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Trans Canada Trail Legend:
|Trans Canada Trail Pavilion|
|Multi-Use Route (Cycling & Walking)|
|Hiking Only Route (No Cycling)|
|Equestrian Route (May Allow Cyclists/Walkers)|
|Temporary Bypass or Unofficial TCT Route|
|Trans Canada Trail Closed|
|Obstacle or Warning (click it for details)|
Alternate Route Legend:
|Alternate Route for Cyclists & Walkers|
|Alternate Route for Hiking|
|Alternate Route for Equestrians|
|Connection Point to the Trans Canada Trail|
Google Maps Legend:
|Map menu to access highlights, campsites, grocery stores, parking areas, toilets and more!|
|Click the grey star at the top of the map to favourite it in Google Maps, so you can pull it up later in your Google Maps app's "My Places".|
Disclaimer: This trail information is subject to changes. While reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the information on this site is correct, Trails BC makes no warranty about the accuracy of this information and accepts no liability for any inconvenience or any direct or consequential loss arising from reliance upon this information. Be sure to check our Latest Trail Closures before heading out and read our full disclaimer!.
- KML/KMZ files can be opened in Google Earth, and many smartphone apps.
- GPX files can be opened by most GPS software apps when KMZ cannot. Note, GPX files do not contain custom colours and icons that we use on our maps; all tracks and icons will appear the same colour and styles. We recommend using KMZ instead of GPX if possible.
The files below include data for only this specific area. For all of our Trans Canada Trail data for the entire province (including features, campsites and alternate routes), download our BC.kmz master file (1.2 MB)
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About the Route:
Please Note: The supervised gate at Carolin Mines Road does not restrict Trans Canada Trail users to access the rail grade through Jessica.
From Silver Creek in Hope to Brookmere, it is quite an adventure that takes about two days to complete on a bike. Those continuing on the Trans Canada Trail should stock up in Hope for three to four days of travel involving at least three nights of camping to get them to Princeton. If you have a shuttle vehicle, it is possible to meet with the vehicle at many intervals.
Hope is the true western terminus of the Kettle Valley Railway, which is responsible for the outstanding Othello Tunnels on the edge of town. The route from here to Brookmere does use pieces of the old railway, but much of it has been abandoned or built over by the highway.
A Special Note about the Stó:lö ('people of the river' in the Salish language) and the Fraser River:
The Stó:lö people can trace their heritage back between 9,000 and 11,000 years relating to their life on the Fraser River. The river, as well as a source of food and transportation, was and still is integral to their ceremonies and rituals. In the summer they lived in plank-built houses and pit houses in winter. Good places to see examples of their tradition of excellent basket-weaving and other traditional information can be found at the Telte-Yet Campground Gift Shop, the Muskwa Gallery & Indian Crafts and at the Hope Museum at the Information Centre.
From BC Parks' description of the Coquihalla:
In the early 1900s, the Canadian Pacific Railway decided a route was necessary to link the Kootenay region with the British Columbia coast by rail. Andrew McCulloch was hired as the chief engineer in May 1910. He had been involved in many CPR projects, including the Spiral Tunnels near Revelstoke.
McCulloch took on the challenging task of building the railway over three major mountain ranges. The Coquihalla subdivision included 38 miles from the Coquihalla Summit to the junction with the CPR mainline across the Fraser River from Hope. This section boasts the most expensive mile of railway track in the world: $300,000 in 1914. The construction was done almost exclusively by hand with the assistance of a few horse drawn scrapers and some black powder. His assistant engineers nick-named the railway "McCulloch's Wonder".
The greatest challenge of this route was the Coquihalla gorge, just east of Hope, where the river had cut a 300-foot-deep channel in solid granite. Other engineers had suggested a mile-long tunnel by-passing the gorge, but McCulloch chose to build directly through it. Hanging in the gorge in a wicker basket, McCulloch surveyed the canyon for a straight line of tunnels that could be dug simultaneously. Cliff ladders, suspension bridges and ropes allowed workers to complete what is, to this day, regarded as a spectacular engineering feat. The tunnels are known as the Othello Tunnels.
McCulloch was an avid reader of Shakespearean literature and he used characters such as Lear, Jessica, Portia, Iago, Romeo and Juliet to name stations of the Coquihalla subdivision. The tunnels in the Coquihalla Canyon were near the Othello station – thus, Othello Tunnels. Many of the passengers on the Coquihalla line came expressly to see and photograph the station boards and to send postcards from the stations’ post offices as a souvenir. This added an ironic touch of gentility to this adventurous journey.
The Kettle Valley Railway was officially opened on July 31, 1916. The line operated both freight and passenger service between Vancouver and Nelson, but the operation was plagued with snow and rock slides. In a two year period in the 1930s, the line operated for only a few weeks.
On November 23, 1959, a washout was reported just north of the tunnels. The 400-foot washout was too large to be filled in one day, and numerous other washouts added to the troubles of the maintenance crews. The line was closed and never reopened. It was officially abandoned in July of 1961. The tunnels and surrounding area became a provincial park in 1998.
Much of the modern four-lane Coquihalla Highway is built upon the original rail bed of the Kettle Valley Railway. Travelling at modern highway speeds it is difficult to imagine the formidable task of constructing a rail route through this rugged section of British Columbia. As you drive along the highway (or indeed hike or bike along the Trans Canada Trail), you may notice some small signs in the shape of an old steam locomotive, with Shakespearean names. These signs commemorate the approximate locations of the KVR stations along today's Hwy 5.
Trail Highlights and Developments:
Starting in Hope at the Trans Canada Trail and Tourist Information Center, the first thing to notice are the large wood carvings by the local artist Peter Ryan along the streets representing wildlife, pioneers, and local industry. Do visit the Memorial Park behind the City Hall where there is a Japanese Garden built in 1991 to honour the Japanese-Canadians who had to remain in internment camps during the 2nd World War. Also at the Recreation Centre it is worth a stop to see the large mural over the pool.
Out of town after crossing the Coquihalla River is the start of the KVR rail trail at Sucker Creek. It is worth noting that the actual start of the KVR is along Hwy 7 just before arriving in Hope. The first section of trail is on and off the rail grade to accommodate fish channels. The rail grade soon reaches the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, a marvel of engineering following a spectacular gorge of rushing water under rail bridges and entering the carved out Othello Tunnels up to Othello Station near the parking lot.
From here to Juliet the trail is on and off the rail grade. From Juliet it is basically the rail grade all the way to Brookmere.
From Lear to the Coquihalla Lakes one should not expect a typical level rail trail as the trail goes on and of the grade itself due to the Highway being on the grade at times, blown out bridges, and caved in tunnels. The Trans Mountain Pipeline uses parts of the grade for its utility road and is part of the Trail when that happens. Hence, expect a great variety of trail experiences including some fairly steep inclines. The highlights will be the 5-km section through Jessica and the 24-km Coquihalla Summit, always following the Coquihalla River. The Summit offers waterfall sprays, great views, a tunnel, former rail snowsheds, interesting remnants of railway structures, etc. There are also remnants of a Cattle Drive Trail. Worth observing are also the marvels of engineering of having constructed a pipeline in such rugged and unforgiving geology. Try not to miss the Bridleveil Falls of Falls Creek about two-thirds through the summit pass.
From the Coquihalla Lakes it is again a different experience now following the Mandering Coldwater River up to the Brodie Y. It is much flatter but the trail is often in a tight squeeze between the river and the Highway. Between Juliet and Brodie expect to cross two challenging slides, all part of the adventure.
In Brookmere one is greeted by a picturesque railroad water tank and other railroad buildings.
Of interest is the naming of the KVR railroad stops after Shakespearean characters by Andrew McCullough, the KVR's chief engineer. The TCT often uses these as ways of identifying locations along the KVR.
Other Interesting Trails in Hope (get more information at the information Centre):
- Walk along the Fraser River from the Information Centre in Centennial Park
- Rotary Nature Trail (1 km) - The trailhead is off Wardle Street where the Coquihalla River joins the Fraser River.
- Mount Hope Trail (10-km round trip depending on how far one gets by vehicle)
- Hope Lookout & Loop (2 km) - near the intersection of Flood Hope Road and Highway #1
About the Gaps:
The Trail crosses the Coquihalla River a few kilometres northeast of Hope - but no bridge exists. A highway bypass route is in use, but perhaps a bridge will one day be built and allow trail users to avoid the highway.
Public Washrooms can be found at the Hope Information Centre, next to the City Hall, the Recreation Centre, and at the parking lot at the end of Tunnel Road.
There is excellent camping at the Coquihalla Campground at the west side of the bridge before crossing the Coquihalla River on Kawkawa Lake Road. Hotels and Motels are plentiful in the town centre. Telephone the Hope Information Centre: 604-869-7765.
There are a good variety of shops and restaurants in the Hope town centre.