Last Updated on May 1, 2021
The Ladner Creek Trestle
The Ladner Creek Trestle is a short, 2km and moderately difficult, hike to a small section of British Columbia’s historic Kettle Valley Railway. The railroad trestle bridge curves over Ladner Creek and with the mountains as a backdrop makes for some gorgeous views on a blue-sky day. Access to the trailhead is near a pullout along the Coquihalla Highway, between hope and the Coquihalla Summit. The old trestle bridge is a grand sight as it towers high above Ladner Creek.
Sometimes The Ladner Creek Trestle is also referred to as Hope trestle bridge, because of its proximity to Hope, BC.
This Guide includes everything you need to know before setting out to hike to the Ladner Creek Trestle.
Table Of Contents
Ladner Creek Railroad Trestle Bridge History
The Ladner Creek Trestle was part of the Kettle Valley Railway, with the purpose to link the Okanagan, Boundary and Kootenay areas of B.C. with the coast by rail. The Ladner Creek Trestle, abandoned in 1961, is one of the only physical reminders of the Kettle Valley Railway.
The Othello Tunnels in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park is also part of the abandoned railway line and is one of the most impressive and easily accessible reminders. A very easy hike, a trip to see and walk through some of the tunnels are worth a stop as well. British Columbia is full of so much cool history!
Day Trip Suggestions
Since the Ladner Creek Trestle is just a short hike, you may want to combine it with other activities in the area. We would suggest a few other short hikes that you could add on: the Othello Tunnels, Alexandra Bridge, and Flood Falls. The area of Hope, British Columbia is fantastic for adventure.
This Hike Is Not Kid Friendly
This trail is not kid-friendly. We do a lot of hiking with our kids, now aged 7,5,3, and 1, and this is not a trail that I would want to bring my young kids on. It is an easy-to-follow trail, but the steep sections after you reach the decommissioned train tunnel, with loose dirt and no barriers, do require confidence in your footing. I do not feel that a young kid could successfully do this without falling down a steep drop-off, especially the last part with the unguarded rock scramble to make it the last steps to the trestle.
Ladner Creek Trestle Hike Details
The old trestle bridge trail starts up the side of a hill. When you pull off of the highway and park your vehicle, you should notice the well-worn trail up the rock-covered hill. You will start with a scramble up the 50m of loose rock. Once you reach the forest at the top, stay to the left side and you will find a path through the forest.
As you see above, after the initial scramble up the hill, the trail levels out and becomes an easy walk, until you reach the decommissioned train tunnel, soon after your initial hill climb.
After around 1km, you will reach the decommissioned train tunnel. You cannot go through the tunnel as it was destroyed after it was decommissioned. Instead, to the left of the tunnel, you will find the trail continues up the short incline, to bypass the tunnel. We recommend that you use the wires and rope to assist you as you climb up, and after when descending.
It takes around 30 minutes to reach the decommissioned tunnel, where you will find the trestle on the other side after climbing up, along and over the tunnel. The final 100 meters of the trail that take you to the trestle requires a scramble over some loose rocks. Make sure you wear good hiking shoes; you will want a good grip beneath your feet here!
If you are not comfortable doing the scramble over the rocks, there is also a viewpoint after you climb the hill using the installed ropes. It is a great viewpoint where you could happily have a look and turn back if you do not want to venture to the base of it.
The Best Time To Hike The Ladner Creek Trestle
We do not recommend this hike during winter when it is snowy or icy. The parts where you have to do rock scrambles would be extremely dangerous. The hike is best completed between May and October.
The trestle is very impressive to see, but remember that it is exceptionally old, burned up (people have lit it on fire), and rotten. DO NOT attempt to cross the two fences that are blocking, and warning you to not enter onto the trestle. It is not worth risking your life for a photo on social media. We suggest that you stay safely on land and admire the bridge.
You’ll see photos of the Ladner Creek Trestle all over social media, but it is still a lesser-known hike. This is probably because it takes a sharp eye to find the unmarked trailhead (directions below), and the trail is off the beaten path of the hustle and bustle of Vancouver trails.
We were the only ones during our hike. Out and back, we did not see another person. It was nice to have that kind of peace and quiet in nature.
Practice Leave No Trace
We all need to do our part to preserve what is left of this historic part of the Kettle Valley Railway. In May 2018, someone was extremely careless and left behind a cigarette butt. This made the trestle go up in flames. While the steel frame remains, the wood is extremely brittle now. Again, do not attempt to go on the trestle. The risk is not worth your life. And, pack out what you bring in!
Take Hwy/BC-1 E from Vancouver, then take the BC-5 N (the Coquihalla, not the Crowsnest) from Hope. Take exit #202 (Portia). This is a U-Turn route. You will follow the U-turn under the bridge, then rejoin the highway going back towards Hope. You’ll go back down the hill for a few minutes where you will pass the Shylock Road exit. You’ll see a bridge with a “Ladner Creek” sign. The pull-out is right before the bridge. If you cross the bridge, you have gone too far.
We also recommend that you do not put “Ladner Creek Trestle” into Google maps, as it is not helpful, at all. Instead, here are the trailhead co-ordinates: 49.494673, -121.240641.
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