Othello Tunnels Adventure
It was a beautiful Tuesday morning that we woke up to for our Exploration Tuesday Adventure. Gregory and I had been talking about going to see the ‘Tunnels’ for the last 4 days, and he woke up ready to go. His first words of the day were ‘danamaoma da choochoo train tunnels?’. Yeah. He was ready for the tunnels.
I wanted to do something extra fun for Gregory’s first ETA back from visiting grandma’s. I missed him and needed us to have a proper adventure. I found the Othello Tunnels, a set of tunnels that used to be used as train tunnels. Built a century ago, the location of these tunnel makes it unfathomable to how they managed with their technology.
I wanted to preserve our adventure, as Gregory and I have never walked through tunnels before. We always yell ‘tunnel!’ when we drive through one, and I thought he would really enjoy this. Man oh man was I ever right! We brought along our camera and filmed a #ourRADhouse vlog which you can watch below. Watch for the Gregory Cam, this kid… if he doesn’t motivate you to bring your own, I don’t know what will. He’s so precious, I can’t believe he is mine.
Othello Tunnel Facts
The Othello Tunnels are 5 tunnels along the Kettle Valley Trail. Built for railway and mining access a century ago, it was constructed in 1914 and has historical, natural, aesthetic and scientific values. Considering the province was still a colonizing baby at the time, this is a significant site that marks great achievement for the early development in British Columbia.
There is tons of cool facts that revolve around the tunnels, some that include facts about the Canadian Pacific Railway, and some that connect the tunnels to William Shakespeare. Yeah, it’s quite interesting actually, and if you’re willing to add onto this already massive adventure blog post, click here to read more about that.
The tunnels cut across the Coquihalla River‘s gorge, which is what I refer to as ‘the river’ because it’s fast and easier than writing the Coquihalla every time. The river is fast and a beauty, and makes the 3.5 km rountrip through the tunnels seem like nothing. Yeah, 3.5 km. It is so enjoyable and relaxing to walk, children to the elderly will enjoy this easily accessible trail.
If you’re a huge movie buff, and want to make a huge adventure of this trip, watch Rambo First Blood before heading to the Othello Tunnels. The second tunnel was used in the filming. Many other movies have been filmed here because of the great scenery, we even managed to be there a day a movie was set up and filming. Hello helicopter, food trucks, actor trailers, crew and quads carrying production material. It was added excitement to our day.
Hope is about 1.5-2 hours drive from Vancouver driving East on Highway #1. I managed to hold off driving too early in the morning and missed traffic, or I was going the opposite direction of traffic. Either way, I was very lucky and my trip was about 1 hour 45 minutes. Long enough for Gregory to get in a quick nap before we were off for several hours having fun.
I miss driving to Hope and beyond. As a cheerleader, we would drive onto the BC ferries and road trip anywhere from Vancouver to Kelowna for football games. Driving Hwy 1 brings back all sorts of good feels, and laughs. It goes to show that I may never grow up when I still laugh when I see the signs for Lickman Rd and pronounce a strong A in Annis Rd. Yeah, I’m silly, I get it from my mom. And I’ll make sure Gregory gets it from me.
I went through Hope, taking some roads around back that were winding and very scenic as you drove closer and closer to the mountains. I mean, right up close. You can see distinct trees and foliage. It’s breathtaking, but don’t get too distracted. The roads wind and we got stopped by a sheep. A SHEEP!
I’m unsure if it was wild or got loose from a farm nearby. If it got loose it got loose a few weeks back and needed a trimming. This sheep even stopped a Semi and trail of vehicles driving opposite of us, so really, everyone, keep a sharp eye. You’re in the wilderness, you’ll see wild animals and when it comes to vehicle versus wild animal, wild animal may die, but your car might too.
Driving right to the end of Tunnels Road you’ll drive upon a parking lot. Keep right, as to the signs, and find a parking spot. We got there and I thought there was some sort of marathon going on. There was a food truck set up, trailers… then I thoughts maybe a farmers market. Haha, in the middle of nowhere… I know, my brain was not thinking.
I realized we showed up on a filming day, just like I had read online that movies sometimes film here. How awesome… until you realize they took up the entire parking lot. Fear not, my friend, keep driving through the first area and you’ll round a corner to another parking area. You’ll have to go that way to drive home as it is the exit road as well. We went on a Tuesday with a film crew already set up, there was ample parking.
There are outhouses that I did not want to venture into. I never liked outhouses and think I have had my fair share of exposure growing up. Unless I’m camping again, I won’t voluntarily enter one. If you’re like me, make sure you stop at McDonalds, a gas station or Dairy Queen in Hope and use their restrooms before you go. There is running water the whole walk of the tunnels, you do not want to be caught needing to go with nowhere to go.
There is a garbage can after the outhouses–before the tunnels. Please, throw any garbage you bring, away. I always bring my garbage right home with me, but it was sad to see some garbage left behind from other people. It wasn’t much, maybe dropped by accident by a movie crew member, but it wasn’t pretty in such a beautiful place.
Walking to the Othello Tunnels from the parking lot takes about 10-15 minutes. It took Gregory and I about 20-30 minutes because we stopped and checked out the sights. The rock faces are really cool, you can climb them, and you can climb down the bank to the river and walk the rocks. I had brought along our jogging stroller for fear the Gregory would want to stop walking at some point (he did) and left it at the top of the hill, taking a backpack filled with all our things. No one touched our stroller, I’m not sure if that’s reassuring to you if you bring yours and leave it at the top for a pit stop.
I wouldn’t let your Little get too close to the water in case they lose their balance and fall in. It’s fast, and they’ll be gone in a second. Gregory had fun throwing rocks in from a safe distance. I had fun checking out the cairn someone had made. It wasn’t very big, but it was cool. There were several scattered around, keep an eye out for them all.
Walking up to the tunnels is quite the sight. It’s huge, and you are quite literally walking up to a giant hole in the side of a mountain of rock. It’s so cool. I say cool a lot of the vlog because it is. My brain was in such shock I couldn’t come up with a better, more appealing word. I don’t care. It was cool.
The first tunnel is long, and I recommend you bring a flashlight. This tunnel, and the last tunnel, are dark and you’ll want to see. This first one, though, it’s super cool because water is dripping from the ceiling. At first I was like ‘gross’ but then I was like ‘cool’. Yup. COOL. I could hear it, smell the moisture, it was an awesome experience. If you don’t want your hair/head wet, wear a hat.
There are two bridges you will need to walk over. They are very well built and you’ll feel safe while leaning over the edge to check out the rushing water below. don’t forget to look up at the mountains around you too. It’s quite the sight you don’t want to miss.
There isn’t much I can say about our experience in the tunnels that I couldn’t better show you in the vlog, so if you really want to to see my and Gregory’s reaction to the Othello Tunnels, check it out further below.
When you are at the end of the last tunnel, there is the Kettle Valley Trail that you can continue to walk. It’s large enough for a truck… or train to pass through. So don’t fear a small walking path that will be difficult to hike. I brought a stroller and while it was bumpy, I easily jogged along the path.
Gregory and I walked along this path for about an hour. The river could be heard 90% of the time, and seen a lot too. At one point we climbed up some rocks and could peer over the edge of a cliff to the water below. The foliage and forest that surrounded us couldn’t have been more perfect for making me feel more at one with nature. I love walking in forests, it’s so calming.
We passed two cyclists, several backpackers, one other family with a child and a few singles walking along the path. We all nodded and said hello as we passed, I think it’s really great. I’m thinking this is the norm for all walking/hiking paths, and I really enjoy the easy interaction.
As a recently converted introvert, I know I can enjoy being around people. And this small dose exposure is great for me to get back out there and make myself uncomfortable enough to show my son that we must make the effort to make a change in our life.
I definitely want to take this walk again without a stroller. We passed a path labelled the Hope-Nicola Valley Trail that went up the mountainside it seemed. With the Bean on my back, or a friend at my side, I think that’s a challenge on my bucket list I need to experience now. Oh, and when I say bring a friend, I mean I will bring a friend. Walking the Kettle Valley Trail I often found I didn’t have cell phone reception.
I was trying to text my mom a photo of a berry and ask if it was a salmon berry and if we could eat them. By the time I got an answer it was too late. But yes, they are salmon berries, you can eat them, they are yummy. I used to eat them as a kid, and we passed so many down the path. I wouldn’t go harvesting them all, save some for the wildlife, but I don’t see a problem with picking one and rinsing it to try. Expecially with kids, let them really discover nature.
I am always so careful in telling Gregory not to eat berries unless I say he can. I can’t deny him the opportunity to eat a wild berry when the opportunity doesn’t arise very often. Kids love foraging, it’s primitive and fun. If you can’t make it to tunnels, take your Little black berry
picking hunting. Now that is some good, free, delicious fun. I’m counting down the days until the blacks are ready for pickings.
Walking back through the tunnels we were stopped by film crew and pushed back a distance so that we couldn’t be seen from the helicopter flying over, filming. Oh, did I mention they were filming a movie? I’m fairly sure everyone kept saying it was Max Payne 3, but I really should have asked them to repeat themselves whenever it was said. I don’t know if I’m going deaf, or if my ears were just plugged. But every time it seemed like a jumble of words after ‘Max’.
The helicopters were for sure one of Gregory’s favourite parts of the Othello Tunnels. We had turned around in our walk because we heard and saw the ‘copters flying. They were low and we could see them through the trees, one white and one red. The red one had a huge camera on the front, filming the white one for the movie.
When we got to the tunnels they were also moving that direction and halted everyone walking the tunnels so they could film. It was a delay that only worsened my need to pee, but it was wicked because it was loud and memorable. Gregory, right up until I passed out on his bed, was telling me about the helicopters and signing ‘copter making it’s sound as best he could. It was adorable. And I wish I wasn’t as exhausted at the end of the day so I could have enjoyed it for just a few moments longer. My little man, you are absolutely wonderful. Don’t ever change being who you are.
That’s enough text, here is some eye candy for you. Check out the #ourRADhouse vlog below and the rest of the photos I’ve whittled down to share. Bring a camera, so many photo ops, so many beautiful sights.
Before You Go
I really think you’d enjoy going to the Othello Tunnels, if not with your children because you don’t have any, then alone or with a partner. The tunnels are incredible, the river is impressive and the path can be walked, hiked, cycled, or jogged for an excellent workout after. Don’t forget, when you’re exhausted and headed back to the parking lot, you can walk slow through the tunnels and enjoy them again. That, and the cool air with slight breeze that are within them.#OthelloTunnels are officially on my Go-To bucket list #BeautifulBritishColumbia you offer me beauty I cannot miss Click To Tweet
Thanks for coming on our Adventure with us, let me know if you’ve been to the Othello tunnels, or if it’s on your Go-To list. Make sure you bring water, and don’t forget to stop at Dairy Queen in Hope on the way home. It’s tradition, you have to. It’s not only tradition for those I know, but we ran into many people eating a meal there when we showed up for a potty break and chicken strips for the ride home. It’s tradition.
If you liked this adventure, be sure to check out our adventure to Squamish where Gregory and I discovered Shannon Falls and hiked up to first peak of the Stawamus Trail. That was our First Sunday Funday adventure and it was awesome. Not cool, awesome.