The Crowsnest Highway is an east-west highway in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. It stretches 1,161 km (721 mi) across the southern portions of both provinces, from Hope, British Columbia to Medicine Hat, Alberta, providing the shortest highway connection between the Lower Mainland and southeast Alberta through the Canadian Rockies. The mostly two-lane highway was officially designated 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 highway is entirely in mountainous regions and is also known as the Southern Trans-Provincial Highway. The first segment between the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 5A is locally known as the Hope-Princeton Highway, and passes by the site of the Hope Slide. In Alberta, terrain is initially mountainous, before smoothing to foothills and eventually generally flat prairie in the vicinity of Pincher Creek. The highway forms part of the Red Coat Trail and the CANAMEX Corridor from Highway 2 near Fort Macleod to Highway 4 in Lethbridge.
The Crowsnest Highway's total length in British Columbia is 838 km (521 mi), and its total length within Alberta is 323 km (201 mi). The Crowsnest Highway's western terminus is at Hope, where it branches off from Highway 1. The highway goes east for 7 km (4.3 mi) to its junction with Highway 5, then through Allison Pass and Manning Provincial Park for 127 km (79 mi) towards the Town of Princeton. There are several significant ascents in this stretch between Hope and Princeton. The first is the steep climb to the Hope Slide, followed later by the remainder of the climb up to Allison Pass at an elevation of 1,342 m (4,403 ft). After the summit of Allison Pass, where the Crowsnest crosses from the Fraser Valley Regional District into the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, the road descends for 40 km (25 mi) before beginning another long climb up Sunday Summit (1,284 m (4,213 ft)). Soon after Sunday Summit is the descent into Princeton, where Highway 5A begins.
After Princeton, the Crowsnest goes southeast for 67 km (42 mi), through Hedley, to the Village of Keremeos, where a junction with a length of highway designated as 3A is located, leading towards Penticton and Highway 97. Another 46 km (29 mi) southeast, and the Crowsnest reaches the Town of Osoyoos and a junction with Highway 97. The highway then proceeds to hug the Canada–US border east through a stretch of switchbacks known as Anarchist Mountain, which is also the name of the upland rural community beyond the summit. A few kilometres east of Anarchist Mountain, the Crowsnest enters the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.
52 km (32 mi) east of Osoyoos, the Crowsnest reaches its junction with Highway 33 at Rock Creek, then the highway heads east for 70 km (43 mi) to its junction with Highway 41 at a location called Carson, just west of Grand Forks. Another 26 km (16 mi) east, passing through Grand Forks en route, the Crowsnest meets Highway 395 at the southern end of Christina Lake.
Further east from Christina Lake, the Crowsnest travels for 47 km (29 mi) through Bonanza Pass to its junction with Highway 3B at Nancy Greene Lake, which is the cutoff to the town of Rossland and Red Mountain Resort, shortly thereafter crossing into the Regional District of Central Kootenay. It is another 26 km (16 mi) east from Nancy Greene Lake to the junction with Highway 22 at Castlegar, and another 2 km (1.2 mi) east to a junction with another stretch of Highway designated as 3A, also within Castlegar. Leaving Castlegar, the Crowsnest reaches its eastern junction with Highway 3B 26 km (16 mi) east. Highway 6 converges with the Crowsnest at Salmo, 11 km (6.8 mi) east of the 3B junction, and the two highways proceed south for 14 km (8.7 mi) to the Burnt Flat Junction, where Highway 6 diverges south.
East of Burnt Flat, the Crowsnest heads through the Kootenay Pass on a stretch known as the Kootenay Skyway, or Salmo-Creston Skyway. 67 km (42 mi) east of Burnt Flat, the Crowsnest reaches the Town of Creston, just past junctions with Highway 21 and Highway 3A. 40 km (25 mi) later, south of Yahk, Highway 95 merges onto the Crowsnest. The two highways share a common alignment for 72 km (45 mi) northeast along the Moyie River, crossing into the Regional District of East Kootenay along the way, to a junction with Highway 95A at Cranbrook. Another 6 km (3.7 mi) east, Highway 95 diverges north from the Crowsnest and Highway 93 merges onto the Crowsnest from the north. Highway 93 and the Crowsnest share a common alignment for the next 53 km (33 mi) southeast to Elko, where Highway 93 diverges south. 31 km (19 mi) north of Elko, the Crowsnest reaches Fernie, then it goes north another 30 km (19 mi) to its junction with Highway 43 at Sparwood, and another 19 km (12 mi) east, the highway reaches the boundary with Alberta at Crowsnest Pass.
The Alberta portion of the Crowsnest Highway is also designated as Highway 3, running for approximately 323 km (201 mi) from the British Columbia border to Medicine Hat. It begins in Crowsnest Pass paralleling the Canadian Pacific Railway, first meeting Highway 40 at Coleman, then running 26 km (16 mi) east to the southern terminus of Highway 22. Highway 6 splits south near Pincher Creek. Approximately 50 km (31 mi) east of Pincher Creek, the highway becomes divided and interchanges with Highway 2 with which it is briefly concurrent, assuming the designation of the Red Coat Trail and CANAMEX Corridor. It proceeds for 5 km (3 mi) into the town of Fort Macleod, after which Highway 2 splits south to Cardston and the United States border. Highway 3 then crosses the Oldman River east of Fort Macleod near Monarch, prior to a partial interchange with Highway 23.
After Coalhurst, the highway reaches Westview Drive W, which provides access to West Lethbridge. It then becomes a freeway named Crowsnest Trail as it reaches Highway 25 which branches north to Picture Butte while University Drive runs south to the University of Lethbridge as the main thoroughfare through West Lethbridge. Highway 3 again crosses the Oldman River in central Lethbridge and the freeway segment ends at Mayor Magrath Drive, marking the northern terminus of Highway 5. The highway meets the northern end of Highway 4 at the eastern limit of Lethbridge before continuing east to Coaldale and Taber. Within Taber, Highway 36 runs concurrently with Highway 3 for 3 km (2 mi). The highway reduces to a two-lane undivided road and the Crowsnest Highway ends 113 km (70 mi) later at the Trans-Canada Highway in Medicine Hat.
Alberta Transportation has long-term plans to upgrade the entire Highway 3 corridor to a freeway from the British Columbia border to Medicine Hat. The plans include the construction of a Lethbridge bypass to render the CANAMEX Corridor free-flowing through southern Alberta, in combination with proposed bypasses of Fort Macleod, Claresholm and Nanton. The route would split from Highway 3 west of Coalhurst and run east, bypassing Lethbridge and Coaldale to the north before rejoining the existing highway.
|Continues as BC 1 west (Trans-Canada Highway) to Vancouver|
|Fraser Valley||Hope||0.00||0.00||170||BC 1 east (Water Avenue) – Cache Creek, Kamloops, Prince George||Hope interchange
No westbound exit
West end of BC 5 concurrency.
|0.99||0.62||171||To BC 1 east (3 Avenue)||Westbound exit only|
|3.08||1.91||173||Old Hope-Princeton Way||Thacker Creek interchange
No westbound entrance
|||6.67||4.14||177||BC 5 north (Coquihalla Highway) – Merritt, Kelowna, Kamloops||Othello interchange
East end of BC 5 concurrency.
|BC 3 east to exits freeway using Exit 177.|
|E. C. Manning Provincial Park||25.04||15.56||West end of E. C. Manning Provincial Park (Manning Park).|
|↑ / ↓||58.02||36.05||Allison Pass – el. 1,342 m (4,403 ft)|
|Okanagan-Similkameen||83.00||51.57||East end of E. C. Manning Provincial Park (Manning Park).|
|||99.77||61.99||Sunday Summit – el. 1,284 m (4,213 ft)|
|Princeton||133.56||82.99||Vermillion Avenue, Burton Avenue|
|133.93||83.22||BC 5A north (Bridge Street) – Merritt, Kamloops|
|Keremeos||200.62||124.66||7 Avenue, 7 Street||BC 3 branches north.|
|201.11||124.96||BC 3A north – Apex Mountain Resort, Penticton||BC 3 branches east.|
|||225.63||140.20||Nighthawk Road – Nighthawk (WA)|
|Osoyoos||247.11||153.55||BC 97 (Okanagan Highway) to US 97 south – Penticton, Kelowna, U.S. Border, Wenatchee (WA)|
|248.23||154.24||Main Street, Spartan Drive, 83 Street||BC 3 branches south, then turns east.|
|248.80||154.60||Osoyoos Trestle Bridge across Osoyoos Lake|
|Kootenay Boundary||Rock Creek||299.12||185.86||BC 33 north (Beaverdell Highway) – Big White Ski Resort, Kelowna|
|||368.53||228.99||BC 41 south to SR 21 south – U.S. Border|
|Grand Forks||372.32||231.35||19 Street|
|||392.10||243.64||BC 395 south to US 395 south – U.S. Border, Spokane (WA)|
|Christina Lake||394.55||245.16||West Lake Drive, Swanson Road|
|||406.39||252.52||Bonanza Pass – el. 1,535 m (5,036 ft)|
|Nancy Greene Provincial Park||441.53||274.35||BC 3B east – Rossland, Trail|
|Central Kootenay||Castlegar||467.95||290.77||BC 22 south / Columbia Avenue – Rossland, Trail||Kinnaird interchange|
|468.15||290.89||20 Street, 6 Avenue to BC 22||Westbound only|
|468.78||291.29||Crosses Columbia River|
|469.21||291.55||BC 3A east – West Kootenay Regional Airport, Nelson||Ootischenia interchange|
|||495.67||308.00||BC 3B east – Trail, Rossland|
|Salmo||506.07||314.46||BC 6 north – Nelson, Nakusp, Vernon||West end of BC 6 concurrency|
|||520.23||323.26||BC 6 south to SR 31 – U.S. Border||East end of BC 6 concurrency.|
|||543.27||337.57||Kootenay Pass – el. 1,774 m (5,820 ft)|
|||582.34||361.85||Crosses Kootenay River|
|Creston||585.08||363.55||BC 21 south to SH-1 – U.S. Border|
|586.50||364.43||BC 3A north – Kootenay Bay, Kootenay Lake Ferry, Nelson||BC 3 branches south.|
|589.30||366.17||10 Avenue N, Cook Street||BC 3 turns east.|
|Yahk||626.59||389.34||BC 95 south to US 95 – U.S. Border, Coeur d'Alene (ID)||West end of BC 95 concurrency|
|East Kootenay||Cranbrook||695.07||431.90||King Street, 9 Avenue S|
|695.89||432.41||6 Street N|
|696.80||432.97||Victoria Avenue, Theatre Road|
|698.05||433.75||22 Street N|
|698.91||434.28||BC 95A north – Canadian Rockies Int. Airport, Kimberley||Cranbrook interchange|
|||704.34||437.66||BC 93 / BC 95 north – Fort Steele, Invermere, Radium Hot Springs||Fort Steele interchange; east end of BC 95 concurrency; west end of BC 93 concurrency|
|||730.34||453.81||Wardner Bridge across Kootenay River|
|Elko||760.08||472.29||BC 93 south to US 93 – U.S. Border, Kalispell (MT)||West end of BC 93 concurrency.|
|||788.75||490.11||Mount Fernie Park Road – Fernie Alpine Resort|
|Sparwood||821.32||510.34||Red Cedar Drive|
|821.89||510.70||BC 43 north (Elk Valley Highway) – Elkford|
|||841.29||522.75||Alberta – British Columbia border
Crowsnest Pass – el. 1,358 m (4,455 ft)
|Continues as Alberta Highway 3 east|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
|Continues as British Columbia Highway 3 west|
|||0||0.0||Alberta – British Columbia border
Crowsnest Pass – el. 1,358 m (4,455 ft)
|Coleman||16||9.9||Hwy 40 north (Forestry Trunk Road)|
|Blairmore||18||11||20 Avenue east|
|21||13||20 Avenue west|
|Frank||24||15||153 Street||Passes Frank Slide|
|Bellevue||26||16||9 Avenue / 213 Street||Access to Hillcrest|
|||30||19||East Hillcrest Drive||Access to Hillcrest|
|M. D. of Pincher Creek No. 9||Burmis||35||22||Hwy 507 south – Beaver Mines|
|||40||25||Hwy 3A east|
|||42||26||Hwy 22 north – Longview, Black Diamond, Turner Valley|
|||48||30||Hwy 3A west|
|Cowley||52||32||Hwy 510 north|
|Pincher Station||62||39||Hwy 6 south / 3rd Avenue – Pincher Creek, Waterton Park, U.S. Border|
|Piikani I.R. 147||Brocket||77||48||Hwy 786 south|
|M. D. of Willow Creek No. 26||||104||65||Hwy 810 south – Glenwood|
|||105||65||Divided highway begins|
|Fort Macleod||106||66||Hwy 2 north (Exit 89) – Calgary||Western end of Hwy 2 concurrency|
|108||67||One-way road pair begins|
|109||68||Hwy 811 north (6 Avenue)|
|110||68||One-way road pair ends|
|111||69||Hwy 2 south – Cardston, U.S. Border|| Red Coat Trail concurrency begins
Eastern end of Hwy 2 concurrency
|||132||82||Hwy 3A east to Hwy 23 north – Monarch, Vulcan||Eastbound access to Hwy 23.|
|↑ / ↓||||134||83||Crosses Oldman River|
|Lethbridge County||||138||86||Hwy 3A west / Hwy 23 north – Monarch, Vulcan||Partial interchange
Westbound exit, eastbound entrance
|Kipp||146||91||Hwy 509 south / UAR 205 north – Stand Off|
|Coalhurst||148||92||51 Avenue||Coalhurst access road|
|City of Lethbridge||151||94||Westside Drive W||Partial interchange; Eastbound exit, westbound entrance
Unsigned Hwy 3A
|153.1||95.1||Hwy 25 north / University Drive W south – West Lethbridge, Picture Butte||Interchange|
|155.0||96.3||Bridge Drive W (Former Hwy 3A west)||Interchange|
|155.4||96.6||Crosses Oldman River|
|155.6||96.7||Access road to Oldman River valley|
|156.1||97.0||5 Avenue N (to Scenic Drive)||Eastbound exit, westbound entrance|
|156.3||97.1||1 Avenue S to Hwy 4 / Hwy 5 – City Centre||Eastbound exit only|
|156.8||97.4||Scenic Drive||Westbound exit, eastbound entrance|
|158.5||98.5||13 Street||Westbound to northbound exit only|
|159.2||98.9||19 Street (to 3 Avenue S)||Eastbound exit/entrance|
|159.4||99.0||Mayor Magrath Drive (Hwy 5 south) – Lethbridge Airport, Cardston|
|161.4||100.3||1 Avenue S to Hwy 4 south / Hwy 512 east||Eastbound exit only|
|161.8||100.5||43 Street (Hwy 4) to I‑15 south / Hwy 843 north – Coutts, U.S. Border, Great Falls (MT)||Red Coat Trail and CANAMEX Corridor concurrencies follow Hwy 4 south|
|Lethbridge County||Coaldale||173||107||Hwy 845 (20 Street) – Lomond, Raymond|
|M. D. of Taber||||198||123||Hwy 3A east – Barnwell|
|||202||126||Hwy 3A west – Barnwell|
|Taber||207||129||Hwy 864 north (Park Road) – Vauxhall|
|208||129||Hwy 36 south – Warner||Hwy 36 concurrency begins.|
|210||130||Hwy 36 north (64 Street) – Vauxhall, Brooks||Hwy 36 concurrency ends.|
|211||131||Divided highway ends|
|Grassy Lake||242||150||Hwy 877 south – Skiff|
|County of Forty Mile No. 8||Burdett||254||158||Main Street||Passes through Burdett|
|||260||160||Hwy 879 – Foremost|
|Bow Island||266||165||Centre Street||Passes through Bow Island|
|||285||177||Hwy 885 south – Etzikom|
|Cypress County||Seven Persons||301||187||Hwy 887 south – Orion|
|City of Medicine Hat||321||199||Hwy 523 west (Holsom Road SW)|
|322||200||Viscount Avenue SW – Medicine Hat Airport|
|323||201|| Hwy 1 (TCH) – Calgary, Swift Current, Regina
Hwy 41A east (Gershaw Drive SW) – Downtown Medicine Hat
|Interchange; Hwy 3 ends.|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- Dewdney Trail
- Kettle Valley Railway (southern mainline of the CPR)
- CANAMEX Corridor
- Pan-American Highway
- Red Coat Trail
- Google (October 31, 2016). "Crownest Highway in Alberta" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
- "National Highway System". Transport Canada. December 13, 2009. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
- "Provincial Highways 1 - 216 Progress Chart" (PDF). Alberta Transportation. March 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- Google (October 31, 2016). "Crownest Highway in British Columbia" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
- "Highways 1 & 3 Network Functional Planning Study - Future Realignment - City of Medicine Hat - Executive Summary" (PDF). Stantec. Alberta Transportation. November 20, 2008. p. 5. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
...Alberta Transportation strives for a higher standard of roadway, and therefore seeks to protect the future Highways 1 and 3 for a 130 km/h design speed (110 km/h posted speed).
- "Highway 3:14 Functional Planning Study - West of Burdett to West of Seven Persons" (PDF). ISL Engineering and Land Services. Alberta Transportation. June 2013. p. 1. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 23, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
In the mid-2000s, Alberta Transportation (AT) identified the entirety of Highway 3 as part of the newly-designated freeway system.
- "Highways 3 & 4 - Lethbridge and Area NHS & NTSC Functional Planning Study - Final Report" (PDF). Stantec Consulting Ltd. Alberta Transportation. February 2006. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
- Super, Natural British Columbia Road Map & Parks Guide (Map) (2010-2011 ed). Davenport Maps Ltd. in co-operation with Tourism British Columbia. § L-9, § L-10, § L-11, and § L-12.
- British Columbia Road Atlas (2007 ed.). Oshawa, ON: MapArt Publishing Corp. pp. 69-75.
- Nicol, Matthew; Horel, Steve (July 2015). "Landmark Kilometre Inventory" (PDF). British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Cypher Consulting. pp. 74–113.
- Alberta Official Road Map (Map) (2010 ed.). Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation. § N-5, N–6, N-7, N–8.