Othello Tunnels – Hope, British Columbia - Atlas Obscura
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Hope, British Columbia

Othello Tunnels

Railways may have forged this quintet of lovely tunnels, but now they are open to hikers. 

Driving through solid rock, these lovely Canadian tunnels are the remnants of a former train system, but can now be trekked through on foot. 

The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) constructed the Kettle Valley Railroad (KVR) to link up the Kootenay region of British Columbia with the Southern coast. In 1914, the CPR saw fit to construct a series of five tunnels through the Coquihalla River Canyon as part of the KVR.

Andrew McCulloch was appointed Chief Engineer from 1910-1916 to complete the KVR, which proved to be the most challenging project of his career. With sheer vertical walls and harsh winters, the conditions for the workers weren’t ideal. Cliff ladders, suspension bridges, and simple ropes were all used to give them access to the sections they worked on.

Once the tunnel system was decommissioned, the path through the Othello Tunnels became a popular trail, and they are now officially part of the Trans-Canada trail system. Technically the area is called the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, but most just call it The Othello Tunnels.  A fan of Shakespeare, McCulloch named the stations after characters from The Bard’s works, and the tunnels earned their popular name from this inspiration.

The tunnels are regularly closed each winter due to unsafe conditions, and occasionally even in the summers if there are too many rock slides, but if you really need to see the tunnels, they can be seen in the movies, Rambo: First Blood and Cabin In The Woods.