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Yellowhead Pass is a mountain pass across the Continental Divide of the Americas in the Canadian Rockies. It is located on the provincial boundary between the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and lies within Jasper National Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park.
Topological map of the proposed, never-built
Canadian Pacific Railway
line from East Selkirk to Kamloops, passing through the Yellowhead Pass.
Due to its modest elevation of 1,131 m (3,711 ft) and its gradual approaches, the pass was recommended by Sir
Sandford Fleming as a route across the Rocky Mountains for the planned Canadian Pacific Railway. This proposal was rejected in favour of a more direct and southerly route through the more difficult Kicking Horse Pass, opened in 1886. However, both the Grand Trunk Pacific and Canadian Northern Railways used the Yellowhead Pass for their main lines built circa 1910–1913, and the main line of their successor, the Canadian National Railway, still follows the route. Via Rail's premier passenger train, the , uses the CN tracks as does the Canadian Jasper – Prince Rupert train and the Jasper section of the . The pass is now also traversed by the Rocky Mountaineer Yellowhead Highway.
It is believed that the pass was named for Pierre Bostonais (nicknamed
, French for "yellow head", because of his blond hair), an Tête Jaune Iroquois- Métis trapper employed as a guide by the Hudson's Bay Company. Bostonais led one of the first expeditions for the company to what is now the interior of B.C. through the pass in 1820.
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