5 3 Reviews

Add your review

  • Address: Spiral Tunnels
  • Hours: Daily
Just west of the Canadian Rockies’ Continental Divide lies Yoho National Park, a beautiful land of jagged peaks and roaring rivers. Back in the late 19th century, however, the Canadian Pacific Railway company didn’t exactly see the beauty of Yoho. After all, the company had to figure out a way across the notorious Kicking Horse Pass and its perilous 1,000-foot drop from Wapta Lake to the plains just east of Field. Determining how to safely create one of the steepest railroad stretches in the world was no easy task. The original rail route had a dangerous 4 percent gradient, and it was a disaster. The first train crashed straight into a canyon, and it would be another 25 years before the CPR would build Spiral Tunnels.

Spiral Tunnels was completed in 1909 and remains a true feat of engineering: two vast tunnels running figure-eight loops through the snowcapped mountains. The upper tunnel cuts a swath through Cathedral Mountain for 1,000 yards, while the lower tunnel steers through Mt Ogden. By going around in loops, Spiral Tunnels double the length of this railroad stretch, reducing the gradient to a much safer 2 percent.

Watching two-mile-long freight trains rush through Spiral Tunnels is quite a sight. It takes a while to realize you’re not watching three different trains going in opposite directions, but instead, one long train looping over and under itself, deep into the mountains and up the valley to the Kicking Horse Pass.

Practical Info

Trains can run through the tunnels every 15 minutes or so in the summer, though be prepared to wait. There are many information plaques at the Lower Spiral Tunnel Viewpoint, five miles east of the town of Field in British Columbia and more information about Spiral Tunnels at the visitor center in town. 

Tours & Tickets

See all

Mountain Lakes and Waterfalls Day Trip from Calgary

4.5 star rating: Recommended 12 Reviews

Discover mountain lakes and waterfalls during this fabulous day tour. Visit Lake Louise, the "Jewel of the Canadian Rockies" with its backdrop of the ...  Read more

Location: Calgary, Canada
Duration: 14 hours (approx.)

From USD $140.72

2-Day Rocky Mountaineer Train Journey from Vancouver to Banff

Hop aboard the luxury Rocky Mountaineer train for a scenic journey through the majestic Canadian Rockies! This 2-day journey from Vancouver to Banff takes you ...  Read more

Location: Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $1,185.42

Mountain Lakes and Waterfalls Day Trip from Banff

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 40 Reviews

Experience the beauty of the Canadian Rockies, with its backdrop of the glistening Victoria Glacier, on a full-day guided coach tour from Banff. Marvel at ...  Read more

Location: Banff, Canada
Duration: 9 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $121.11

2-Day Rocky Mountaineer Train Journey from Banff to Vancouver

Hop aboard the luxury Rocky Mountaineer train for a scenic journey through the majestic Canadian Rockies! This 2-day journey from Banff to Vancouver takes you ...  Read more

Location: Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $1,185.42

5-Day Rail Tour of the Canadian Rockies: Vancouver to Jasper, Banff, Lake Louise and Kamloops Aboard the ‘Rocky Mountaineer’

4 star rating: Recommended 2 Reviews

Hop aboard the luxury Rocky Mountaineer train for an incredible 5-day, round-trip journey from Vancouver with two days aboard the Rocky Mountaineer, giving you ...  Read more

Location: Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 5 days (approx.)

From USD $2,352.25

See all Spiral Tunnels Tours & Tickets

Viator uses cookies to improve your experience on our website. Learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings | Close message