The legacy of almost 40 years of mining is a vast honeycomb beneath the City of Rossland consisting of a total of 128km (80 miles) of tunnels and drifts on 22 levels to a depth of 730 m (2200 ft) – or practically down to the Columbia River. In their heyday, the mines employed a work force of approximately 1200 men; with the value of ore produced during this period worth approximately $3.3 billion at 2010 prices.
The mines in Rossland operated from 1890 to 1929 and consisted of the Le Roi Mine, Josie Mine, War Eagle Mine, Centre Star Mine and the Black Bear Mine to name a few.
The Rossland Historical Museum is at the site of the former Black Bear Mine.
In 1865 the Dewdney Trail was pushed through from Rock Creek in the Boundary country to Wild Horse Creek in the East Kootenay. Its purpose was to provide a direct supply route from the Pacific coast to the gold rush camps on Wild Horse Creek. Construction was in the charge of Edgar Dewdney who later became Governor of the Northwest Territories and then Lieutenant Governor of the Province of British Columbia.
The gold rush in the Wild Horse Creek area subsided shortly after and the trail fell into disuse.
The Dewdney Trail from the west crossed the height of land just south of the City of Rossland and followed the stream down the valley below Rossland to the mouth of the Columbia River. The stream was named Trail Creek and the landing spot was called trail Creek Landing. Today it is the City of Trail.
Thirty-five years later two prospectors, Moris and Bourgeois, were doing assessment work on a claim called the Lily Mayon the Dewdney Trail just below the present site of Rossland. They were attracted by the red mineral stains on Red Mountain, and in July 1890 they crossed over to Red Mountain to stake the first five mineral claims that gave birth to Rossland, the Golden City. Sections of the Trail are still visible today between Rossland and the Paterson valley.