THE YEAR OF THE ROAD TRIP  - HIGHWAY 3 THE CROWSNEST HWY

The Crowsnest Highway, also known as the Interprovincial or, in British Columbia, the Southern Trans-Provincial, is an east-west highway, 1,161 km (721 mi) in length, through the southern parts of British Columbia and Alberta, providing the shortest highway connection between British Columbia's Lower Mainland and southeast Alberta. It is designated a core route in Canada's National Highway System,[1] and is designated as Highway 3 for its entire length.

The highway, which is mostly two lanes, was officially established in 1932, mainly following a mid-19th century gold rush trail originally traced out by an engineer named Edgar Dewdney. It takes its name from the Crowsnest Pass, the location at which the highway crosses the Continental Divide between British Columbia and Alberta.

In British Columbia, the first segment of the highway between the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 5A is locally known as the Hope-Princeton Highway. In Alberta, the highway forms concurrencies with both the Red Coat Trail and the CANAMEX Corridor from Highway 2 west of Fort Macleod to Highway 4 at the eastern limits of Lethbridge.

 

CROWSNEST HIGHWAY

Highway 3 runs from Hope, BC to Medicine Hat, Alberta and has some of the best scenery and is a drive worth while.


Hope, BC

Meander through the farmlands of the Fraser Valley, drive up the desert-like Fraser Canyon with its historic sites (part of the Ranchlands & Rivers Circle Route), or explore the lush, rain forested parks.

Activities include fishing, geocaching, mountain biking, swimming in alpine lakes, whitewater rafting, skiing – even flightseeing, as well as festivals that celebrate Hope's rich heritage and Aboriginal art galleries such as Ruby Creek and Muskwa Gallery.

The mountains and rivers characterize Hope's diverse hiking experience. There are easy trails that meander past the town's iconic chainsaw carvings and beside Hope's excellent riverside golf course, special walks for Rambo fans (this is where First Blood was filmed), as well as strenuous climbs to mountain tops.

 


 


Princeton, BC

Located at the confluence of the Tulameen and Similkameen rivers, with surrounding grasslands, forested highlands, lakes and nearby Cascade Mountains, Princeton is a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts.

People are drawn by its natural sights, parks and wildlife. They come to swim, paddle and fish in its waterways and to hike, mountain bike and cross-country ski the region's multitude of trails.

Others discover a different face of the town. Culture buffs visit Princeton to explore historic and heritage sites that tell of its fascinating First Nations traditions and colourful mining history. See curiously eroded hoodoos and the brilliant red cliff where First Nations people mined for ochre.

 

Osoyoos, BC

Osoyoos is a long-established resort town that takes full advantage of its location on the shores of Osoyoos Lake (reputed to be the warmest in Canada) and its climate with hot dry summers and short mild winters.

The lake, Osoyoos River, wetlands, surrounding grasslands and mountains provide myriad opportunities for water sports, hiking, biking, golf as well as wildlife viewing and bird watching. Osoyoos also offers ecological, aboriginal, cultural and family attractions, along with its spectacular desert sunsets.

There's lots more to Osoyoos than sunshine and beaches. Roadside fruit stands offer peaches, cherries and apples from the area's lush orchards. And more than 20 wineries beckon within 21km/13mi of the town centre.



 

Castlegar, BC

Castlegar offers access to a variety of seasonal activities both in town and in the surrounding Kootenay Rockies region.

Golfing, hiking, and cycling all take advantage of the area's rolling waterway-cut terrain. Wildlife viewing and camping are great options at Castlegar's parks.

Castlegar also plays a role in Doukhobor (Russian immigrants fleeing religious persecution in the early 20th century) history, which can be experienced at several heritage sites in town, including the Doukhobor Discovery Centre.

Play a round of golf at the championship Castlegar Golf Club or the family-friendly par-3 Little Bear Golf Resort. Take a guided ATV Tour through the mountains around Castlegar with Turtleback Adventures. Grab climbing gear and head for Kinnaird Bluffs. Local climbers say that Castlegar has some of the best rock climbing in BC.

Cranbrook, BC

Travel back in time on a heritage walking tour and explore the town's railway past. Don't miss a visit to the local ghost town Fort Steele.

Come summer, saddle up for a horseback riding vacation, hike, fish and enjoy outdoor festivals. In the winter try snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.

A visit to Cranbrook starts with a journey back in time. Climb aboard the vintage railcars of the Trans Canada Limited at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel on Van Horne Street South, and see just how luxurious train travel could be in the early part of the 20th century. Not far from the museum, explore the historic Baker Hill district with the self-guided Cranbrook Heritage Walking Tour, available from the Visitor Centre on Cranbrook Street North.

 



Crowsnest Pass, Alberta

This small slice through southwestern Alberta bursts with big stories to tell. And you’ll love it for the distinct character of its resilient people and haunting landscapes. 

Founded on coal mining, the five historic communities that make up the municipality of Crowsnest Pass are situated within a few minutes of each other and are great places to explore, not only for the history, but for the beautiful countryside, where the prairies reach for the mountains. 

Come to understand the tragedies, triumphs, booms and busts of Bellevue, Hillcrest, Frank, Blairmore and Coleman on this trip that can easily be done in a day. Drive, park, and take some historic hikes along the way. 

 



 

Lethbridge, Alberta
Picture a lawless 1869 whiskey trading fort patronized by shady characters of the Wild West. The Aboriginals had frequented the region for thousands of years, but it was the unruly trading post that spurred the Mounties to build a barracks nearby. The infamous origins of Lethbridge are now celebrated with an annual party.

Just over two hours southeast of Calgary lies this vibrant city steeped in history, culture and green spaces. The Oldman River winds through Lethbridge, and along its banks is an immense network of urban parks. Spanning the river is the longest and tallest railway bridge in the world, an impressive 1909 engineering feat.

Spend an evening at the theatre, ball game or rockin’ out to the live music scene. Grab your clubs and swing into action on a Lethbridge golf course. Join the locals for a barn dance, or get lost in a corn maze. Connect with Alberta’s Wild West, then and now.

Scoundrels. Serenity. Bridges. Birds of prey. Here’s your insider Lethbridge checklist!

 

Medicine Hat, Alberta 

Medicine Hat is a city of 61,180 people in southeast Alberta, Canada. It is approximately 169 km (105 mi) east of Lethbridge and 295 km (183 mi) southeast of Calgary. This city and the adjacent Town of Redcliff to the northwest are surrounded by Cypress County.

It is situated on the Trans-Canada Highway, the eastern terminus of the Crowsnest Highway, and the South Saskatchewan River. Nearby communities considered part of the Medicine Hat area include the Town of Redcliff (located immediately adjacent to the city's northwest boundary) and the hamlets of Desert Blume, Dunmore, Irvine, Seven Persons, and Veinerville. The Cypress Hills (including Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park) is a relatively short distance (by car) to the southeast of the city.