Trip 028 - August 10, 2010 (Tuesday)

Othello Tunnels

Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park Near Hope BC


Distance From Vancouver:
150 km on Highway 1 East to Hope, then 8 km through Hope.

Liked: Coquihalla River views. The tunnels are not bad either.

Of note: Crowded even on a weekday. Parking lot is a high theft area. Parking could be an issue on a weekend. The tunnels could be closed in off-season.

Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Backroad Mapbook (2010 edition) Coordinates: Page 15 (Hope) G6. The latest edition of Backroad Mapbook for this and other regions, as well as GPS maps, are available at BackroadMapbooks.com.

Related Website: Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park - BC Parks Official Site.

Other Trips in Hope Area: Skagit River Trail, Skyline II Trail Hike, Silver Skagit Road (Skagit Valley Provincial Park), Mount Outram Trail Hike, Eaton Lake Trail Hike, Mount Hope Lookout Trail Hike, Town of Hope BC.

Othello Tunnels used to house a rail track many years ago, but now is a part of Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park. There are a total of four tunnels, and one can see them all and return to the parking lot in an hour, if done at a brisk pace. There were around a hundred people in and around the tunnels on this Tuesday. The crowds would most likely be bigger on weekends, especially in the Summer. Finding the tunnels could be a bit tricky, so check out the photos below to see how to get there.

1. We are on Highway 1 East, approaching Exit 170 to Hope.


Highway 1 East Near Hope British Columbia Canada

2. Turn left at the first traffic light after exiting the highway, and then you will see these signs straight ahead. Turn right at the next intersection to go towards Highways 3 East and 5 North (towards Merritt and Princeton).


Town of Hope British Columbia Canada

3. After turning right, drive through Hope for several minutes, and get ready to turn left onto 7th Avenue.


Hope BC

4. Upon reaching 7th Avenue (the signs to the Hospital and UFV on the photo below are pointing that way), turn left.


Hope British Columbia Canada

5. After turning left onto 7th Avenue, drive straight and get ready to turn right onto Kawkawa Lake Road.


7th Avenue at Kawkawa Lake Road in Hope British Columbia Canada

6. Drive straight on Kawkawa Lake Road, cross the bridge seen on this photo, and get ready to turn right immediately after the bridge. A sign after the bridge will state: "Coquihalla Canyon 6.3 km."


Bridge on Kawkawa Lake Road Hope BC Canada

7. Upon crossing the bridge and turning right, drive until reaching the sign below and turn right again.


Hope British Columbia Canada

8. Soon, on your left side you will see Spectra Energy Compressor Station No. 8B, located in a very picturesque setting.


Spectra Energy Compressor Station in Hope BC Canada

9. Shortly after that, get ready to turn right one more time, upon reaching a BC Parks sign (seen straight ahead) stating "Coquihalla Canyon 1 KM ->". Note that turning left at this intersection would eventually lead you to Highway 5 (Coquihalla Highway). Thus, exiting from Highway 5 is an alternate way of reaching Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park and Othello Tunnels.


Hope BC Canada

10. Right after turning right you would see the following.


Tunnels Road Sign Hope British Columbia Canada

11. Drive straight and reach the park entrance in about a minute.


Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park Entrance Near Hope British Columbia Canada

12. The parking lot can accommodate about fifty vehicles, as well as approximately ten buses. Parking along the Tunnels Road is limited. Additional free parking is possible in the area where photo #9 was taken. Just be careful, as your vehicle may get stuck on a soft shoulder, if the ground is wet. The yellow Warning Note you see on the photo below advises that this is a high theft area - lock all valuables in the trunk. Camping is prohibited.


Coquihalla Provincial Park Parking Lot Photo

13. Now it's time to start heading towards the tunnels.


Tunnels Trail Entrance Coquihalla Provincial Park Near Hope British Columbia Canada

14. Before reaching the tunnels, enjoy this fine Coquihalla River view.


Coquihalla River 

15. Now we are ready to enter the tunnels. There are four of them, about 75-100 meters long each, and they are quite dark and somewhat creepy. The note at the first tunnel requests the cyclists to dismount, and it makes sense - the surface is uneven. Between the tunnels, there are bridges with good views of Coquihalla River. There are also a few information stands before you reach the tunnels, where you would learn about the history of the tunnels, how and why they were built, and why these tunnels were named after Shakespeare's Othello.


Othello Tunnels Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park British Columbia Canada

16. Let's look back at the river.


Coquihalla River the Province of BC Canada

17. The first tunnel.


Othello Tunnels Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park BC Canada

18. From the end of the first tunnel we can see the third tunnel through the second.


Othello Tunnels near Hope BC Canada

19. Between the first and second tunnels. Looking right.


Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park near Hope BC Canada

20. Another impressive river view.


Coquihalla River near the Town of Hope BC Canada

21. A bit closer with a zoom.


Coquihalla River in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park the Province of BC

22. Many people linger on the bridges after walking through the tunnels.


Othello Tunnels BC Canada

23. Creepy tunnel.


Inside an Othello Tunnel near Hope BC Canada

24. That's the end of the fourth and last tunnel. The gate prevents access in off season.


The end of Othello Tunnels Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park BC Canada

25. River view from above the fence on the left side of the previous photo. Slightly zoomed.


Coquihalla River near Othello Tunnels Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park BC Canada

26. Let's head back.


Othello Tunnels near the town of Hope Province of BC Canada

Overall, this is a good trip and would make an enjoyable outing, provided children would not get scared inside the tunnels.


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