Where is Cranbrook?

Cranbrook, looking east to the Rocky Mountains.
Photo Courtesy of Janice Strong

Regional Location Map in North American context

Regional Location Map with Cities

Brief Information on Location of Cranbrook in the Canadian Rocky Mountains

  • The City of Cranbrook, (population 20,000) is located in the south-east part of the Province of British Columbia, facing the west side of the Southern Canadian Rockies about 25 km (15 miles) away. In this respect it is often considered a major "Gateway to the Canadian Rocky Mountains."

  • Mt. Fisher, the highest peak in the immediate area, rises to 9,300 feet above see level in this part of the mountain range. The city is actually located in a basin just to the west of the widest part of the great "Rocky Mountain Trench", hence it has a long period of sunlight compared to other cities in the mountains.


  • The City itself is one of the higher cities in BC, at 3,000 feet above sea level, a fact not often noticed when arriving from any direction since the climb is slow over several hundred miles. The City of Kimberley, 20 miles to the north-west rises to 4,000 above sea-level, one of the highest in Canada. A relatively dry climate with intense sunlight is the result.

  • According to Statistics Canada, which measured weather patterns at the Cranbrook Regional Airport, the City has the second highest number of sunshine hours per year in Canada, exceeded only by south-central Saskatchewan in the prairies about 600 miles to the east.

Columbia Wetlands

  • The Purcell range of the Columbia Mountains rise to the west of Cranbrook, and the Kootenay River, the largest tributary of the Columbia River, runs southwards about 10 miles east of the City in the Rocky Mountain Trench.

  • The Columbia River itself begins about 80 km (50 miles) north of the City, and flows northward before turning south to enter the USA. One of the world’s longest natural "Wetlands" runs along the Columbia and Kootenay rivers. Cranbrook is the major city in the "Columbia Drainage Basin" in Canada.

Major Highways

  • Provincial Highway 3, the major southern Provincial Arterial Highway runs through the city connecting Vancouver to Medicine Hat on the Trans-Canada Highway in Alberta.

  • International Highway 95, runs from Yuma, Arizona, through Las Vegas, Coeur d’Alene Idaho, through the major customs and immigration port of Kingsgate/Porthill, then through Cranbrook to Radium Hot Spring and Banff National Park about 300 km (180 miles).

  • International Highway 93, also starting in southern Arizona, winds its way north through eastern Nevada, Missoula, Montana and into Canada at Roosville, then bypasses Cranbrook about 5 miles east of the city where it joins Highway 95 to run north.

Nearest Large Cities

  • The nearest very large City is Calgary, Alberta (population 1 million) about 400 km (260 miles) to the north-east on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. This city is reached by either the southerly Crowsnest Pass or by the more northerly passes into Banff National Park and then to Calgary. Each route is about the same distance.

  • Vancouver. BC (1.7 million) is 830 km (530 miles to the west, and Spokane, WA., (200,000) is the closest large city about 300 km (180 miles) south.

Air and Bus Connections

  • Daily direct fights are out of the Cranbrook airport to Calgary or Vancouver.

  • Greyhound Bus Lines also have several runs per day to Vancouver, and via Banff or the Crowsnest Pass to Calgary and points east.

Nearby National Parks

  • Banff National Park is about 300 km (180 miles) to the north-east, and Jasper National Park further north again along highway 95/93. Kootenay National Park, and Yoho National Park are also on the way to Banff.

  • Waterton-Glacier International Park is about 250 km (150 miles) south-east in Montana or 200 km (120miles) east through the Crowsnest Pass into southern Alberta.

History of Cranbrook