A Winter Drive Across the Canadian Rockies – Photos & Tips
A few days ago John and I did yet another drive across the Canadian Rockies – though this time in the dead of winter.
Luck was on our side – and it really needs to be to get over Coquihalla Pass and Rogers Pass safely. In snowy or blowy conditions the white knuckle death grip on the steering wheel for hours on end gets old in a hurry.
Images – mostly shot from a moving car – of the Canadian Rockies in all their winter glory plus a few on the way to Revelstoke will give you a sense of how magnificent this drive can be under the right conditions.
Sparkling fields near Kamloops
Scenery near Salmon Arm
Craigellachie - the location of the Last Spike on the Canadian Pacific Railroad
Views past Revelstoke - heading east
Gorgeous mountain scenery
Huge avalanche chutes
Rogers Pass area - check out the size of the snowbanks
Rogers Pass area in the fall
Icicles on a grand scale
Inspiring mountain scenery
Mountains just west of Golden
Kicking Horse Ski Resort
Interesting rock cut - east of Golden
Sun setting east of Golden
More big mountain scenery - heading towards Field
Banff area scenery
Scenery east of Banff
The road into Calgary
Winter Driving Tips
It pays to be prepared on a drive across the Rockies. It took us 9 hours under excellent conditions to drive from Vancouver to Banff – with one 15 minute stop and two short gas breaks. Under bad conditions you could easily add another 3-6 hours, especially if the road gets closed for avalanche blasting near Rogers Pass – which it often does – for an hour or two at a time.
I would recommend packing the following for a winter drive.
- blankets or sleeping bags
- candles and matches
- cell phone and charger for the car
- warm clothes and winter boots
- extra windshield washer fluid; every third vehicle for at least half of the drive was a transport truck throwing off a lot of dirt
- jumper cables
- a spare tire that’s been recently checked
There are long stretches with no facilities – gas, food or lodging. If the visibility heads to zero, get off the highway and spend the night in a hotel. You can find accommodation in Merritt, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, Glacier Lodge at the top of Rogers Pass, Golden, Field, Lake Louise and Banff.
Although the weather forecast isn’t always right, it would pay to check it before heading out. It’s worth waiting a day if a big storm is forecast.
Does anyone have any other winter driving tips?
Vote for my article on WorldTravelist.com, sharing the best travel content on the web.