Day Tripping: Hell’s Gate


Thursday, May 15th, 2008 — 4:00am PST
Comments 11

In the first post of the Day Tripping series I talked about the town of Hope being the gateway to holidayland, however it could also be looked at as the gateway to hell.

Although heading north on Highway 1 is actually a quite lovely experience the fiery inferno of Hades is simply a reference to the tumultuous rapids that squeeze through a 110 meter-wide passage between vast vertical chasms in the Fraser Canyon.

Simon Fraser himself (after which the river was named) dubbed the passage as such in 1808 writing in his journal, “surely this is the gate of hell.”

Hell's Gate Tram

Located just south of Boston Bar, Hell’s Gate itself is a bit of a tourist trap as they have installed an airtram that takes you over the restless river below and to the other side of the canyon. Once across, you can buy maple syrup, stuffed beavers in Mountie outfits, and get your picture taken with large chainsaw-carved animals.

Hell's Gate

There is a suspension bridge you can cross instead if you’re not afraid of heights, however part of the journey heading up to Hell’s Gate is some of the other attractions along the way.

  • Spuzzum – Blink and you’ll miss it.
  • The town of Yale – after which the downtown neighbourhood of “Yaletown” is named.
  • Alexandra Bridge – The old highway crossing still intact, however the floor of the bridge is that loosely spaced metal grating (like when you are walking on to the Ferry car deck) so I wouldn’t recommend looking down if you’re squeamish!
  • Lake of the Woods – an awesome pitstop just past Hope (if heading North) with picnic benches and paths down to a perfect lake for plunging into after a long drive on hot day.
  • Driving from Vancouver to Canyon should take about two hours, then it’s probably another 30-40 mins until you reach the Airtram at Hell’s Gate. If you do head up, check out the fish elevators (when you look down because I know you will) those are also pretty cool.

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11 comments

  1. fotoeins says:

    Hell’s Gate.

    Spuzzum.

    Those words alone should be sufficient to get us all to visit … places I haven’t been in … decades …

    Another great daytrip tip …

  2. Tyler Ingram says:

    There isn’t anything in Spuzzum other than you leave it as soon as you enter it ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Hell’s Gate is expensive for what it is. Though I’ve never been on the gondola, I’d rather go on the one up to Grouse.

  3. Miss604 says:

    @Tyler, yes, but that single Esso station that makes up Spuzzum is so lovely hehe. It’s just fun to say Spuzzum, mostly because it takes longer to say Spuzzum than it does to drive through it.

    Like I said, most of the adventure is the journey up to the canyon.

  4. Stephen Rees says:

    When I got my new Yaris I took it on a trip up the Valley. I put the pics on flickr. Hope is lovely – and the Othello tunnels should not be missed. Hell’s Gate is a bit of a tourist trap but still unmissable. Unlike Lytton.

  5. Spuzzum? Sounds like a George Lucas Star Wars character.
    Hell’s Gate sounds like a cool place to visit though.

  6. […] are many ways to enjoy the Fraser any time, like a day trip up to Hell’s Gate, rafting, and more locally, paddlewheel trips, a walk down to the slough, or even an afternoon at […]

  7. […] another thrill suspended over white water rapids see my past Day Tripping post about Hell’s Gate and if you have any suggestions for the Metro Vancouver Parks Series, please drop a comment below. […]

  8. […] an hour for each: The Othello Tunnels (near Hope, BC), Chuckanut Drive (just south of the border), Hell’s Gate (take the airtram across the Fraser Canyon), Gibsons (just a quick hop across the ferry to […]

  9. Holly says:

    can you buy mukluks at hell’s gate?

  10. SUNNY says:

    THAT ROCK FACE IS VERY INTERESTING,
    SINCE I CANNOT DRIVE , CAN ANYONE TELL ME
    HOW FAR IS IT\FROM HOPE TO HELL’S GATE ???

  11. John says:

    I visited Hells Gate Airtram during the summer of 2009 and thought it was very worth the admission price. If you get a chance to see it – do it !!

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