This morning we made our annual pilgrimage to the Othello Tunnels (located just passed Hope).  I get to say annual because this is our second year making the trip.  We went for the first time last year and were so impressed we made the commitment to visit yearly.

If you haven’t been indulge yourself and go!  Not only do you get the joy of being out in nature for a VERY easy walk, you get to experience some truly impressive engineering work.  The Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park is absolutely beautiful; a great place to impress out of town guests.

To quote liberally from The Othello Tunnels are a series of five tunnels originally built for railway access, and now part of the Trans Canada Trail system. The tunnels are constructed through native granite, with concrete and wood interior supports, connected in several areas by trestles. The tunnels are located on the old rail grade of the Kettle Valley Railway.

The tunnels and the abandoned railway grade have scientific value for the significant technical engineering achievement of their construction, seen in the excavation of the tunnels themselves, the ingenuity of cliff ladders, suspension bridges and ropes that allowed workers access to the area, and in the concrete and wood supporting structures. The construction of the tunnels through solid rock in a straight line was CPR chief engineer Andrew McCulloch’s ingenious and unique engineering response to the canyon geology, while the Coquihalla River canyon necessitated the construction of connecting railway trestles between the tunnels.

Today that Coquihalla River was positively roaring underneath the trestles (now used solely for human foot passage over the waters).  The scenery is spectacular.  True BC beauty: soaring and luscious green trees, rocky river beds, and coursing blue/green water.  Stunning!

The tunnels are free to visit.  There are outhouses at the start of the walk.  Flashlights are strongly recommended; the tunnels are unbelievably dark.  The terrain is quite uneven in the actual tunnels (though strollers manage just fine) so make sure you wear sensible shoes.  There are a few rocks/hills for the kids to scramble up; ours always need a change of clothing after this walk.

At the trail head are a number of picnic benches.  As the drive is slightly over 2 hours from downtown Vancouver, having a picnic is a necessity before hopping back in the car.  Or, you could always stop at the Chilliwack Airport for pie.  They are FAMOUS for their pie.  Just check the flight log; almost every plane writes “I fly for pie”.