Rogers Pass National Historic Site

Glacier National Park, British Columbia

Summit of Rogers Pass, BC

The Rogers Pass has been used for thousands of years to cross the interior of what is now British Columbia, Canada. The route winds through the mountainous beauty of Glacier National Park and is the main east-west corridor between Revelstoke and Golden, BC.

Near the summit (elevation 1330m/4363 feet), visitors will find the park's main interpretive centre, a monument to this civil engineering achievement and a memorial to the worst avalanche disaster in Canadian history.

In the summer, the majestic beauty of the towering peaks and stoic glaciers is prominently on display. In the winter, the landscape is just as spectacular but the heavy snowfall (over 10m/30 ft) poses serious avalanche threats to motorists. Avalanches are common in the Rogers Pass; there are 5 snow-sheds along the TransCanada Highway to protect the roadway from snow slides.

In addition to keeping the highway open during the winter, Parks Canada & the Department of Defense regularly induce controlled avalanches with the use of military artillery. This 'slopes adjustment' program is the largest mobile avalanche-control program in the world.

The treacherous snow conditions prompted the Canadian Pacific Railway to open an 8 kilometer tunnel in 1916 through the Rogers Pass to avoid service interruptions. This was later replaced in 1988 by the 14.7 kilometer Mount MacDonald Tunnel, one of the longest tunnels in North America.

History of the Rogers Pass

The Rogers Pass was named after Major A.B. Rogers who, on behalf of the CPR, was the first European to discover the route through the Selkirk Mountains. In 1882, he and his team confirmed the route between Golden and Revelstoke, BC. The rail line was complete by 1885 but was quickly shut down in winter due to numerous avalanches in the valley.

On March 4, 1910, the worst avalanche in Canadian history took place in the Rogers Pass and claimed the lives of 62 people, many of them Japanese labourers. Today, the sacred site is commemorated at the monument near the summit as well as along the Abandoned Rail Trail.

Location

Rogers Pass is located 71 kilometers east of Revelstoke and 81 kilometers west of the town of Golden, BC. While it may feel like you're way up high, it's actually not the highest point on the TransCanada Highway.


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About The Area

The remote location of the Rogers Pass means that there are few amenities. However, nature's beauty and outdoor adventures are plentiful!

  • Learn about the history of one of the great civil engineering feats in Canada at the Rogers Pass Discovery Center.

  • Bike or hike the Abandoned Rail Trail.

  • Stop at the Memorial Arch which commemorates the paving of the TransCanada Highway through the valley.

  • Glacier National Park, BC, was the second national park in Canada and has over 400 glaciers. The entire park has been designated as a national historic site.

  • There are plenty of hiking trails in this rugged park which become snowy, backcountry ski trails in the winter.

  • Even though this is a spectacular mountain park, it's not one of the more popular national parks due to its remote location and limited amenities. But it is well worth a trip to view the stunning scenery.

  • The closest downhill ski resorts are near Revelstoke and Golden, BC.

  • In winter & spring, the TransCanada Highway is often subjected to delays and closures due to road conditions and avalanche control.

Many people simply drive through the Rogers Pass on their way to another destination - while the scenery is still amazing from the car, time-permitting, it's worthwhile to get out and enjoy the area if you can.

There are lots of things to discover in British Columbia! Visit more roadside attractions (they range from historic to just plain weird) ... try some interesting hikes or outdoor activities ... or take a leisurely drive and visit some beautiful scenic spots. There's lots to see!