By BC Highway 5 (Coquihalla
Highway) near Hope, British Columbia,
Page 1 of 2
Distance From Vancouver: Approximately 170 kilometers via Highway
1 East and Highway 5 North.
Mountain views, two small waterfalls, fine natural views, fairly good
road condition, no bugs.
The road is frequently narrow and winding, the road is subject to slides,
steep unbarricaded drop-offs, logging truck
traffic possible, high-clearance vehicle is required (2WD ok), there are
numerous small sharp stones - good tires and a spare are essential.
Vancouver, Coast & Mountains BC Backroad Mapbook (2nd edition)
Page 16 (Coquihalla Summit) B5-C5-D6-E7 and Page 6 (Skagit Valley) E1.
The latest edition of Backroad Mapbook for this and other regions, as well as GPS maps, are available
for purchase at
Sowaqua Creek Forest Service Road is located by Exit 192 of BC Highway 5
(Coquihalla), about 20 kilometers North of
Hope. It's not very long (not much longer than 30 km), and features several very
fine mountain and natural views, as well as two small waterfalls. It is
also possible to access HBC Brigade trail (which starts and ends
elsewhere) from this road, which is very convenient, if you wish to hike
only a portion of this very long trail, or want to cut your hike short.
There is also a recreation site with a pit toilet (but no garbage bin)
very close to the HBC Brigade trail. We did not encounter any logging trucks over the
two days we spent on Sowaqua Creek FSR, but the signs of an extensive
logging activity are certainly there. Also, there was an excavator
working on building a side road, so logging trucks may be visiting
Sowaqua Creek FSR again in the very near future. The condition of the
road is fair, and a 2WD vehicle with high clearance can make it very
close to the end of the FSR as of the time of writing (deep
cross-ditches would stop most vehicles from going any further). Note,
that there are numerous loose sharp stones on this road, which would
easily puncture tires not suited for this terrain. Also, there are
several potential areas of slides along this FSR, so be prepared to be
cut-off from getting back, and reconsider visiting during or after a
heavy rain. Finally, somewhat rough road condition, frequent potholes,
as well as narrow and winding road conditions, would limit reasonable
speed to 20-30 km/h throughout the entire Sowaqua Creek FSR.
Zero your odometer at the beginning of Sowaqua Creek FSR, if you want to
follow the points of interest in the table below.
Sowaqua Creek/HBC Trail
Recreation Site (pit toilet)
on the road
Main Sowaqua FSR Split
(if taking the road on the right - stopped)
(if taking the road on the left - one more
(if taking the road on the left after the
27.8 split - stopped)
1. We are just North of Hope and are following the sign to Highway 5
BC Highway 5 North near Hope British Columbia Canada
2. Approximately 20 kilometers North of Hope, take Exit 192 - Sowaqua
BC Highway 5 North Exit 192 Sowaqua Creek
3. Follow the sign to Sowaqua Creek Rd - the FSR start is a few hundred
Sign to Sowaqua Creek Forest Service Road
4. Here is the start of Sowaqua Creek Forest Service Road.
Coordinates: N 49'26'844 W 121'16'120.
Elevation: 314 meters. Zero your odometer here to follow the table of
points of interest above. A sign warns of no telephone service beyond
this point, but we did get a cell signal at least as far as the 17 km
Sowaqua Creek FSR Start near Hope British Columbia Canada
5. Two hundred meters later, stay left. To the right is private
property. A sign warns of slides and that travel is not recommended. All
the slides have been taken care of, but there are several places where
it looks like slides may happen just about at any time.
Sowaqua Creek FSR
6. Another sign at this split shows that the radio frequency for Sowaqua
Creek FSR is 151.985 MHz. So, if you have a radio with this channel, it
would certainly help in avoiding unpleasant logging truck encounters, as
this road does get way too narrow in many points.
Sowaqua Creek Forest Service Road near Hope British Columbia Canada
7. After the initial somewhat rough (but not very steep) climb, here is
a pleasant view. There are actually no excessively steep sections on
8. Not much further, a good example of how narrow Sowaqua Creek FSR can
get. Passing by a logging truck here might be complicated, and the
drop-offs are very steep in some places.
9. The first waterfall arrives at the 7.7 km mark. It actually is mostly
hidden by this tree.
10. Here is the first waterfall. You would need to walk for a few meters
on a sturdy log to get the best picture. As this is the end of the
season, the water flow was limited, and it would certainly look more
impressive during the spring runoff.
Here is Our Video of the First Waterfall:
11. Only five hundred meters later, the second waterfall is waiting for
you, and it is not hiding at all.
Here is Our Video of the Second Waterfall:
12. There are a few small bridges on Sowaqua Creek FSR, this being one
13. And here is a good example of a potential slide area.
14. A good mountain view arrives at the 11.9 km mark. Except in the
afternoon the sun is shining right at you, so you don't get to see much.
Try to visit earlier in the day for the best views.
15. Two kilometers later, just a neat view ahead.
16. Another good view is at the 14.5 km mark. Even with the haze it
17. Three hundred meters later.
18. We have met five small vehicles on a workday, so this FSR might get
quite busy on weekends.
19. A major split arrives at the 16.4 km mark. To the right is Manson
Ridge access - the road to all the mountains we have seen on the right
side. We did not go there, but, chances are, there are some pretty good
views waiting out there. We went to the left towards HBC (1849) Heritage
Trail / Mount Davis.
20. And here is a photo we took at the 18.1 km the next morning, when
the sun was not shining right at us.