The Othello Tunnels are five old train bridges and tunnels that pass over the wild Coquihalla River, cutting through stock granite walls. The tunnels are located east of the town of Hope in the Coquihalla Provincial Park of British Columbia. The trail is a short 3.5km return route.
In the early 90's, the Canadian Pacific Railway decided to connect the Kootenays with the southern coast of British Columbia, and it was decided that the best option was a route through the Coquihalla Gorge. Nowadays, the path has been restored as part of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail and no longer has any railway tracks. It is known for its gradual change in elevation.
The track through the Othello Tunnels has become a famous trail, and is now officially part of the Trans-Canada trail system. Although the area's name is Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, most people call it the Othello Tunnels. It has earned its popular name from McCulloch, a fan of Shakespeare, who named the stations after characters from The Bard’s works.
This easy and family-friendly trail passes across two bridges and through five tunnels. You can experience a whole new world during this 3.5 kilometre walk. It is also recommended to walk 15 minutes beyond the last shaft to take in a lovely Canadian forest lush with moss-covered pine trees, berries, and ferns.
The winter in this area is mesmerizing, but due to unsafe conditions, the tunnels are closed during this time. They can even be occasionally closed during the summer months if there are too many rock slides taking place. Taking this all into consideration, the best chance for a visit is from April or May to October.
When is the best time to visit the Othello Tunnels in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park?
Visit the Othello Tunnels from April or May to October, as they are closed during winter due to unsafe conditions. Though, keep in mind that during summer months, the tunnels can occasionally close due to rock slides, so check before visiting. Winter temperatures in the park make visits difficult and chilly. Warmer months not only ensure a more enjoyable experience, but they also guarantee better-accessible paths. Show more
Where are the Othello Tunnels located?
Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park hosts the Othello Tunnels in British Columbia. This park lies in the Upper Fraser Valley, northeast of Vancouver, and is part of a larger Trans-Canada Trail system. Visitors can get to the tunnels by driving from Vancouver to Hope or taking a train from Vancouver to Hope station. From Hope, it's just a short, 10-minute drive to the Othello Tunnels. Show more
What is the history of the Othello Tunnels?
The Othello Tunnels came to life built in the early 1900s as part of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail. This trail was part of the project built by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company to connect the Kootenays to the southern coast of British Columbia. The creation of the tunnels involved carving and blasting through solid granite walls in the canyon, creating tunnels, bridges, and the railway track. Today, these tracks have been removed, and the tunnels have become a popular hiking trail and part of the Trans-Canada Trail system. Show more
Are there any safety precautions I should take while exploring the tunnels and bridges?
Pay close attention while exploring the Othello Tunnels. The trail and the river have no guardrails or fences between them. It's crucial to keep noise levels low when walking through tunnels and bridges to avoid causing vibrations that could lead to loose rocks falling. Wear sturdy shoes, carry water, and dress in layers. Please be respectful of the park's rules, remembering that bikes and dogs are not allowed on the trail. Show more
What other activities can I do in the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park besides visiting the tunnels?
Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park offers numerous activities besides the Othello Tunnels. Hiking, picnicking, camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing are among the many options. Hike any of the several trails suitable for families, such as the 1-kilometer trail to the Picnic Area, which offers views of the Coquihalla River. The Copse Trail, measuring 6 kilometers, travels through a peaceful forest. Also, there's a 30-site campground that can accommodate tents or RVs. Winter sports enthusiasts can ski and snowshoe in nearby resorts. Show more