Crowsnest Highway

The Crowsnest Highway is the southernmost of the three major traversing the Rocky Mountains in Canada highways. Both in Alberta and in British Columbia it is reported as Highway 3 (BC Highway 3, Alberta Highway 3).


The compromise Oregon laid down in 1846 that the trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company came to the U.S. territory along the lower reaches of the Columbia River, Fort Okanagan and Fort Vancouver. Thus, the convenient way to the Pacific was cut off and forced the exploration of alternative routes north of the 49th parallel for British interests. Therefore, a fort was built in 1848 at the mouth of Coquihalla River in the Fraser River, which became the nucleus of the present town of Hope. Gold discoveries on the Fraser River in 1858 and the Kettle River and the Similkameen River in 1859 contributed to the growth of the importance of this locality, additional requested the governor of the British colony of British Columbia, James Douglas, the engineers Edgar Dewdney and Walter Moberly with the exploration of a mule path after Vermillion Forks, now Princeton, whose construction was completed in 1861.

It was agreed that the newly developed way have a width of four feet ( 1.3 meters) and should be free of vegetation and debris; Water obstacles and swamps had to be overcome by suitable means. For the total distance of 75.6 miles ( 121.6 kilometers ) an allowance of 37,500 Canadian dollars was awarded.

As 1863 Wild Horse Creek near present-day Fort Steele also gold was found, the new Governor Frederick Seymour commissioned the development of the connection to this place, to prevent transport of gold on the Kootenay River in the United States of America. After a construction period of only seven months of around 300 miles ( 480 km ) long trail was completed in September 1865 for the amount of 75,000 Canadian dollars. However, the gold mining in Wild Horse Creek was already largely ceased with the end of the season in 1866, as in the Cariboo region larger promising discoveries attracted the majority of the prospectors.

Explorations from the east were made in 1874 by a mounted troop of the North West Mounted Police, which coming from Fort MacLoed in the south of the province of Alberta, largely to today's road to the Galbraith 's Ferry - near present-day Fort Steele - followed, and from there the Dewdney Trail used.

As finds of silver and coal in the Rocky Mountains and the expansion of agriculture in the climatically, running in a north-south direction valleys carried the potential for economic development, was initially 1897, the building of a line of the Canadian Pacific Railway from Lethbridge to Nelson via the Crowsnest pass, parallel to the existing approaches have been developed. Until Creston run even today the railway line and the highway almost parallel, just before crossing the Nelson Range to separate both.

The Crowsnest Highway follows today over a distance of around 80% of the Dewdney Trail, which in addition, a well-known long distance trail is.


The Crowsnest Highway is the southernmost of the highway connections between the central prairies of Canada and the ports on the Pacific. Due to the geographical conditions, the landscape sometimes very charming Highway pulls out close to the border with the U.S. states of Montana, Idaho and Washington, crossing in its course five mountain ranges on passports, which reach up to 1774 m.

British Columbia

→ Main article: British Columbia Highway 3 South of the center of Hope the highway-like developed Highway 3 runs to the east, while the Trans-Canada Highway - the valley of the Fraser River following - north turns. Near the confluence Sumallo River in the Coquihalla River follows the Highway 5 ( Yellowhead Highway 5 Coquihalla Highway or also called ) the latter, while the Crowsnest Highway runs south-east through the valleys of Sumallo River and the Skagit River.

The Northern Cascade Range is overcome with the Allison Pass (1352 m) and the valley of the Similkameen River reached shortly before reaching the Okanagan Valley, the southern foothills of the Thompson Plateau to be crossed. On the steep climb to the Anarchist Mountain, which offers a magnificent view of the southern Okanagan Valley, the Monashee Mountains are achieved. On the way to the southern end of the Arrow Lake two passes have to be overcome - Phoenix Mountain Summit ( 1105 m) and Bonanza Pass (1535 m).

Between Arrow Lake and Kootenay Lake, the chain of the Selkirk Mountains is crossed, here is the Kootenay Pass, the highest point in the road. After the valley of Kootenay Lake was crossed, follow the road Kitchener Creek and Moyie River and crosses so without overcoming higher passes the Purcell Mountains. After the Kootenay River is crossed, the highway passes before it reaches its highest point in the Rockies and the province of Alberta border at 1358 m high Crowsnest Pass through the valley of the Elk River.

The Crowsnest Highway is for the development of southern British Columbia essential, the intersecting streets or opening into him make it important connections to other routes in Western Canada or open up remote areas:

  • 0 mi - Highway 1 ( Trans-Canada Highway ) to Cache Creek, Kamloops, Revelstoke to the national parks in the Rocky Mountains
  • 7 km - Highway 5 ( Yellowhead Highway 5 Coquihalla Highway or also ) by Merrit and Kamloops
  • 133 km - Highway 5A according to Merrit and Kamloops
  • 252 km - Highway 97 ( Okanagan Highway) to the border at Oroville and to Penticton and Kelowna
  • 304 km - Highway 33 by Carmi and Kelowna
  • 373 km - Highway 41 to the border with Carson and Danville
  • 399 km - Highway 395 to the border at Cascade and Laurier
  • 469 km - Highway 22 to the trail and to the border in Paterson or Castlegar
  • 509 km - Highway 6 to Nelson and Vernon
  • 523 km - Highway 6 to the border at Nelway
  • 593 km - Highway 21 to the border at Rykerts and Port Hill
  • 633 km - Highway 95 to the border at Kingsgate and Eastport
  • 706 km - Highway 95A to Kimberley and Ta Ta Creek
  • 712 km - Highway 93/95 to Fort Steele, Invermere and Golden
  • 767 km - Highway 93 to Grasmere and the border with Roos Ville
  • 846 km - Highway 43 after Elkford

Addition to these towns, their connection was to the road network of the construction of the Dewdney Trail, the Crowsnest Highway touched today, the following localities:

  • 0 mi - Hope
  • 134 km - Princeton (formerly Vermillion Forks )
  • 204 km - Keremeos
  • 252 km - Osoyoos
  • 304 km - Rock Creek
  • 322 km - Midway
  • 335 km - Greenwood
  • 378 km - Grand Forks
  • 400 km - Christina Lake
  • 473 km - Castlegar
  • 512 km - Salmo
  • 596 km - Creston
  • 703 km - Cranbrook
  • 767 km - Elko
  • 812 km - Fernie
  • 843 km - Sparwood


Reference to Main article: Alberta Highway 3

The pass provides the Continental Divide and the provincial border dar. The Crowsnest River, the Highway follows, opens at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in the Oldman River, which rises in southern Alberta in the South Saskatchewan River. In Medicine Hat near the provincial border with Saskatchewan meets the Crowsnest Highway to almost 1163 km on the Trans-Canada Highway.

Also for the southern Alberta the Crowsnest Highway is a major road networks, which is crossed by numerous other major routes:

  • 905 km - Highway 22 to Longview
  • 926 km - Highway 6 to Pincher Creek, Twin Butte and to the border crossing at Chief Mountain
  • 974 km - Highway 4 by Granum, Calgary and Edmonton or after Stand Off, Cardston and the border with Carway and Port of Piegan
  • 1001 km - Highway 23 by Baron and Vulcan
  • 1026 km - Highway 4 to New Dayton, Warner, Milk River and the border at Coutts and Sweetgrass
  • 1026 km - Highway 5 by Welling, Magrath, Cardston and Waterton Lakes National Park
  • 1076 km - Highway 36 to the Wrentham and Warner respectively according to Vauxhall, Brooks and Lac La Biche
  • 1193 km - Highway 1 to Brooks and Calgary respectively to Regina and Winnipeg

Red Coat Trail

As the unofficial sequel to the Crowsnest Highway applies the Red Coat Trail, which leads through side streets from Lethbridge to Winnipeg in Manitoba. He follows in Alberta Highway 4 to Stirling, Highway 61 to Manyberries and Highway 501 to the provincial border. In the province of Saskatchewan Highway 13 and referred to in the Manitoba Highway 2 as the Red Coat Trail.

Highway 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 33 | 35 | 37 | 39 | 41 | 43 | 49 | 52 | 77 | 91 | 93 | 95 | 97 | 99 | 101 | 113 | 118 | 395

Highway 1A | 3A | 3B | 4A | 5A | 7B | 17A | 19A | 22A | 31A | 37A | 91A | 95A | 97A | 97B | 97C | 97D

Highway 7A

Alaska Highway | Cariboo Highway | Cassiar Highway | Coquihalla Highway | Crowsnest Highway | John Hart Highway | Lougheed Highway | Okanagan Highway | Pacific Rim Highway | Sea to Sky Highway | Trans Canada Highway | Yellowhead Highway

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  • Road in British Columbia
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