Othello Tunnels — a Historic Attraction North of Hope, BC

  • IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM THE PARKS WEBSITE: This part is currently closed due to storm damage and flooding. Current flooding and slides throughout the park and access areas, due to rainfall and windstorm. Partial reopening is projected for July 2024.

This is a great place to stop when driving the Coquihalla Highway or a fun day trip from the Vancouver area. Unfortunately, due to the flooding in late 2021, this park is currently closed. Bookmark this for the future, though!

We drive the Coquihalla Highway #5 in British Columbia many times a year but have never stopped just north of Hope to see the Othello Tunnels in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park. We decided to do it this time, and it was worth the extra time on our trip!

In the early 1900s, Canadian Pacific Railway built these tunnels to connect more of the province to coastal BC. To cut these tunnels into the solid granite in the 300-foot-deep channel was an engineering feat, with workers risking their lives to complete it. You can read more at the link to the BC Parks website at the end of this post.

The engineer Andrew McCullough was an avid reader of Shakespearean literature, and used characters such as Lear, Jessica, Portia, Iago, Romeo & Juliet to name stations of the Coquihalla subdivision.

It’s hard to believe this beautiful gorge and the Othello Tunnels, rich with history, is right beside the main highway, and so many people miss this, just like me, by focusing on our destination instead of the journey. This park provides picnic tables, areas for fishing, and an easy 1.75km walk on rough gravel to view the tunnels. The path was the railway tracks and has been converted to a loose gravel path with a gentle slope. It is a bit rough for wheelchairs and bikes, but I saw both during my visit.

Tip: Bring a flashlight to walk through the tunnels, as the ground is uneven. When inside the tunnels, you will get dripped on. It’s water…we let our imaginations run wild and thought of the tunnel filled with bats watching us…not the case. 😉

You can read the detailed history on the BC Parks website, and there are photos of it below this location map!

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  1. BC is so freaking beautiful! Looove the park’s tunnel and green river! You should give us a tour of your home country or at least show us some more BC!

  2. Ohhh so many cool photos. It looks like a really pretty destination. Canada is so beautiful. I can’t wait to visit in a few weeks!

  3. Wow Sherri! I can’t believe that these photos were taken almost in your “backyard”! Beautiful Canada – someday I will visit and hopefully soon! It’s just too pretty to miss!

    1. Thanks Grace! There is so much to see in just BC alone. Each part of Canada is so different. I hope you can visit soon!

  4. WOW! These photos are beautiful! I didn’t get to venture much further east than Burnaby, but next time I’m in BC I’m definitely checking this out!! I love our country – Canada’s full of so many beautiful places 🙂

    1. Thanks! When driving the Coquihalla you can see all the names along the way. I always wondered why they were named that way, now I know!

  5. This place looks incredible!!! I have to add this place to my list! Such beauty, I love nature like this and history. Thanks for the great post.

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