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Yellowhead Pass #475
SaddleHeight: 1130 m (3707 ft)
Key Peak: Mount Robson
Lat Long: (from Mtn Saddle) 52.8900,-118.4600
Prominence (depth) is 2829m below Mount Robson.
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges

Yellowhead Pass crosses the continental divide from the drainage of the Athabasca river (Arctic Ocean) into the drainage of the Fraser River (Pacific Ocean). It is used by the Canadian National Railway and the Yellowhead Highway. It is the lowest railway pass across the Rocky Mountains in North America, almost 500 meters lower than the Canadian Pacific Railway going through Kicking Horse Pass. Canadian Pacific Railway used the Kicking Horse instead of Yellowhead because it was closer to the US border.

Having a lower pass meant that only 1/3 the locomotive power is required on the northern route. Yellowhead Pass is the route used by CN (Canadian National Railway) and the Yellowhead highway. The actual pass is about 1 km NW of the picnic area where the highway crosses the divide. There is also a pipeline through the pass.

History: Yellowhead pass was known to natives and fur traders in the 1800s. It was named Yellowhead in 1820 after a blond Metis trapper who guided for the Hudson's Bay Company. Although Sir Sanford Fleming recommended the Yellowhead for the original Canadian Pacific Railway built in 1885, the CPR did not use the pass, and instead used the higher Kicking Horse Pass to the south to ensure no rival railway could be built further south. However when the second and third transcontinental railways were built in 1909, both used the more efficient Yellowhead Pass. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and Canadian Northern Railway were merged into the Canadian National Railway in 1922. Once the northern railways were built, they began to promote Jasper and Mount Robson in the same manner as the CPR promoted Banff. The Yellowhead highway was not completed through the pass until after World War II.

Trip Reports within 1 km

Placename Photos
Gray Wolf in the Rockies David Wasserman