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Roadtrip to Hope from Vancouver, BC

Hope is just east of Vancouver and it is a great little getaway from the city that has many fun stops along the way. This guide is largely outdoor-based including a few small hikes (none longer than 2km), waterfalls, an old train trestle and tunnel, and some good places to stop and get a bite.

Many of the parks on this list are closed in the winter, and I would recommend doing this trip in the spring so you can see the falls in all their glory.

Getting There

Hope is a very easy drive on Highway 1 East and it about a 1.5 to 2 hour drive from Vancouver. Most of the stops on this list are only very short drives off the highway.

One fun place to stop on your way to Hope is Fort Langley. Get here by taking exit 61 and following 88th ave to Glover Road where you will find all of the quaint shops cafes of Fort Langley.

This cute old town is only about a 40-minute drive from the city but it feels like you have stepped onto the set of a Hallmark movie (I’m fairly certain they actually film there quite often).

I would recommend stopping at Wendel’s Café (or any of the cafes) for coffee and a bite to eat then wandering around town and popping into all of the cute shops and antique stores and maybe even the Fort Langley Museum if you have time before getting on the road again.

Where to Stop

I have ordered this from what is closest to Vancouver on the highway to what is the furthest away but feel free to do this list in reverse if you prefer driving further first.

1. Bridal Veil Falls

The first stop you will come to on your trip is Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park near Agassiz. Take exit 135 and follow the signs towards the provincial park. Park and follow the signs towards the falls. Note that the park is closed in the winter months but it is common for people to park along the road and walk-in.

The walk is about 1km with some hills to a massive falls that fan over a cliff face.

Sometimes this park can also close due to flooding, check before you go and bring decent footwear, especially after a rain.

2. Flood Falls

Get back on Highway 1 East, drive about 20 minutes and take exit 165. There is a road shoulder parking area on Flood Hope Road which might be full but the walk to the falls is short so turnover should be relatively fast.

Take the 1km trail the falls, it is mostly flat with some hills. You will find a gorgous tall waterfall, it may hurt your neck a bit to try to see the top.

It is best to go here between April and June when the waterfall is the most raging, it can be completely dried up by late summer and too cold for good water flow in the winter.

3. Hope

If you are feeling like you need some lunch or a coffee it might be time to stop in the town of Hope before heading out to the next attractions. Get off Highway 1 at exit 168 or you can keep following Flood Hope Road east until you hit the town.

Owl Street Café is one of my favorites. A cute little wood lodge with a nice patio and a classic menu. Sandwiches, soups, and salads are your main lunch choices, but they are well made and tasty. A great classic breakfast is also served!

4. Othello Tunnels/Coquihalla Canyon

From Hope, take Highway 3, then Highway 5 (Coquihalla), and follow signs for Othello Tunnels/Coquihalla Canyon.

From the parking lot to the end of the tunnels is a 1.5km walk (3km in total there and back). The walk will lead you along the old railway tracks, through tunnels and over bridges that were created in the early 1900s where you can wonder about the incredible engineerin feats they had over 100 years ago.

The tunnels go through some stunning scenery. The river is an incredible blue and the canyon is gorgeous.

This park is open from April through October, double-check for closures here.

5. Ladner Creek Trestle

Continue down the Coquihalla highway away from Hope and there will be a small private road on your left. It is very easy to miss so I would recommend looking up the trail on Alltrails and selecting the directions options and follow along on Google Maps.

This is an old train trestle that is a very famous photo spot. The trestle itself is now fenced off, as too many people were walking on it and it was a safety hazard, however, you can still make your way out there to look at it from above or beside it.

It’s about a 2km walk, and it’s on private property so it isn’t marked or maintained, be sure to wear good shoes, we saw some people out there in flip-flops before and they were really suffering.

Shortly into the trail, you will go steeply uphill until you meet a flatter trail where you will turn left. Try to mark this junction with a rock or stick so that you can identify it on the way back. From here you will still find a few more scrambles with lots of ropes and chains to help you along.

Be very careful on this trail and be respectful as someone is being kind enough to allow people onto their property to explore (actually, I think there is a no trespassing sign but it’s quite clear that they dont actually mind people going there).

Overall, be respectful, be safe, and leave no trace. Enjoy this beautiful place!

Bonus Stops

On your way home there are some other great places that Highway 1 takes you right past and are worth a stop if you aren’t done adventuring yet.

Harrison Hot Springs

This town is host to many hot springs, as its name would imply, however, unless you want to go far out of the way, they are all commercially owned.

The Harrison Public Pool is the main option. It is $10/per person (2020) with additional fees if you want to rent a towel or locker (though you can bring your own towel). These pools are temperature-controlled hot springs and will provide you with the same benefits a natural hot spring would; however, the pool facilities themselves are a little dated and might not fulfill the hot spring dreams you may have seen on the internet.

If you do want to spend a little extra cash and really relax and enjoy several stunning commercialized and monitored hot spring pools you can jump for the Harrison Hot Spring Resort. The catch is that they do not issue day passes for use of their pools, and you have to be a guest at the hotel to use them.

Rates start at about $150/night (2020) and go up depending on the time of year/day of the week. If you want to make this into a relaxing (and romantic) two-day trip, this would be a great choice.

Harrison Hot Springs offers a variety of other great activities such as water activities on or around the lake and numerous fantastic restaurants and cafes.

Chiliwack and Abbotsford

The Fraser Valley is full of agricultural experiences that vary by season.

If you go to Hope in the spring and want to stop by the Fraser Valley the tulip festival will be in full swing. Pick the best tulip field for you and stop by or even drive by for fields filled with colorful flowers for as far as the eye can see.

In the summer, the sunflowers are in full bloom and there are big festivals where you can pay a fee to go in an see the sunflowers and go through mazes and find fun photo opts. you can also stop off on the side of the road and see them for free if you are willing to sacrifice some of the luxury the paid event hold.

Also in the summer you can find you-pick fruit such as blueberries and strawberries.

In the fall, you have all the classics to explore: pumpkin patches, apple picking, and corn mazes. There are a plethora of options, some free, some paid.

There are also some great places to stop for drinks or a bite to eat:

One of my favorite places to stop in the Fraser Valley is Field House Brewing (East Abbotsford). They make craft beer and have excellent food. They source a large portion of their ingredients from their very own farm making all of the flavors pop with freshness.

A few other great spots are Birchwood Dairy (all of the yummy ice-cream), Restaurant62 (a great farm to table experience), Trading Post Brewing, a number of wineries, and so many more. This area is where most of out produce comes from in the Lower Mainland so you are sure to find the freshest and most delicious food here.

Conclusion

A quick wrap up of all the locations I listed: Fort Langley (Wendel’s Café for coffee and/or breakfast), Bridal Veil Falls (1 km walk), Flood Falls (1 km walk), Hope (Owl Street Café for lunch), Othello Tunnels (3 km walk), Ladner Creek Trestle (2 km walk), Harrison Hot Springs, Fraser Valley.

This is a great excursion to get out of the city just as the weather is starting to get nice but there is still a lot of snow in the mountains. A fantastic introduction to the summer months.

Did you take this trip and how you felt about your little excursion out from the city. Is there anything I missed on this list that you think is a must see? Let me know in the comments! Happy roadtripping!

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