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Kicking Horse Pass #474
SaddleHeight: 1635 m (5364 ft)
Key Peak: Mount Hector
Lat Long: (from Mtn Saddle) 51.4517,-116.2862
Prominence (depth) is 1759m below Mount Hector.
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges / Waputik Icefield

Kicking Horse Pass is the point at which the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Trans Canada Highway cross the continental divide between Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and thus cross from Alberta to British Columbia. To the east, a small creek drains down into the Bow River at the town of Lake Louise. To the west, the Kicking Horse River descends steeply, eventually ending up at Golden BC. Kicking Horse pass is also the border between BC and Alberta.

The main line of the CPR was built through the pass in 1883-1884, and directly climbed up the famous "Big Hill" from Field and over the pass. The grade was over 7%, the steepest mainline railway in North America. Going east, the heavy dining cars had to be removed from the train at Field, and extra helper engines put on to get over the pass. The Big Hill was replaced by the Spiral Tunnels in 1908. Today, the Trans-canada highway follows the original route of the Big Hill, and offers a lookout point between the upper and lower Spiral tunnel. This is a popular site with tour busses.

Even with the spiral tunnels, the Kicking Horse pass is not as efficient as the much lower Yellowhead pass which the Canadian National Railway uses east of Jasper. It takes over three times the locomotives to pull a train over the CPR route, as compared with the Yellowhead route.

The specified location here is the summit point on the CPR mainline, which is TRIM surveyed at 1635m. The actual natural ground level prior to the construction of the railway might have been a little lower.

Trip Reports within 1 km
57 2014.05.29 Cross Canada Road Trip (And Culture Exchange) Robin Tivy