Granting travelers passage through the rugged Canadian Rockies for centuries, Yellowhead Pass began as trade thoroughfare and today is a National Historic Site and a popular roadside stop. In addition to a plaque noting its historical significance, the site provides road-trippers with views of Mount Robson and the Fraser River Valley.
Set midway between Jasper and Mount Robson Provincial Park on Highway 16 (also known as Yellowhead Highway), Yellowhead Pass is a scenic waypoint that offers travelers the chance to pull over and enjoy the views. An informational plaque shares the story of how the pass got its name from a blonde fur trader who was nicknamed Tete Jaune (Yellow Head).
A historic trapping route and railway, today the pass is frequented by road-trippers, tour buses, and long-distance cyclists. You can also still travel the route by train, which provides scenic views without the traffic. The pass, which overlooks the Fraser River, is also a popular spot to stop for wildlife viewing. Keep an eye out for moose, bear, elk, caribou, and more.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Yellowhead Pass is the second-lowest highway pass in the Canadian Rockies and its 3,711-foot (1,131-meter) elevation makes it one of the easiest gateways into the range.
- Drive slow—wildlife is common along the roadway.
- The pass straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta and the transition from pacific time to mountain time.
- Have your camera ready, the photo opportunities are the highlight of the stop.
How to Get There
The pass is located within Jasper National Park, 5.5 miles (9 kilometers) west of Jasper on Highway 16. You can visit on your own or pass through on a group tour or passenger train. Choose a train or group tour if you want to enjoy the views without worrying about keeping an eye on the road.
When to Get There
While the most popular time to visit the area is in the summer, well-maintained roads and the relatively low elevation of the pass makes it accessible year-round.
Top Attractions Near Yellowhead Pass
The numerous outdoor attractions along Yellowhead Highway make the pass just one of the many places travelers are likely to pull off the road. East of the pass, you can explore Jasper National Park. There, just off the highway, you can find countless scenic overlooks, lakes, and hiking trails. West of the pass, don’t miss the chance to explore the trails and photo opportunities of Mount Robson.