Field - Kicking Horse Pass - Spiral Tunnels
Just 29 Km (18 mi.) from the western boundary of Yoho National Park and just off Hwy 1 is the small town of Field. Field, for a time, was a very important railroad town; today Field is a popular base for outdoor adventure and in the future it will be very active as the home of a major museum and research centre.
When the CPR was built the route came through the Kicking Horse Pass. Between the Pass and Field was a grade known as the Big Hill. This grade was at 4.5 percent and the steepest in North America. Trains going up the hill required 4 extra engines to push while several runaway spur lines greeted the trains on their way down. You can find the remains of one of the many accidents by the Kicking Horse Campground.
The Spiral Tunnels finally replaced the "temporary" route after 25 years. From a highway viewpoint you can watch a train disappear into Mt. Ogden. The train then exits the 890m (.553 mi.) circular tunnel, crosses under the highway, and enters a 992m (.616 mi.) circular tunnel in Cathedral Crags. This new route adds 10km (6.2 mi.) but reduces the grade to 2.2 percent.
With several lodges that vary from 14 units to 85 units and that may have a cozy log cabin with fireplace or a family unit with kitchenettes, Field is a well located stopping point or base camp. Mountain climbing, hiking, cross-country skiing, ice-climbing, horseback riding, and canoeing are all activities you can partake in.
Just 11km away is Emerald Lake. Named for its stunning colour it is 6 km beyond Natural Bridge. The Kicking Horse River eroded solid rock to make this bridge.
Field's 300 residents will make you feel right at home and possibly explain the museum and research centre to be built because of the 530 million year old fossils found in the shale of Mt. Field. Enjoy the fresh air.