Located in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, in Hope, This is one of my boys favourite places that we have been and I’m not surprised. Fast running water, old railway bridges, tunnels carved out of granite. There is a lot to see on this short 2.8km hike. However, you could make it longer, as we did, by walking or riding, further down the Kettle Valley Railway Trail. The trail is level and wheelchair and stroller friendly; however, inside a few of the tunnels is deep loose gravel that can eat small plastic stroller wheels. You will want pneumatic tires, or an off-road stroller.
The tunnels were built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in the early 1900’s. They were used to connect the southern coast of British Columbia with the Kootneys through the Coquihalla Gorge. The train tracks are no longer there and it is pretty much impossible to find a railway spike souvenir; however, the real star of this hike are the tunnels. There are historical information boards along the way so you can read about how hard it actually was to build these tunnels.
Make sure you bring a flashlight or, as we did, headlamps so that you can examine all of the detail of the stone walls of the tunnels. A couple of the tunnels are almost pitch black so it will also help you see the ground.
There are a couple of areas where you can get down to the river but they are not accessible by wheelchair or stroller. I just parked our stroller on the side of trail (I do this a lot) and carried my youngest down the steep slope to the river bank, a great place to picnic – Just remember… pack it in, pack it out! I hate finding garbage on the trails and yes when we do find it we collect it and carry it out.
The 8 year old perspective: “I like the place where you go down the hill and touch the water at the river and throw rocks. The water was a little bit cold.”
After we left the tunnels we began our drive back to Vancouver, but my oldest son was not done. “Is there anywhere else we can go?” he asked, “I want to do more hiking.” We didn’t have lots of time but who am I turn down that request, so down the road we pulled off to head up to Bridal Veil Falls.
Bridal Veil Falls is located in Chilliwack. The hike is a little less than 1km and has an elevation gain of about 50m. This hike is considered easy; however, to push a stoller or wheelchair up to the falls will take a good effort. The trail is wide, but on the way up there is one little boardwalk/bridge to get up and over (about 6 inches high). The falls are well worth the effort though and they do look like a veil of water masking the rocks.
The hike is a loop and you can take the “Woodland Trail” back down; however, if you have a stroller or wheelchair you will want to take the same trail back that you took up. The Woodland Trail has quite a few stairs, so best to avoid if you need to.
As for post hiking treats… we didn’t have a lot of time so it was the Tim Hortons just off the highway for us, but if you have more time I recommend “Harvest Store and Cafe” in Chilliwack.