Kootenay Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.775m (5,823ft) above the sea level, located in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia, Canada.
The road over the pass, also known as the Salmo-Creston, is asphalted. It’s called Highway 3 (Crowsnest Highway). The road's winding design, providing stunning panoramic views, is very curvy and fun for a leisurely ride, so it pays to take it slow. It’s one of the highest highway-served passes in Canada that is open year-round, although it is frequently closed in bad weather for avalanche control and clearing of debris.
The pass is the highest point of Highway 3. It’s famous for early and late season snow. A sudden drop in the temperature, even in summer, can trigger winter-like conditions. It was the highest when it was built but has long since been surpassed by Highway 40 over Highwood Pass in Kananaskis Country in Alberta (7,237 ft/2.206 m). Highwood Pass wins by 1,419 ft or 432 m.
The road encompasses miles of stunning views through twisty hair pin corners, high elevations and steep grades. At the summit, don’t forget to visit the awesome Bridal Lake. There are 2 routes to reach the summit. Starting from Creston, the ascent is 40 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1.154 meters and the average percentage is 2.9 %. It’s a long beautiful route through one a grand region of big lakes and steep mountains. The route winds its way at a moderate grade until the last section that kicks up to 7.4%. As part of a loop through Nelson BC starting in Creston, this climb starts it off with a bang. And starting from Burnt Flats, the ascent is 23.1 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1.134 meters and the average percentage is 4.9 %. It’s a more arduous ascent than the eastern slope due to the aspect and the even grade from start to finish.
Cutting the frozen half of the Rocky Mountains in western Canada, the road over the pass connects some remote towns. Every year the road is hit by hundreds of avalanches. 1.600 vehicles every week go through this road.