We were spending a week in Vancouver. And believe me, there was enough to keep us busy. But we wanted to get out of the city and experience some other areas of British Columbia.
We really wanted to go and explore some mountains. After all, Dan is from Australia and they have nothing even close to the grandeur and scale of the Rockies there. But we faced a dilemma, because Dan is 24 (and the age for renting a car in Canada is 25) we were going to get charged 3 times the amount of the car rental just for the underage fee. We decided that we could only justify renting a car for a day trip.
We wanted to get out of the city, and we wanted to experience something unique. That is how we came across Hell’s Gate.
A Vancouver day trip to Hells Gate
Hell’s Gate Airtram is located in the scenic Fraser Canyon. It is named after the explorer Simon Fraser’s first impression of it. Hell’s Gate is actually a narrow opening in the canyon, where the river rushes through with great speed and force.
Did you know: Hells gate was made even narrower when the construction of a the rain way caused a massive rock slide to plummet into the canyon. The water in the Hells Gate area then became so treacherous that Salmon were unable to navigate it, and their populations plummeted. This alarmed the Canadian and US governments, who then partnered to build “fish ways” – tunnels in the rock where the Salmon are able to navigate the slower waters.
Hell’s Gate is now a quaint little tourist attraction where you can ride a gondola across the river to the other side. The other side is full of tourist activities with a cafe (try the Salmon chowder), fudge and ice cream shop, small museums, and a swing bridge.
We had a great time taking the usual cheesy tourist photos with the props on the observation deck, and of course, eating way too much fudge.
Traveling with children? There are plenty of fun little activities at Hell’s Gate to keep them occupied. Like panning for gold, or a tour of the haunted sights of Hells Gate. (Yes that’s right, I said haunted.)
But one of the things we enjoyed the most was the drive up there. The Fraser canyon is simply beautiful and you need to drive through 7 tunnels cut into the mountain side to get there. The drive from Vancouver takes about 2.5 hours, although it took us a bit longer as we did not take the number 1 highway (which has a toll).
Thing to know:
Rates: Adults 21$
Opening times: These are seasonal. Check the website when planning your trip.
There is no public transport to the site, but there is ample free parking
Food is available on site
The site is wheelchair (and stroller) accessible
We would like to thank Destination BC for providing admission to Hells Gate