The abandoned Big Bend Highway can still be seen in places along Lake Revelstoke. The moss creeps in and the #asphalt crumbles. This was one of our favourite places to explore this past summer.

Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.

5 replies on “Abandoned Highway”

    1. It was part of the Big Bend part of Highway 1 BC between Revelstoke and Golden. Now, HWY1 goes over Rogers Pass, and most of the big bend highway is underwater due to the Dams on the Columbia River, (Revelstoke Dam and Mica Dam).

      This piece is in Martha Creek Provincial Park, near Revelstoke.

  1. How many years since it was abandoned? I bet if there were decideous trees in stead dof evergreens then the highway would disappear much sooner.

    Where I live is a cul de sac and it was resurfaced about 14 years ago and each year I notice that the edges of the road are crumbling and leaves are being deposited and the road is getting narrower.
    What it needs is some community labour with hoes to push back the edges and clear them of the debris builiding there. Cracks are appearing and grass is taking over. And this is with cars passing daily to and from the few houses that are beyond my home.

    1. The Big Bend highway would have been abandoned when Revelstoke Dam went in, probably in the 80s. There are sections where the asphalt is crumbling into the lake, and there are other spots where the road just goes underwater.

      Many of the sections of the old highway that are above the waterline are recreational sites, perfect for camping.

      Janice, 14 years without ongoing maintenance will show on any road section. Preventative maintenance, minimizing the grass, filling in the cracks, and as needed asphalt overlays are the only way to continually extend the life of a road. If you don’t keep up the maintenance, the road will essentially need to be rebuilt, (at a much greater cost than if ongoing maintenance had been done).

  2. Haunting photo…..travelled this stretch of highway from Revelstoke to Mica Creek in summer 1977, before Revelstoke Dam was built. Strange to see it abandoned, gathering moss and disappearing under water.

    The original Big Bend Highway opened in June 1940. It followed the banks of the Columbia River, and was impassable during the winter and early spring. I have a road atlas published in 1961, and the highway is clearly shown as “unpaved” (i.e. gravel). After the Rogers Pass section of the Trans Canada opened in 1962, the old road was likely used only by logging trucks. In 1964-65, the Revelstoke-Mica Creek portion was upgraded–and some stretches realigned–to accommodate traffic to the Mica Dam project. Between 1979 and 1982, most of the highway up from Revelstoke was moved to higher ground due to anticipated flooding from Revelstoke Dam.

    The upper portion of the old highway (Mica Dam to Golden) was wiped out by Mica Dam as of 1973. The original Revelstoke-to-Mica Creek section was abandoned prior to 1983, when Revelstoke Dam became operational.


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