on a journey through the town’s haunted spots, sharing chilling tales of the supernatural and the mysterious occurrences that continue to intrigue visitors.


While exploring Sandon’s attractions, make sure to keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area. From majestic deer to elusive mountain goats, the natural surroundings of Sandon offer numerous opportunities for wildlife spotting and nature photography.


In the next section, we will delve deeper into the fascinating history of the Silversmith Powerhouse and its significance in Sandon’s mining industry.


The Silversmith Powerhouse

One of the most impressive landmarks in Sandon is the Silversmith Powerhouse, a testament to the technological advancements of its time. Built in 1897, the powerhouse played a crucial role in providing electricity not only to the town but also to the surrounding mines, powering the machinery that extracted valuable minerals.


The Silversmith Powerhouse relied on the abundant water resources of the area. Water was diverted from Carpenter Creek and channeled through a series of pipes, which led to the water turbines within the powerhouse. These turbines generated the necessary power to run the stamp mills, hoists, and other mining equipment.


The powerhouse’s hydroelectric system was a state-of-the-art innovation at the time. It represented a significant shift from the traditional steam-powered machinery previously used in mining operations. The use of hydroelectric power not only improved efficiency but also reduced costs and environmental impact.


Today, the Silversmith Powerhouse stands as a captivating reminder of Sandon’s industrial past. Visitors can explore the well-preserved building, gaining a firsthand understanding of the ingenuity and engineering prowess of the early pioneers. The machinery and equipment that once hummed with activity now rest silently, providing a fascinating insight into the technology that powered the town.


The powerhouse is a popular destination for history enthusiasts and photographers, thanks to its striking red-brick exterior and its picturesque location along Carpenter Creek. The surrounding natural beauty, combined with the architectural marvel, creates a scenic and memorable backdrop for exploration.


As you walk through the old powerhouse, you can’t help but marvel at the intricate details and the sheer scale of the equipment that once filled the space. It’s a humbling experience to imagine the power and industry that once flowed through these walls, sustaining the mining operations that shaped Sandon’s history.


Visitors can also learn more about the powerhouse’s history and significance through informative plaques and exhibits that detail its functioning and role in the town’s development. The stories of the men and women who operated the powerhouse and the challenges they faced add another layer of depth to the overall experience.


Whether you’re a history buff, a lover of architecture, or simply curious about the advancements of the past, a visit to the Silversmith Powerhouse is a must during your time in Sandon. It offers a unique opportunity to connect with the ingenuity of generations past and to appreciate the remarkable progress that has shaped our world.


Next, we will explore the Sandon Museum, another significant attraction that provides a comprehensive glimpse into the town’s intriguing history.


Sandon Museum

The Sandon Museum is a treasure trove of history, offering visitors a comprehensive journey into the past of this once-thriving mining town. Housed in the original City Hall building, the museum showcases a remarkable collection of artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that tell the story of Sandon’s rise and fall.


As you step through the doors of the museum, you are instantly transported to a bygone era. The carefully curated displays showcase the town’s mining heritage and provide a fascinating glimpse into the daily lives of the people who called Sandon home.


One of the highlights of the museum is the extensive collection of mining tools and equipment. From pickaxes and drills to ore carts and rock samples, these artifacts offer a tangible connection to the gritty reality of mining life. Visitors can learn about the challenges and risks faced by the miners as they delved deep into the earth in search of precious minerals.


Beyond the mining artifacts, the museum also boasts an impressive collection of photographs that capture the essence of Sandon’s past. These images provide a visual narrative of the bustling streets, busy mines, and vibrant community that once thrived in the town. They offer a glimpse into the lives of the people who shaped Sandon and the challenges they faced in this rugged and isolated environment.


Throughout the museum, interactive exhibits allow visitors to further immerse themselves in the history of Sandon. Visitors can try their hand at panning for gold, simulate the experience of working in a mine, or study maps and documents that provide valuable insights into the town’s layout and development.


As you wander through the various rooms and displays, knowledgeable guides are on hand to answer questions and provide additional context. Their passion for the town’s history is evident, and their stories and anecdotes bring the exhibits to life, adding a personal touch to the visit.


The Sandon Museum not only focuses on Sandon’s mining history but also sheds light on other aspects of life in the town. Exhibits dedicated to daily life, education, healthcare, and entertainment provide a well-rounded perspective, showcasing the diverse and resilient community that once thrived in this remote corner of Canada.


For those interested in genealogy and tracing their roots, the museum also offers access to historical records and archives, providing a valuable resource for those seeking to uncover their family’s connection to Sandon.


A visit to the Sandon Museum is a must for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the town’s history and the remarkable stories of its inhabitants. It offers a captivating journey through time, leaving visitors with a newfound appreciation for the struggles, triumphs, and resilience of the people who left their mark on Sandon.


As we continue our exploration of Sandon, we will venture into the Sandon Cemetery, a hauntingly beautiful place that holds the memories of those who once walked the town’s streets.


Sandon Cemetery

Situated on a hill overlooking the ghost town, the Sandon Cemetery is a poignant reminder of the people who lived and died in this once-thriving mining community. Walking through the cemetery, you can’t help but feel a sense of reverence and contemplation as you come face to face with the final resting places of the town’s early pioneers and residents.


The Sandon Cemetery is a hauntingly beautiful place, surrounded by the tranquil wilderness of the Selkirk Mountains. The weathered tombstones, some dating back over a century, stand as silent witnesses to the lives and stories of those who shaped Sandon’s history.


As you stroll among the graves, each one tells a unique tale, offering glimpses into the joys, sorrows, and struggles of the people who once called Sandon home. Some markers bear the names of prominent figures in the town’s history, while others simply mark the graves of anonymous individuals who have become part of Sandon’s collective memory.


The cemetery holds stories of triumph and tragedy, capturing the fragility and resilience of life in a frontier town. Many of the graves belong to miners who lost their lives in accidents or succumbed to the perils of the profession. Each tombstone is a tangible reminder of the sacrifices made by those who toiled underground to carve out a living.


While exploring the cemetery, you may come across memorials dedicated to loved ones, offering insight into the personal lives and connections of the people buried there. These tributes serve as a reminder that behind the names and dates on the tombstones lie rich and intricate stories of love, loss, and community.


Visiting the Sandon Cemetery can be a reflective and even somber experience. As you pay your respects to those who came before, you can’t help but marvel at the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring legacy left behind in this once-thriving town.


It’s worth noting that the Sandon Cemetery is not only a place to commemorate the past but also a valuable resource for genealogical research. Family historians can find valuable information in the cemetery records and burial plots, uncovering connections to long-lost relatives and adding depth to their understanding of Sandon’s history.


The cemetery’s location on a hilltop offers panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness, serving as a reminder of the vast and untamed landscape that attracted so many to this remote corner of British Columbia in search of fortune and opportunity.


As you leave the Sandon Cemetery, take a moment to reflect on the lives that once thrived in this now-deserted town. The stories etched in stone serve as a testament to the pioneers, the dreamers, and the resilient spirits that shaped Sandon’s history.


Next, we will step inside the Sandon Hotel, an iconic building that harkens back to the town’s bustling past.


The Sandon Hotel

The Sandon Hotel stands as a captivating testament to the grandeur and vitality that once permeated the ghost town. Built in 1891, it was a luxurious establishment that catered to the needs and desires of the growing population drawn to Sandon during the silver rush.


The Sandon Hotel, with its impressive architecture and prime location in the heart of the town, was a symbol of prestige and prosperity. The grand facade and intricate details showcased the town’s ambition and the desire to create an elegant and refined atmosphere amidst the rugged landscape.


In its heyday, the hotel boasted luxurious accommodations, fine dining options, and lively entertainment venues. It was a hub of activity, attracting not only miners and prospectors but also businessmen, travelers, and adventurers from far and wide.


Inside the Sandon Hotel, the opulent interiors exuded charm and sophistication. Impeccably furnished rooms offered a respite from the mining operations and provided a taste of luxury amid the harsh surroundings. Opulent chandeliers, plush furnishings, and ornate decor created an ambiance befitting a high-end establishment of its time.


The hotel was also a social gathering place, hosting extravagant parties, dances, and events that brought the community together. The sounds of laughter, clinking glasses, and lively conversation filled the halls, leaving an indelible imprint on the town’s vibrant history.


Unfortunately, as the mining industry waned in Sandon, so did the fortunes of the Sandon Hotel. With the decline of the town, the hotel eventually ceased operations. Today, all that remains are the weathered walls and faded glory of a once-iconic establishment.


Despite its current state of disrepair, the Sandon Hotel continues to captivate visitors with its haunting beauty and architectural splendor. Photographers, history enthusiasts, and curious tourists are drawn to its grandeur, seeking to capture a glimpse of the past and the stories etched within its walls.


As you stand before the remnants of the Sandon Hotel, immersed in the atmosphere of faded elegance, you can’t help but imagine the vibrant scenes that once unfolded within its halls. The echoes of laughter and the symphony of clinking glasses seem to linger in the air, reminding us of the lively spirit that once animated Sandon.


The Sandon Hotel serves as a powerful reminder of the boom and bust cycles that characterize the history of mining towns. It stands as a bittersweet symbol of the dreams, ambitions, and ultimate decline that shadowed Sandon and many similar communities.


Visiting the Sandon Hotel is a memorable experience that allows you to connect with the town’s past and reflect on the impermanence of human endeavors. It serves as a tangible reminder of the ebb and flow of industry and the resilience of those who built their lives in pursuit of silver and prosperity.


Next, we will explore the numerous hiking trails that surround Sandon, offering breathtaking natural beauty and a chance to immerse oneself in the wilderness.


Hiking Trails in Sandon

Surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Selkirk Mountains, Sandon is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The area offers a diverse selection of hiking trails that cater to all skill levels, providing an opportunity to immerse yourself in the stunning natural landscapes that surround the ghost town.


One of the most popular trails in Sandon is the Idaho Peak Trail. This exhilarating hike takes you to the summit of Idaho Peak, offering spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and lakes. The trail winds through alpine meadows adorned with vibrant wildflowers during the summer months, making it a photographer’s dream.


For those seeking a more moderate hike, the Carpenter Lake Trail is an excellent choice. Following the path along the tranquil Carpenter Creek, the trail reveals stunning waterfalls, lush forests, and serene picnic spots. The trail is relatively flat and suitable for families or those looking for a leisurely stroll in nature.


If you’re up for a challenge, the Sandon-Davidson Trail is a more strenuous option. This trail connects Sandon to the nearby ghost town of Cody, offering hikers a thrilling and adventurous journey through rugged terrain. Along the way, you’ll encounter remnants of mining operations, old mining shafts, and captivating vistas that showcase the untamed beauty of British Columbia.


It’s important to note that these trails offer more than just breathtaking scenery. They also provide glimpses into the region’s mining heritage. Along the paths, you may encounter old mine foundations, machinery remnants, and interpretive signs that shed light on the mining history of the area, adding an educational element to your hike.


Before embarking on any hike, it’s crucial to come prepared with proper gear, including sturdy hiking shoes, water, snacks, and sunscreen. Some trails may have limited amenities, so it’s always prudent to carry a trail map and let someone know your hiking plans.


While exploring the trails, keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls this area home. From majestic deer grazing in meadows to the elusive mountain goats skillfully navigating steep cliffs, the natural surroundings of Sandon offer numerous opportunities for wildlife spotting and nature photography.


Hiking in Sandon is not just about the destination; it’s about immersing yourself in the serenity and beauty of the wilderness. Take the time to breathe in the fresh mountain air, listen to the gentle rustling of leaves, and appreciate the tranquility that comes with exploring off the beaten path.


Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual nature lover, the hiking trails in Sandon offer a chance to connect with the natural wonders that surround the ghost town. So lace up your boots, grab your water bottle, and set off on an unforgettable adventure amidst the pristine landscapes of British Columbia.


In the next section, we will delve into the various camping and accommodation options available for visitors to Sandon.


Camping and Accommodation Options

For those seeking an immersive outdoor experience, camping in the picturesque wilderness surrounding Sandon is a popular choice. There are several campgrounds in the area that offer a range of amenities and facilities to cater to different camping preferences.


The Idaho Peak Lookout Campground is a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts. Located near the trailhead for the Idaho Peak Trail, it provides easy access to breathtaking views and hiking opportunities. The campground offers basic amenities such as picnic tables, fire pits, and pit toilets, allowing campers to enjoy a rustic camping experience in a stunning natural setting.


If you prefer a more developed campground, the nearby New Denver Campground is a great option. Situated just a short drive from Sandon, it provides spacious campsites equipped with fire rings and picnic tables. The campground also offers clean washrooms, showers, and even electrical hookups for those with RVs.


For those seeking a unique camping experience, there are also several dispersed camping areas in the region. These sites are typically more secluded and offer a greater sense of tranquility, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of the Selkirk Mountains. Be sure to follow any guidelines and regulations when using these areas.


If camping is not your preferred accommodation option, there are alternative choices available. The nearby town of New Denver offers a variety of bed and breakfasts, motels, and vacation rentals. These options provide a more comfortable and convenient stay, with amenities such as private bathrooms, cozy bedding, and proximity to local attractions and restaurants.


If you’re looking for a historical experience, consider staying at one of the restored heritage buildings in Sandon. These unique accommodations give you the opportunity to step back in time and experience the ambiance of the town’s heyday. However, keep in mind that these historical properties may have limited amenities and a rustic charm.


As Sandon is a ghost town with limited permanent residents, it’s essential to plan your accommodations in advance. During the peak summer months, camping spots and accommodations tend to fill up quickly, so booking early is highly recommended.


When camping or staying in any accommodation, please remember to practice responsible outdoor ethics. Leave no trace by packing out what you bring in, respect wildlife and vegetation, and follow any posted regulations to preserve the natural beauty of the area.


Whether you choose to camp under the starry skies or stay in a cozy bed and breakfast, Sandon and its surrounding area offer a range of accommodation options to suit various preferences and budgets. Whichever option you choose, you’ll be treated to stunning scenery, a peaceful atmosphere, and a memorable experience in this captivating ghost town.


In the following section, we will delve into the ghost stories and haunted spots that add an air of mystery to Sandon’s intriguing history.


Ghost Stories and Haunted Spots in Sandon

As a ghost town with a rich history, Sandon is no stranger to tales of the supernatural and haunted happenings. The remnants of this once-thriving mining community have given rise to numerous ghost stories and eerie legends that continue to intrigue visitors to this day.


One of the most famous haunted spots in Sandon is the Silversmith Powerhouse. Locals and paranormal enthusiasts claim to have experienced strange occurrences and unexplained phenomena within its walls. From ghostly apparitions to the sound of footsteps echoing in empty corridors, the powerhouse has become a hotspot for those seeking a spine-chilling encounter.


Another haunted location is the Sandon Hotel. While the building stands in a state of disrepair, some believe that the spirits of former patrons and staff still linger within its walls. Visitors have reported hearing disembodied voices, feeling cold spots, and even witnessing apparitions in period clothing.


The Sandon Museum, with its vast collection of artifacts from the town’s past, is believed to harbor residual energy of the lives once lived. Visitors have reported unusual sensations, orbs appearing in photographs, and objects mysteriously moving on their own.


Outside of these specific locations, there are tales of ghostly apparitions wandering the streets of Sandon, as if the spirits of the past still roam the deserted town. Some claim to have heard disembodied voices or caught glimpses of figures in old-fashioned attire in the corners of their eyes.


While these ghost stories add an air of mystery and intrigue, it’s important to approach them with an open mind and a healthy dose of skepticism. Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, the ghostly legends of Sandon contribute to the town’s allure and offer a unique aspect to explore during your visit.


For those seeking a more immersive experience, there are ghost tours available that take you on a guided journey through the haunted spots of Sandon. Led by knowledgeable guides, these tours recount the tales of eerie encounters and the history behind the ghostly legends.


Whether you’re a believer in the paranormal or simply fascinated by the tales of the past, the ghost stories and haunted spots of Sandon add an intriguing layer to the town’s history. They invite visitors to delve deeper into the mystique of the ghost town and contemplate the whispers of the past that still resonate in the present.


As we conclude our exploration of Sandon, it’s clear that this once-thriving mining town holds a captivating allure. From its rich history and well-preserved artifacts to its natural beauty and ghostly legends, Sandon offers a unique and unforgettable journey to bygone times. So, venture forth and let the spirit of adventure guide you as you discover the wonders and mysteries of this extraordinary ghost town.



In the picturesque wilderness of British Columbia, the ghost town of Sandon awaits, offering a captivating blend of history, natural beauty, and intrigue. As you explore the remnants of this once-thriving mining community, you’ll be transported to an era long gone, where dreams of silver riches resonated through the rugged mountains.


Sandon’s rich history unfolds through its well-preserved buildings, artifacts, and stories of triumph and tragedy. From the impressive Silversmith Powerhouse to the hauntingly beautiful Sandon Cemetery, every corner carries echoes of the past, inviting you to delve into the vibrant history that shaped the town.


Beyond its historical importance, Sandon embraces its natural surroundings with open arms. Hiking trails meander through lush forests, leading to breathtaking vistas and the serenity of alpine meadows. Campgrounds and accommodation options cater to those seeking an escape into nature or a taste of the town’s historical heritage.


For the curious and the brave, the ghost stories and haunted spots of Sandon provide an extra layer of mystery. From the Silversmith Powerhouse to the Sandon Hotel, these stories capture the imaginations of visitors and foster a connection to the spirits of the past.


As you bid farewell to Sandon, you take with you not just memories but a deeper understanding of the triumphs, struggles, and resilience of the people who once called this ghost town home. Sandon’s allure lies not only in its historical significance but also in the beauty of its surroundings and the mysterious legends that continue to captivate visitors.


Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply drawn to the unknown, a visit to Sandon promises an unforgettable journey through time. So, pack your curiosity and embark on an exploration of this remarkable ghost town, where the echoes of the past intertwine with the beauty of British Columbia’s wilderness.