Have you ever come across a place that is so magical and yet you had little knowledge of its existence before you got there? That’s exactly how we felt about the Othello Tunnels in Hope, BC. This place captures your heart and doesn’t let go. Adventurers young and old will marvel at this incredible place.
Being fair, we knew about the Othello Tunnels (or at least knew where to find them on the map) but that was about it. Driving from Kelowna to Vancouver you see the sign along the highway that indicates the turn off is approaching, but we had never stopped before, always choosing to push on towards our destination.
Last July, however, we found ourselves with no plans and a need to get out on the open road. Looking for a there-and-back day trip, we pulled up Google Maps and started searching for places we had yet to explore. Hope is just about 2 and a half hours from Kelowna, so it seemed like a great option for a random Saturday adventure. We set out in the early morning, hoping to arrive before most of the tour buses and other families.
What we found when we arrived was nothing short of amazing!!! Lush green ferns, moss covered everything, fallen trees and vines for days!!! We felt like we had walked right in to a fantasy movie.
We made the most of being the only ones along the trail; spending time photographing all of the spectacular details. Arriving early had definitely paid off. We even stopped for a trail side snack!
For anyone looking to find a little magic along the highway between the Okanagan and Vancouver, this is definitely the place! We are still in awe when we look back at our photos.
We will absolutely be going back again!!!
5 Fun Facts about the Othello Tunnels
1. Due to the relative distance to Vancouver, the area has been the setting for a number of major motion pictures including: Rambo: First Blood, Shoot to Kill, The Adventures of Yellow Dog and Cabin in the Woods.
2. The spectacular Coquihalla gorge is 300-feet-deep and cut through solid granite. Construction of the tunnels was done almost exclusively by hand, with the aid of a few horse drawn scrapers and some black powder.
3. As an extension of the Kettle Valley Railway, the Othello Tunnels were along the main line that connected Vancouver to Nelson. The track was used both by freight and passenger trains.
4. In 1910, Andrew McCulloch was hired as chief engineer for the project. Though many others had suggested the idea of building a mile-long tunnel that would by-pass the gorge, he decided on a straight line of tunnels directly through it. The engineering feat was nicknamed ‘McCulloch’s Wonder’.
5. As an avid reader of Shakespeare, McCulloch 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 resulting in their corresponding name.
To see more photographs from this incredible adventure check out our extended gallery at Lostlake Studios by clicking [here].