Time and time again we are amazed how much natural beauty there is within British Columbia — and you sure do not need to travel far to find it. One of our favorite places just a couple hours away from Vancouver is Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, where you’ll find the historical Othello Tunnels and incredible beauty. Mother nature sure worked her magic around those tunnels – the scenery is breathtaking. A couple of years ago the Othello Tunnels also celebrated 100 years.
The trail is a short and easy flat gravel family-friendly 3.5 km, round-trip route. In the early 1900’s, the Canadian Pacific Railway created a route that linked the Kootenay Region with the BC Coast by rail, built over three mountain ranges. After cutting a 300-foot-deep channel in granite, a line of tunnels was built through it, which are now known as the Othello Tunnels. The Othello Tunnels trail also links to the historic Hope-Nicola Cattle Trail.
We also love to bring a picnic lunch and set up surrounded by the beauty of this Provincial Park. Boardwalks, waterfalls, rushing water — it really is a magical piece of Mother Nature to explore and enjoy. Every time we go it blows us away.
The cliffs have also been the setting of a number of movies. One of the most recognizable is Rambo: First Blood, where Sylvester Stallone’s character hangs off the cliff while a helicopter tries to shoot him down.
There is, however, a dark history behind the engineering marvel that is the Othello Tunnels. The most dangerous and difficult construction jobs were given to Chinese Labourers — and many lost their lives while using explosives to blast through sections of the mountains.
The tunnels were named the Othello Tunnels because the chief engineer on the project was an avid Shakespeare fan.
Take a look at how beautiful this place is:
How to get there
Where: Located off Highway #5, just north of Hope
The Othello Tunnels is not too far from Vancouver, but it is still long enough that it feels like you are hitting the open road and gives you that feeling of freedom.
Keep in mind that the tunnels can be quite dark, so bring a flashlight or make sure your phone is charged. There is also no swimming and the trail is only open from April 1 to October 31st.