Yellowhead Highway

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Yellowhead Highway
(Highway 16)
Route information
Length: 2,960 km (1,840 mi)
Existed: 1962[citation needed] – present
Major junctions
From: Masset
To: Winnipeg
Major cities: Prince Rupert, Prince George, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg
Highway system
Trans-Canada Highway

The Yellowhead Highway is a major east-west highway connecting the four western Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Although part of the Trans-Canada Highway system, the highway should not be confused with the more southerly, originally-designated Trans-Canada Highway. The highway was officially opened in 1970.[1] In the 1980s the green and white Trans-Canada logo began to be used to designate the roadway.[citation needed]

The main Yellowhead Highway has been designated as Highway 16 for its entire length since 1977. Prior to this, only the Alberta and British Columbia portions of the highway were designated with this number. The Manitoba portion from the Trans Canada Highway 10 km west of Portage la Prairie to the Saskatchewan border was designated as Highway 4, while the Saskatchewan portion (which was redesignated as Highway 16 in 1976) had two numbers designated. From the Manitoba border to Saskatoon, the highway was designated as Highway 14 while the portion from Saskatoon to Lloydminster and the Alberta border was designated as Highway 5. Prior to the opening of the Yellowhead Highway, Highways 5 and 14 both ran the width of Saskatchewan - the respective eastern and western portions of these highways retain their original designations.

A road crew of interned Japanese Canadian men working on constructing the highway in 1942.

The highway is named for the Yellowhead Pass, the route chosen to cross the Canadian Rockies. The pass, and the highway are named after a fur trader and explorer named Pierre Bostonais. He had yellow streaks in his hair, and was nicknamed "Tête Jaune" (Yellowhead).

In the west, the highway begins at Masset, British Columbia on Haida Gwaii, heading south along Graham Island for 101 km to Skidegate. It then connects via a 172 km-long ferry route to Prince Rupert, then passes southeastward for 724 km through to Prince George, then goes another 268 km through to Tête Jaune Cache, enters Alberta through the Rocky Mountains near Jasper (100 km from Tête Jaune Cache), and passes through Edmonton another 366 km later, and Saskatoon 532 km later, before meeting the main Trans-Canada Highway 1 near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, 697 km from Saskatoon. It then overlaps the TCH into Winnipeg. Officially, the eastern end of the Yellowhead Highway is at the corner of Portage Avenue and Main Street in Winnipeg. The total length of the Yellowhead Highway, including ferries, is 2,960 km.

The highest point on the highway, at 1163.9 m, is Obed Summit near Obed, Alberta.[2]

A spur of the Yellowhead Highway, Highway 5, also known as the Southern Yellowhead Highway, connects the main highway at Tête Jaune Cache, British Columbia midway between the Alberta-British Columbia border and Prince George. The highway continues past Kamloops before following the Coquihalla Highway to Hope. Unlike Highway 16, route 5 is not branded as being part of the Trans-Canada system and retains the original Yellowhead signage (whereas Highway 16 uses the Trans-Canada Highway logo).

The Yellowhead Highway Association has been lobbying to continue the Southern Yellowhead Highway designation past Hope to Abbotsford. This would cause the segment of the Trans Canada Highway between Hope and Abbotsford to have a dual designation.

Yellowhead Highway sign

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Jasper National Park - History - The Yellowhead Highway
  2. ^ Road sign at Obed Summit at 53°31′44″N 117°16′16″W / 53.52897°N 117.27124°W / 53.52897; -117.27124 (Obed Summit)