Elkford, BC, incorporated as a district municipality in 1981, population 2523 (2011c), 2463 (2006c). The District of Elkford is situated on the west side of the Elk River, a tributary to the Kootenay River, in the East Kootenay district of southeastern British Columbia. Located among the Rocky Mountains near the old coal-mining communities of the CROWSNEST PASS and 35 km north of SPARWOOD, Elkford, at 1300 m elevation, is the highest community in British Columbia.
Elkford is an example of a RESOURCE TOWN, which was built to house mine employees and their families. The population was 605 in 1971 when the village of Elkford was incorporated and Fording Coal Ltd (now Elk Valley Coal Corporation) opened its open-pit coal mine nearby. The district's name comes from combining the names of the river the townsite lies beside and the coal company's. The development of various coal mines in the region created an economic and population boom for Elkford, which reached it peak in the 1980s. Besides mining, the community is the gateway to a large wilderness area, particularly Elk Lakes Provincial Park 70 km north. In spite of its elevation Elkford has a relatively sheltered climate and is subject to numerous warming CHINOOK winds in the winter.