The Othello Tunnels is also known as Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, located near Hope, British Columbia. Originally part of the Kettle Valley Railway, a series of five tunnels and bridges follow a relatively straight line through the canyon of Coquihalla River. Deemed impossible by many engineers, this section of the Kettle Valley Railway through this gorge is an engineering marvel. Built between 1913 to 1916 under the supervision of Andrew McCulloch, the railway through the tunnels cost $136,000 per mile (five times the average cost for other sections of the Kettle Valley Railway). The railway is now decommissioned and becomes a walking trail through the gorge lined with sheer, flat rock cliffs. The trail condition is easy and flat. Round trip is about 30 to 60min.
History of Othello Tunnels
Gazing up at the steep cliffs of the canyon, it is difficult to imagine how these tunnels were constructed. A route through this gorge has been deemed impossible by several engineers, but Andrew McCulloch, with years of experience on CPR construction and other lines, sensed a solution. Lowered from the clifftops above in a small woven basket, McCulloch and his helpers cut out footholds in the rock, set up survey instruments, and from this precarious position developed the amazing plan for a series of tunnels. With the tunnels in perfect alignment, and the two bridges between three of them, he had found a route over the forbidding chasm below. Instead of a single mile-long tunnel, the track would thread its way through the entire canyon with only a third of a mile of trackage. The bridges were completed in July 1915, and the Coquihalla Canyon was conquered.