Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park is a popular stop along the Coquihalla Highway 5, just east of the community of Hope, providing scenic viewing, walking and hiking, picnicking, and fishing at the picturesque Coquihalla Canyon and Coquihalla Gorge. The 159-hectare Coquihalla Canyon Park showcases the Kettle Valley Railway grade that passes through the canyon.
In the early 1900s, the Canadian Pacific Railway decided a route was necessary to link the Kootenay Region with the BC coast by rail. The railway was built over three mountain ranges. In the Coquihalla Gorge, the river had cut a 300-foot-deep channel through solid granite. A straight line of 5 tunnels were built through it in 1914, now known as the Othello Tunnels and regarded as a spectacular engineering feat.
The wheelchair-accessible Tunnel Trail through the Othello Tunnels is an easy 3.5-km round trip. The trail features a flat gravel surface, and is part of the Trans-Canada Trail, linking to the historic Hope-Nicola Cattle Trail. There are spectacular viewing opportunities on the trail, through the tunnels, and on the bridges. A flashlight is recommended, as lighting is dim while walking through the tunnels. The Othello Tunnels have become a favourite filming location for movie producers.
The Canadian Pacific Railway engineer Andrew McCullough was an avid reader of Shakespearean literature, and 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, hence the name Othello Tunnels.
Facilities include a few picnic tables and pit toilets located near the parking lot and trailhead. Services are available from April 1 to October 31. The park is closed during the winter months due to unstable conditions, falling rocks and ice.
Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park is located just off the Coquihalla Highway 5, east of Hope.
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