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ON Highway Itinerary Ignace to Thunder Bay along #17

What to See & Do Between Ignace and Thunder Bay?

Near Thunder Bay, this route passes the important fur trading for of Fort William, and the stunning Kakabeka Falls. As you move along the highway, you not only cross from Eastern to Central Time Zones, but the rivers (and you cross many of them) shift from flowing into the Great Lakes and the Atlantic to flowing up to Hudson’s Bay. You see stunning wilderness vistas, and drive through some very impressive rock cuts.

Here is the itinerary for the 247 km along #17 between Ignace and Thunder Bay:

Ignace Welcome Sign
Ignace was founded in 1879 and was a key water route to Lake of the Woods for early settlers. When the CPR was built through northern Ontario, it became a divisional point for taking on water and coal. Today is a jumping off point for prospectors and miners.

Raith - Atlantic-Arctic Watershed boundary

Raith – Atlantic-Arctic Watershed boundary

This area is traversed by waterways, which were much more convenient for travel and transportation by First Nations and early explorers, than cutting through the dense forests. The English River starts its westward path to the Winnipeg River into Hudson’s Bay, and was a major fur trading route into the area. Today, the river generates significant amounts of hydro power. Towns like Upsala are key points for visitors to get to the many fly-in fishing resorts in the area.

At Savanne Portage (there is a viewing spot on the south-west side of the highway) the timezone changes from Eastern to Central. At Raith, there is  high point (504 metres) where all water to the north flows to the Arctic (via Hudson’s Bay) and all waters to the south flows to the Atlantic (via the Great Lakes)

Kakabeka Falls are just west of Thunder Bay

Current River, flowing into lake Superior at Thunder BayEarly fur traders used a portage at Savanne Portage to connect east to Lac du Mielieu (near Raith) to the Kaministkwia River to complete a fur trading route between Lake of the Woods and Lake Superior, at Thunder Bay. Raith marks another Continental Divide, with points to the north and west flowing into Hudson’s Bay, and points to the southeast flowing to the Great Lakes and the Atlantic.

The highway passes Kakabeka Falls, where the Kaministiquia River plunges 40 metres into a gorge. Kakabeka is Ojibwa for “thundering waters”. According to legend, an invading party of Sioux Indians captured the daughter of the local Ojibwa chief who escaped by jumping over the falls, and warning her tribe to successfully fight off the Sioux.

Fort William Visitor Centre

Fort William Visitor Centre

As you near Thunder Bay from the west, you pass the Historic Fort William, where European fur traders traded with the First Nations bringing their furs in from the woodlands west of this point (and as far away as the prairies).  The fort was established by the Montreal-based North West Company in 1789, and became a Hudson’s Bay company fort after the firms amalgamated in 1821.

 

To the south of Thunder Bay is Mount McKay

Grain Elevators and Flour Mills, seen from Boulevard LakeThe soils from here to Thunder Bay are flat and have rich sandy soils, well suited to potato farming, as well as for forage crops fed to cattle, sheep and pigs. Before you reach the Thunder Bay Expressway on a high hill overlooking Lake Superior, which bypasses the city. From the Expressway you can see the Sleeping Giant peninsula jutting into Lake Superior.

Today, Thunder Bay is a key shipping point for prairie wheat, as indicated by the many grain elevators seen along the waterfront. Thunder Bay has two downtowns, on the southside is Fort William (go straight east from the Trans-Canada on Arthur Street)  or take the Harbour Expressway to the Intercity area (big box shopping) and commercial waterfront, and there is the Port Arthur downtown (accessed via Red River Road from the Thunder Bay Expressway, coming from the west or via Hodder Drive if approaching Thunder Bay from the east.

Thunder Bay - Grain Elevators on waterfront-sliver (Rod Brindley)
Thunder Bay - Grain Elevators on waterfront-sliver (Rod Brindley)

Elevation Chart: Ignace to Thunder Bay

Elevation Chart: Ignace to Thunder Bay
Elevation Chart: Ignace to Thunder Bay

Trans-Canada Highway Itinerary Map

Use mouse to drag/move map. Click on “+” or “” to zoom in or out. “Satellite” combines map & photo.
Note:

Itinerary Details

KM 
Highway Point & Features
Elev.
(metres)
 
Map
Add
Info
 
0 Junction Hwy 102, Dawson Rd (W), Red River Rd (E) (Thunder Bay 242.9

 

Highway 102 (Dawson Rd), west access to Highway 17 West.


Red River Rd, access to downtown North Ward (Port Arthur), 3.3 km to E of highway.


Gas stations to NW of junction: Petro-Canada, Canadian Tire, Sunys. Gas Stations to SE of junction: 7-Eleven.


Landmark Inn, 0.2 km NW of junction..


Prince Arthur Hotel, in downtown, 3.3 km from highway.


Ramada Hotel Thunder Bay, just NW of highway junction.


Kaylee’s Bed & Breakfast, downtown, 3.3 km E of highway.


Shoreline Motor Hotel, downtown, 3.4 km E of highway.


Old Country Motel, downtown, 3.4 km E of highway.


Thunder Bay Inn, 2.5 km NW of highway, via Dawson Rd.

1 Junction John St, access to Downtown North (Port Arthur), Casino, Marina (Thunder Bay)  239

 

2 Oliver Rd , access to Downtown North (Port Arthur), Casino, Marina (Thunder Bay)  218.2

 

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (Hospital), 1.5 km E of highway.


Lakehead University Campus, 2 km E of highway.


Venture Inn Thunder Bay, 4.4 km E of highway via 17B (Memorial Ave).


Venture Inn Thunder Bay, 4.4 km E of highway, via 17B/Memorial Ave).


Travelodge 4.4 km E of highway via 17B (Memorial Ave)..

5 Harbour Expressway (E) to Intercity shopping & services (Thunder Bay)  202.1

 

Confederation College campus., 1.4 km SE of highway, via Golf Links Rd.


Thunder Bay Golf & Country Club, 1 km E of highway.


Thunder Bay Art Gallery, on Confederation College campus.


Ridgecrest Willows B&B, 1.2 km E of highway..


Intercity Shopping Centre, 3.5 km E of highway.


12 screen multiplex movie theatre (only one in Thunder Bay), 3.5 km E of highway.


Days Inn & Suites Thunder Bay, 2 km E of highway via Sibley Dr.


Harbourfront and grain elevators, 4.5 km E of highway (se photos).

8 Arthur Street Market (N) (Thunder Bay)  199

 

Arthur Street Marketplace, shopping mall on NE side of intersection.
8 Neebing Ave (N) Valhalla Inn Rd (S), access to service and accommodation (Thunder Bay)  198.1

 

Shell gas station on SW corner of intersection.


Valhalla Inn Thunder Bay, 0.1 km to S of highway.

8 Neebing River crossing (Thunder Bay)  196.9

 

8.6 Junction: Highway 17 West and Thunder Bay Expressway (Highway 17 E) heading North (Thunder Bay 189.9

 

West-bound traffic make right turn here, to continue on #17. Eastbound traffic make left-turn here, to continue on #17…


Arthur Street W (17B), continues east into Thunder Bay’s South Ward (Fort William) downtown, about 4 km to E of highway, all services…


Highway 61 South, to Thunder Bay Airport, Fort William Indian Reserve, Mount McKay, and US border…


Thunder Bay International Airport (YQT), 1.3 km S of highway..


White Fox Inn, about 10 km S of highway, via 15th Sideroad and Mountain Rd.


Fort William Indian Reserve 52, about 6 km S of highway.


Best Western – Nor’Wester Resort Hotel, 9 km S of highway.


Loch Lomond ski resort, 12 km S of highway, via #61 and Loch Lomond Rd. downhill, cross-country, ski-jumping.


US border (Minnesota) 58 km S of highway.


Best Western Crossroads Motor Inn, just east of highway junction.


Airlane Hotel, just east of highway junction.


Victoria Inn, 0.5 km E of highway junction.


Travelodge Thunder Bay Airport, just east of Highway junction.


Comfort Inn by Journey’s End, just E of highway junction.


Archibald Arbor Bed & Breakfast. 3.8 km E of highway junction.


Ritz Motel, 1.8 km E of highway junction.


Kingsway Motel, 2.7 km E of junction via Kingsway.


Fort Motel and Variety, 3.4 km E of highway junction, via Kingsway.


Algma Lodge, downtown South Ward, 4.3 km E of highway, via 17B (May St).


Empire Hotel, downtown South Ward, 5.7 km E of highway.


Casino Thunder Bay, downtown North Ward, 5 km E of highway.


Historic Fort William Trading Post Historic Site, 7.6 km SW of junction, via Broadway Ave & King St.


Kaministiquia River and Industrial Area (see photos).


Duluth, MN (pop. 85,000) 307 km to S. Access to Interstate 35 South to Minneapolis-St Paul (total 545 km to S).

9 Parkdale Blvd (N) access to shopping, Morgan Ave (S), Thunder Bay Airport boundary (Thunder Bay)  199

 

10 Vanguard Ave (N), (Thunder Bay)  203

 

Thunder Bay Airport boundary to S, access to east via Highway 61.
11 Garden Ave 206.3

 

12 20th Sideroad (S) 210.9

 

12 Mapleward Rd (N) 210

 

13 Overpass Motel, S side of Highway 212.4

 

Overpass Motel on S side of highway.
14 25th Sideroad (N) 213.1

 

15 25th Sideroad (S) junction 217

 

Hwy 17 to the east of here is also Arthur St W.
17 Twin City Crossroads (Hwy 130) crossing 219.8

 

18.9 Vibert Rd (N), and WB access to Harbour Expressway back into Thunder Bay 221

 

19 Clergue St (N) 224.9

 

19.5 West access to Harbour Expressway, access to Vibert Rd (N), and to Intercity shopping area, Intercity industrial areas, harbourfront, and grain elevators. 223.7

 

21 Fraser Rd crossing 239

 

23 Railway underpass 242.9

 

25 McFarlane Rd crossing 244.1

 

28 Hwy 588 (S) Junction (Kakabeka Falls 269.7

 

River Rat Tubing, 1.5 km S of highway, on the Kamistoquia River (takes 2-3 hours)..

31 Happy Land Campground (Kakabeka Falls)  269.7

 

Happy Land Campground om E (westbound) side of highway. camping, cabins,…

33 Exit to Kakabeka Falls viewpoint (Kakabeka Falls)  281.6

 

Kakabeka Falls viewpoint, 0.6 km east of bridge over Kaministoquaia River (or just W of town)..


Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park, camping, hiking, watersports, open year-round. Park includes the river from the townsite upstream to the power dam…


Kakabeka Falls Generating Station, south of town, with intake dam, at N end of Provincial Park.


Kakabeka Falls Motor Hotel.

34 Junction Hwy 590 (W) to Bible Camp & camping, crossing river above falls (Kakabeka Falls)  266.1

 

36 Hunt Rd (W), pass Lake to E 299.6

 

40 Lundstrom Rd crossing 395

 

43 Mokomon Rd crossing 395.6

 

47 Wiljala Dr (W) 428.5

 

49.8 Sistonen’s Corners, junction Highway 102 (Dawson Rd) 352.7

 

Highway 102 (Dawson Rd), alternate route to Thunder Bay, to North Ward.
50 Sunshine Loop, east exit 335

 

51.4 Shebandowan River Crossing 337.7

 

51.8 Finmark Rd, town of Finmark, OPP detachment (Finmark)  395

 

Town of Finmark, about 2 km N of highway.
52 Shebandowan River Crossing, Sunshine Loop (S) western exit 332.2

 

70 Junction Hwy 11 (to Fort Frances), & 17 395.9

 

Junction with Hwy 11 southern route via Fort Frances/International Falls (USA).


Fort Frances, ON and International Falls, MN (USA), 282 km to W of highway.


Atikokan, 138 km W of highway.


Quetico Provincial Park, camping, water sports, open year-round. Near Atikokan…

70 East Oskandaga River crossing 395.9

 

96 Roadside Turnout with viewpoint on south side (Raith)  487.1

 

99 Lake Rd, town of Raith (Raith)  483.1

 

101 Time Zone Change, east bound traffic, put watches ahead 1 hour, west bound traffic, set watches 1 hour back 474.9

 

Change clocks: east-bound traffic, put watches ahead 1 hour, west-bound traffic, set watches 1 hour back..
105 Spencer Rd, and view of Florence Lake 474.9

 

106 Dog River Rd (N) 481.3

 

120 Services N side of hwy 474.9

 

125 Little Savanne River crossing (Savanne)  457.2

 

Little Savanne River, flows south into Mille Lacs Lake.
125 Exit to Savanne River Resort (Savanne)  459

 

Savanne River Resort, just S of highway, on the Savanne River.

128 Sawmill Bay Rd, access to accommodation 469.1

 

Camp Sawmill Bay, cabins, sandy beach, 24 km N of highway.

133 Rd crossing, to Lac des Mille Lac Indian Reservation 483.1

 

Lac Des Mille Lacs Reserve, Lac Des Mille Lacs First Nation member of Bimose Tribal Council.


Bimose Tribal Council.

137 Mille Lakes Rd, access to accommodation 473

 

Thousand Lakes Resort, 10 km to S of highway, on Lac Des Mille Lacs. fishing, hunting, beach, cabins & campground.

139 Inwood Township Rd, information center 484.9

 

144 Gonyou Rd (W) (Upsala)  481.6

 

145 Town of Upsala, OPP detachment (Upsala)  484.6

 

158 Little Fire Steel River crossing 476.4

 

161 Fire Steel River crossing 462.7

 

161 Graham Road, N to Graham, and to Brightsand River PP 463.6

 

Brightsand River Provincial Park, 55 km N of highway. wilderness park, no facilities.


Graham, about 20 km N of highway.


Wawang Lake Resort, about 30 km N of highway. hunting, fishing (closed Winter).

162 Picnic area, N side 463.3

 

164 Beaver Creek crossing 474.3

 

179 Picnic area W side 460.6

 

191 English River town & river crossing (English River)  471.5

 

234 Green Pines Campground R V Park, north side of highway 472.7

 

Green Pines Campground R V Park , N side of highway.
247 Junction Hwy 599, N to Silver Dollar (69 km) (Ignace 466

 

Silver Dollar, 69 km to NE of highway.


Silver Dollar Inn and Campground, camping, hunting, fishing, gas station & general store, restaurant.


Sandbar Lake Provincial Park, camping, fishing, water sports (fine sandy beach), wildlife.

KM 
Highway Point & Features
Elev.
(metres)
 
Map
Add
Info
 

KM 
Highway Point & Features
Elev.
(metres)
 
Map
Add
Info
 
0 Junction Hwy 599, N to Silver Dollar (69 km) (Ignace 466

 

Silver Dollar, 69 km to NE of highway.


Silver Dollar Inn and Campground, camping, hunting, fishing, gas station & general store, restaurant.


Sandbar Lake Provincial Park, camping, fishing, water sports (fine sandy beach), wildlife.

13 Green Pines Campground R V Park, north side of highway 472.7

 

Green Pines Campground R V Park , N side of highway.
56 English River town & river crossing (English River)  471.5

 

68 Picnic area W side 460.6

 

83 Beaver Creek crossing 474.3

 

85 Picnic area, N side 463.3

 

86 Graham Road, N to Graham, and to Brightsand River PP 463.6

 

Brightsand River Provincial Park, 55 km N of highway. wilderness park, no facilities.


Graham, about 20 km N of highway.


Wawang Lake Resort, about 30 km N of highway. hunting, fishing (closed Winter).

86 Fire Steel River crossing 462.7

 

89 Little Fire Steel River crossing 476.4

 

102 Town of Upsala, OPP detachment (Upsala)  484.6

 

103 Gonyou Rd (W) (Upsala)  481.6

 

108 Inwood Township Rd, information center 484.9

 

110 Mille Lakes Rd, access to accommodation 473

 

Thousand Lakes Resort, 10 km to S of highway, on Lac Des Mille Lacs. fishing, hunting, beach, cabins & campground.

114 Rd crossing, to Lac des Mille Lac Indian Reservation 483.1

 

Lac Des Mille Lacs Reserve, Lac Des Mille Lacs First Nation member of Bimose Tribal Council.


Bimose Tribal Council.

119 Sawmill Bay Rd, access to accommodation 469.1

 

Camp Sawmill Bay, cabins, sandy beach, 24 km N of highway.

122 Little Savanne River crossing (Savanne)  457.2

 

Little Savanne River, flows south into Mille Lacs Lake.
122 Exit to Savanne River Resort (Savanne)  459

 

Savanne River Resort, just S of highway, on the Savanne River.

127 Services N side of hwy 474.9

 

141 Dog River Rd (N) 481.3

 

142 Spencer Rd, and view of Florence Lake 474.9

 

146 Time Zone Change, east bound traffic, put watches ahead 1 hour, west bound traffic, set watches 1 hour back 474.9

 

Change clocks: east-bound traffic, put watches ahead 1 hour, west-bound traffic, set watches 1 hour back..
148 Lake Rd, town of Raith (Raith)  483.1

 

151 Roadside Turnout with viewpoint on south side (Raith)  487.1

 

177 Junction Hwy 11 (to Fort Frances), & 17 395.9

 

Junction with Hwy 11 southern route via Fort Frances/International Falls (USA).


Fort Frances, ON and International Falls, MN (USA), 282 km to W of highway.


Atikokan, 138 km W of highway.


Quetico Provincial Park, camping, water sports, open year-round. Near Atikokan.

177 East Oskandaga River crossing 395.9

 

195 Shebandowan River Crossing, Sunshine Loop (S) western exit 332.2

 

195.2 Finmark Rd, town of Finmark, OPP detachment (Finmark)  395

 

Town of Finmark, about 2 km N of highway.
195.6 Shebandowan River Crossing 337.7

 

197 Sunshine Loop, east exit 335

 

197.2 Sistonen’s Corners, junction Highway 102 (Dawson Rd) 352.7

 

Highway 102 (Dawson Rd), alternate route to Thunder Bay, to North Ward.
200 Wiljala Dr (W) 428.5

 

204 Mokomon Rd crossing 395.6

 

207 Lundstrom Rd crossing 395

 

211 Hunt Rd (W), pass Lake to E 299.6

 

213 Junction Hwy 590 (W) to Bible Camp & camping, crossing river above falls (Kakabeka Falls 266.1

 

214 Exit to Kakabeka Falls viewpoint (Kakabeka Falls)  281.6

 

Kakabeka Falls viewpoint, 0.6 km east of bridge over Kaministoquaia River (or just W of town)..


Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park, camping, hiking, watersports, open year-round. Park includes the river from the townsite upstream to the power dam…


Kakabeka Falls Generating Station, south of town, with intake dam, at N end of Provincial Park…


Kakabeka Falls Motor Hotel..

216 Happy Land Campground (Kakabeka Falls)  269.7

 

Happy Land Campground om E (westbound) side of highway. camping, cabins,…

219 Hwy 588 (S) Junction (Kakabeka Falls)  269.7

 

River Rat Tubing, 1.5 km S of highway, on the Kamistoquia River (takes 2-3 hours)..

222 McFarlane Rd crossing 244.1

 

224 Railway underpass 242.9

 

226 Fraser Rd crossing 239

 

227.5 West access to Harbour Expressway, access to Vibert Rd (N), and to Intercity shopping area, Intercity industrial areas, harbourfront, and grain elevators. 223.7

 

228 Clergue St (N) 224.9

 

228.1 Vibert Rd (N), and WB access to Harbour Expressway back into Thunder Bay 221

 

230 Twin City Crossroads (Hwy 130) crossing 219.8

 

232 25th Sideroad (S) junction 217

 

Hwy 17 to the east of here is also Arthur St W.
233 25th Sideroad (N) 213.1

 

234 Overpass Motel, S side of Highway 212.4

 

Overpass Motel on S side of highway..
235 20th Sideroad (S) 210.9

 

235 Mapleward Rd (N) 210

 

236 Garden Ave 206.3

 

237 Vanguard Ave (N), (Thunder Bay)  203

 

Thunder Bay Airport boundary to S, access to east via Highway 61..
238 Parkdale Blvd (N) access to shopping, Morgan Ave (S), Thunder Bay Airport boundary (Thunder Bay)  199

 

238.4 Junction: Highway 17 West and Thunder Bay Expressway (Highway 17 E) heading North (Thunder Bay)  189.9

 

West-bound traffic make right turn here, to continue on #17. Eastbound traffic make left-turn here, to continue on #17…


Arthur Street W (17B), continues east into Thunder Bay’s South Ward (Fort William) downtown, about 4 km to E of highway, all services.


Highway 61 South, to Thunder Bay Airport, Fort William Indian Reserve, Mount McKay, and US border.


Thunder Bay International Airport (YQT), 1.3 km S of highway.


White Fox Inn, about 10 km S of highway, via 15th Sideroad and Mountain Rd.


Fort William Indian Reserve 52, about 6 km S of highway.


Best Western – Nor’Wester Resort Hotel, 9 km S of highway.

Loch Lomond ski resort, 12 km S of highway, via #61 and Loch Lomond Rd. downhill, cross-country, ski-jumping.


US border (Minnesota) 58 km S of highway.


Best Western Crossroads Motor Inn, just east of highway junction..


Airlane Hotel, just east of highway junction.


Victoria Inn, 0.5 km E of highway junction.


Travelodge Thunder Bay Airport, just east of Highway junction.


Comfort Inn by Journey’s End, just E of highway junction.


Archibald Arbor Bed & Breakfast. 3.8 km E of highway junction.


Ritz Motel, 1.8 km E of highway junction.


Kingsway Motel, 2.7 km E of junction via Kingsway.


Fort Motel and Variety, 3.4 km E of highway junction, via Kingsway.


Algma Lodge, downtown South Ward, 4.3 km E of highway, via 17B (May St).


Empire Hotel, downtown South Ward, 5.7 km E of highway.


Casino Thunder Bay, downtown North Ward, 5 km E of highway..


Historic Fort William Trading Post Historic Site, 7.6 km SW of junction, via Broadway Ave & King St.


Kaministiquia River and Industrial Area (see photos).


Duluth, MN (pop. 85,000) 307 km to S. Access to Interstate 35 South to Minneapolis-St Paul (total 545 km to S).

239 Arthur Street Market (N) (Thunder Bay)  199

 

Arthur Street Marketplace, shopping mall on NE side of intersection…
239 Neebing Ave (N) Valhalla Inn Rd (S), access to service and accommodation (Thunder Bay)  198.1

 

Shell gas station on SW corner of intersection.


Valhalla Inn Thunder Bay, 0.1 km to S of highway.

239 Neebing River crossing (Thunder Bay)  196.9

 

242 Harbour Expressway (E) to Intercity shopping & services (Thunder Bay)  202.1

 

Confederation College campus., 1.4 km SE of highway, via Golf Links Rd.


Thunder Bay Golf & Country Club, 1 km E of highway.


Thunder Bay Art Gallery, on Confederation College campus.


Ridgecrest Willows B&B, 1.2 km E of highway.


Intercity Shopping Centre, 3.5 km E of highway.


12 screen multiplex movie theatre (only one in Thunder Bay), 3.5 km E of highway.


Days Inn & Suites Thunder Bay, 2 km E of highway via Sibley Dr.


Harbourfront and grain elevators, 4.5 km E of highway (se photos)..

245 Oliver Rd , access to Downtown North (Port Arthur), Casino, Marina (Thunder Bay)  218.2

 

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (Hospital), 1.5 km E of highway.


Lakehead University Campus, 2 km E of highway.


Venture Inn THunder Bay, 4.4 km E of highway via 17B (Memorial Ave).


Venture Inn Thunder Bay, 4.4 km E of highway, via 17B/Memorial Ave).


Travelodge 4.4 km E of highway via 17B (Memorial Ave).

246 Junction John St, access to Downtown North (Port Arthur), Casino, Marina (Thunder Bay)  239

 

247 Junction Hwy 102, Dawson Rd (W), Red River Rd (E) (Thunder Bay 242.9

 

Highway 102 (Dawson Rd), west access to Highway 17 West.


Red River Rd, access to downtown North Ward (Port Arthur), 3.3 km to E of highway.


Gas stations to NW of junction: Petro-Canada, Canadian Tire, Sunys. Gas Stations to SE of junction: 7-Eleven..


Landmark Inn, 0.2 km NW of junction.


Prince Arthur Hotel, in downtown, 3.3 km from highway.


Ramada Hotel Thunder Bay, just NW of highway junction.


Kaylee’s Bed & Breakfast, downtown, 3.3 km E of highway.


Shoreline Motor Hotel, downtown, 3.4 km E of highway.


Old Country Motel, downtown, 3.4 km E of highway.


Thunder Bay Inn, 2.5 km NW of highway, via Dawson Rd.

KM 
Highway Point & Features
Elev.
(metres)
 
Map
Add
Info