Traffic continues to increase on the Trans-Canada Highway. This creates additional year-round challenges in managing the highway and even more so in winter. Safety is the top priority. There are 135 avalanche paths that can affect the transportation corridor in the 43-km stretch through Glacier National Park. Safe stopping and parking areas are extremely limited in winter. Over the last few years, the combination of increased overall traffic volumes on the Trans-Canada Highway through Glacier National Park, and large transport trucks stopped or parked in the Rogers Pass summit area has elicited safety concerns from commercial drivers, the travelling public, and Parks Canada staff. Several measures were considered and implemented but issues persist. As a next step, the decision was made to implement a stopping restriction that will go into effect in fall, 2023. We would like to ensure that commercial vehicle drivers know where they can stop safely and are aware of parking restrictions in the Rogers Pass area. Currently these restrictions apply to all vehicles:
- Most sections of the highway through the Rogers Pass summit area are already no stopping zones due to avalanche hazard.
- Parking on the highway shoulder throughout the park is both dangerous and illegal, except in an emergency.
- In Rogers Pass, parking is prohibited along the service road by the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre as the area is required to safely hold traffic in the event of highway closures.
- Parking is prohibited in the 16-gun positions along the highway corridor (gun rings are used to anchor the Howitzers during avalanche control operations).
- NRC Gully Trailhead Parking, often used by eastbound trucks, is a restricted parking area due to avalanche control operations. Entry is prohibited during avalanche control activities.
- Overnight parking and sleeping in vehicles are prohibited in Glacier National Park except in designated campgrounds or with a permit in designated areas (for overnight backcountry users).
In addition to the previously mentioned current considerations, the parking lots at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre and washroom building were not designed to accommodate large transport trucks. They were designed to welcome visitors to the national park and national historic site travelling in personal vehicles, camping units or buses.
What is happening:
To tie all these safety and operational considerations together in a clear format, a stopping restriction for commercial transport trucks is being implemented in the Rogers Pass summit area of Glacier National Park. Commercial transport trucks are not permitted to stop in Rogers Pass between Sir Donald rest area (7.8 km west) and Beaver Valley chain-up area (11 km east) except for chain removal in winter on designated areas of the highway shoulder. Two alternative safe stopping and parking areas are available. These two areas will be maintained (plowing, cleaning, etc.) as operations allow (the priority is always the Trans-Canada Highway itself), and improvements are being considered.
Recommended safe 30-minute stopping areas in Glacier National Park:
- Sir Donald rest area and chain up – 7.8 km west of Rogers Pass Summit
- East Glacier rest area – 17.3 km east of Rogers Pass Summit
Please note it is already prohibited through the winter months to stop along most of the highway corridor through Rogers Pass. If you need to stop for an emergency, be aware of avalanche no stopping areas. Move to a safe area if you can or stay in your vehicle and call for assistance.
Stopping is prohibited due to safety and traffic management considerations.
These reminders and measures are being implement for the safety of commercial truck drivers and other highway travellers. We want to ensure that everyone understands where they can safely stop and park in Glacier National Park, especially in winter.
The summit area of Rogers Pass is a key visitor node for Glacier National Park and Rogers Pass National Historic Site. In summer, the area can become quite congested with vehicles and pedestrians, and clear sightlines need to be maintained for vehicles merging onto the highway from the visitor centre and day use areas.
In winter, large areas need to be kept clear as they are required 24/7 for safe vehicle parking during highway closures. To keep these areas as large as possible, the parking and service road need to be empty overnight for snow removal.