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Riding on the Coquihalla Canyon Othello-Quintette Tunnels
Section of the Kettle Valley Trail

This area, just outside of Hope in South Central British Columbia, is another of the engineering marvels on the Kettle Valley Railway. Designed by engineer Andrew McCulloch, the tunnels were built from 1911 to 1916 and completed the Kettle Valley Railway. It was McCulloch's greatest challenge to find a way through the Coquihalla gorge where the river had cut a 300-foot deep horseshoe channel in a wall of solid granite. There was barely enough room for the river and certainly no extra room for a railway.

There is a large information display just past the last tunnel with the story and photos of how McCulloch and several fellow engineers surveyed the canyon from small woven baskets suspended down into the canyon by ropes from the cliff tops above. After several weeks, McCulloch engineered a perfect tangent alignment of five tunnels, later known as the "Quintette" Tunnels at Othello Station. Actually there are only four tunnels, the third was partially "day-lighted," giving the illusion of five.

The area is impressive enough to get Hollywood's attention -- it was used in filming First Blood (Rambo), Shoot to Kill, and Far from Home: Adventures of Yellow Dog.

The off-road rail trail through this area is short, probably only about three miles, but it is well worth stopping to see if you are in the area. And, even though we chose to ride our bikes, the major use of the trail is by leasure walkers just enjoying the beauty of the canyon and river below, and to marvel at the tunnels.

The book Cycling the Kettle Valley Railway by Dan and Sandra Langford includes information and a photo of this area. It can be ordered from their web site, Cycling the Kettle Valley Railway. The Hope Tourist Information building was near Highway 5. We found the person there to be extremely helpful with complete directions and suggestions about facilities in the area.

For additional information about British Columbia trails, see "The Trains Canada Trail in British Columbia". Copyright 2007, All Rights Reserved