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Although sometimes overlooked, there is an incredible amount of charm in seeing Hope, BC as its own destination with opportunities for adventure all around.
The primary draw to Hope, BC is the beautiful natural surroundings. It’s a place where you can feel incredibly close to nature as you explore the nearby mountains, lakes, and rivers and enjoy many fun-filled activities in Hope and the surrounding areas.
Every traveler moving east or west through the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, such as from Kelowna to Vancouver, will drive through the little community of Hope. The historic town is located at a major crossroads that connects the province and the nation.
I’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in Hope; from visiting the natural wonders of the landscape to exploring the community, you’ll find plenty of activities to fill your time!
About Hope, BC
Hope, BC is a small tourist town located in western BC only 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Vancouver. Although Hope only has a population of just over 6,000 people, hundreds of thousands of people visit the area every year.
The Hope community was founded in the 1840s and has been welcoming travelers and entertaining visitors ever since. Hope itself is a rather undeveloped town, but that’s actually part of its charm. The surrounding landscape is instead the highlight and the lack of development has kept the area pristine.
Things to do in Hope, BC
1. Explore the Othello Tunnels
Walking the Othello Tunnels was a highlight of my recent trip to Hope, BC – they are historic and beautiful. The tunnels and bridges through the canyon are incredible to see in person. Located in the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, it is the first of several incredible parks in the area on this list of things to do in Hope.
One of the things that make the Othello Tunnels worth visiting is the history behind them. Back in the day, the Rocky Mountains effectively separated the eastern coast of North America from the plains and lands to the west of the Rockies. Eventually, as the country of Canada was established, efforts beginning in the early 1870s focused on building railways through the mountains to connect the province of British Columbia to the rest of the country.
Multiple railways were built in the following decades, but each was an undertaking so massive that they often took years and cost many lives. The coastal mountains near Hope posed a great challenge, as they needed to blast through sheer cliffs with crude dynamite and build bridges over deep gulleys with the rapid rivers below.
Now, as the trains run along different routes and this section of the old Kettle Valley Railway (aka the Othello Tunnels) has become a gorgeous walking trail over the Coquihalla Canyon that is a popular tourist attraction.
The walk through the Othello Tunnels is a fairly easy and quick trail, suitable for families, and accessible to strollers or wheelchairs (although there are some short stretches of gravel.) It’s a 3.5km (or just over 2 miles) roundtrip and takes under an hour to walk.
At the trailhead, you’ll find a parking lot and several picnic areas. The trailhead is located on Othello Road, a ten-minute drive east of Hope.
Related read: The Othello Tunnels is one of the best stops between Vancouver and Revelstoke.
2. Do the Hope Art Walk
As you explore the town of Hope, it is impossible not to notice all of the carved wooden statues and art installations around the town.
All of the art, including larger-than-life statues, benches, signs, and more, are carved by local artists. Many of them are working and selling their artwork out of galleries and shops around Hope. You can sometimes find an artist at work and watch the carving process, which is typically done with a chainsaw.
We saw a ton on our last visit to Hope. These included a bear, a dragon, a service dog, and even Rambo! They’re surprisingly detailed, and kids love checking them out.
If these interest you, or you are planning to do some window shopping and walk the town, take a look at the art walk map; it details a self-guided tour of the town with each installation marked so that you don’t miss any. The map can be found at the Hope Visitor Centre or downloaded online.
3. Visit the local brewery
Along Old Hope Princeton Way, there is a unique little brewery called Mountainview Brewing. You’ll definitely want to stop in here if you’re at all interested in craft beer. As Hope’s local craft brewery, they use the fresh, clean mountain water to create one-of-a-kind beers right in the same building as it is served to you.
We always make a stop at Mountainview Brewing every time we visit Hope, BC. They brew delicious sours and IPAs – my personal favorites! Mountainview Brewing has a casual pub-style bar and restaurant with very reasonable prices, a small food menu, many non-beer options for drinks, and an outdoor patio.
If you love any of their brews, you can also purchase some to enjoy back at your hotel or campground!
Related read: Love craft beer? Check out all the best breweries in Canmore!
4. Chase waterfalls
Thanks to the mountains, a great activity in Hope is exploring the many nearby waterfalls! There are many trailheads and hikes in the area, and along most of them, you will see small creeks and trickling waterfalls, but there are also several easy-to-access and family-friendly falls that are much more impressive and make for gorgeous photo opportunities!
Nearest to Hope is the beautiful Flood Falls, a narrow, tall waterfall pouring into a deep pool and loud enough to be heard for ten minutes as you hike towards it! Access to parking and the trailhead is right off of the Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1, 5 minutes outside of Hope. The falls are nearly 15 minutes from the trailhead, but it is an easy hike and well worth the visit.
Another waterfall to find is the namesake of Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park. White sheets of water pouring over mossy rocks make Bridal Veil Falls look like a flowing white veil. It’s just a 30min trip southwest of Hope on the Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 on the road between Vancouver and Hope. The walk itself through the coastal rainforest is very easy, and takes only an average of 15 minutes walking to reach the viewing platform at the base of the falls.
5. Explore Kawkawa Lake
A day trip to Kawkawa Lake is a great addition to your planned activities in Hope. Located less than 5 minutes east of town along Kawkawa Lake Road is a public beach. Picnicking, barbecuing, swimming, and boating are very popular, and the public beach has a boat launch if needed.
It is perfect if you are looking for a more relaxing activity that will be a fun outing or day trip for everyone you are traveling with. The best part is, the lake is gorgeous, and the mountain views will certainly make your picnic a lot more scenic.
Alternatively, it could make a perfect spot for kayaking or canoeing if that is more your speed. The calm waters and epic views make kayaking here anything but boring.
6. Bridal Falls Waterpark
Just down the road from Bridal Viel Falls, there is an outdoor waterpark very nearby, Bridal Falls Waterpark, that is famous for its accessibility. It has no stairs at all but uses the natural terrain and paved inclines for guests to walk to the beginning of each slide. They have a large picnic area, and they do allow you to bring in your own food, so you can pack a lunch if you are on a budget. They also have splashing pools, a hot tub, a snack and ice cream shop, and more.
Admission costs $29 CAD per person, with children under 2 being free, or adults can purchase a dry pass if they are not using the slides or swimming for just $12. The waterpark is open from 11 am to 6 pm every day from June through September. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Hope for families with younger kids.
7. Wander Downtown Hope
Downtown Hope boasts a number of boutique shops and cafes, and the welcoming and friendly environment of the town makes wandering, window shopping, and exploring a lot of fun!
The Art Gallery is a must-see and features artwork of many types, including paintings, sculptures, pottery, jewelry, fabrics, and more. It is the heart of the art walk (more on that below on item #10 in this blog), periodically hosts classes and/or special exhibits, and artists are often working on pieces right in the gallery. It is open from 11 am to 3 pm Wednesday through Sunday and can be found at 349 Fort Street.
Beadifferent, found at 760 Third Ave, is a charming little crafting store that carries jewelry-making supplies, but they also sell a lot of local work, such as artisan soaps, jewelry, and carvings.
Selling new and used books, Baker’s Books is another gem of the downtown shops in Hope. I love exploring the stacks of books, never knowing what treasures might be found. At 800 Third Street, they are typically open 10 am – 5 pm every day, except Sundays.
I also recommend checking out the Artisan’s Attic and Fudgery. They are a gift shop, carrying an interesting variety of items that are the work of local craftspeople and artisans, and a fudge maker, selling delicious homemade fudge in a huge variety of flavors. Artisan’s Attic and Fudgery are located at 326 Wallace Street and open at 10 am and close at 4 pm or 4:30 pm each day.
8. Walk the Hope Lookout Trail
You can’t come to Hope, BC and not hike at least one trail. The area surrounding this town is pristine, and perfect for exploring on foot.
I would highly recommend the Hope Lookout Trail for a slightly more challenging hike with one-of-a-kind photo opportunities. The route is considered moderate difficulty and can take up to three hours. The path winds up the Hope mountain and ends at a lookout point from which the town of Hope and the Fraser River can be seen below.
The trailhead can be found by following Old Hope Princeton Way underneath the Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 overpass just outside of town. Depending on where you are staying, it will likely be within easy walking distance from your hotel or campground!
Related read: Heading to Vancouver? Check out the best easy hikes in Vancouver.
9. Visit Manning Park
Fresh air and adventure are underpinnings of the Manning Park Resort‘s motto. Down Hwy BC-3 E, about an hour from Hope, you’ll find this fun attraction. The picturesque resort is a destination of its own, as they host many activities year-round for guests and visitors.
The park becomes a uniquely Canadian paradise in the winter with skiing, snowboarding, sledding or tobogganing, snowshoeing, and ice skating. Manning Park Resort even has a Polar Coaster Tubing Course, which is a lot of fun for all ages!
In the summer, the park transforms again and becomes a wilderness destination for hiking, mountaineering, boating, camping, horseback riding, mountain biking, and more.
If you are interested in an adventurous getaway or seasonal sports and activities near Hope, Manning Park is incredible and so much fun.
Tip: You can actually book a room and stay at the Manning Park Resort – this is a good idea if you plan on spending some time here.
10. Go White Water Rafting
For the adventurous, white water rafting is an unforgettable experience. Navigate on BC’s beautiful mountain rivers with a small group of people on a raft, and experience the rapids, the white water sections, which vary in intensity and navigation difficulty based on the river your group is on.
If you book through REO Rafting, a resort destination just over an hour north of Hope, they will help you choose between five difficult routes and plan a trip suitable for you! The easiest trips, for example, are scenic float routes with little to no maneuvering and suitable for children as young as four years old. While the highest difficulty trips require strength, experience, and skill to maneuver the raft around hazards and through steep dropoffs, waterfalls, and rough waves.
White water rafting is a great, organized group activity, which can be booked as a day trip or overnight. White water rafting is perfect if you want to get on the water, see the mountains, and have the adventure of a lifetime. This is easily one of the best things to do in Hope, BC!
Related read: White water rafting is one of the best things to do in Golden!
11. See Fort Hope National Historic Site of Canada
The site of Fort Hope, now designated as a National Historic Site of Canada, is marked with a plaque and is a beautiful spot to visit.
The fort is no longer there, but its location was very significant to the Hudson’s Bay Company in the mid-1800s. After the land border between Canada and the USA was decided, Fort Hope became a substantial link for goods being shipped up the Fraser River and west to the interior via the railroads.
The plaque can be found at the end of Wallace Street, right on the edge of the Fraser River. If you spend any time exploring downtown Hope, be sure to walk down to the plaque if you are interested in seeing it!
12. Visit Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park
Another beautiful park to visit near Hope is Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park. A 30-minute drive north along Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1, the park is small and primarily features a little rest stop off the highway with washrooms and a picnic area.
The main bonus here, however, is the Old Alexandra Bridge, which is a wide suspension bridge built in 1926 after the destruction of the original bridge in 1894. It is only open to foot traffic now and is less than half an hour walk up the trail from the parking and picnicking area. The old bridge is a gorgeous spot, spanning the river, and another opportunity for photos and enjoying the mountain views.
13. Visit Silver Lake Provincial Park
Gorgeous and undeveloped, Silver Lake Provincial Park features another incredible mountainous lake. Hiking and fishing are most popular in the area, but kayaking, picnicking, camping, and relaxing on the rocky beachfront are great activities to do in the relatively out-of-the-way park.
Located twenty minutes south of Hope on Silver Skagit Road, it’s perfect for a scenic afternoon or day trip from Hope.
14. Visit Harrison Hot Springs
Harrison Hot Springs is half an hour southwest of Hope. It’s a small village built around naturally-occurring hot springs at the edge of a lake. There is a public beach, picnic area, and many ways to enjoy the lake, but the main draw is the hot springs which are between 40℃ (or 120℉) and 62℃ (or 145℉) and are sulfur and potash springs of the mineral-rich water.
The public pool, located in the village at the intersection of Hot Springs Road and Esplanade, houses some cooled soaking pools if you want to visit for the day and experience a relaxing soak in the natural mineral water. If you are interested in adding a spa experience to your trip, the Harrison Hot Springs Resort is a beautiful lakeside getaway destination of its own, with five different pools and a full spa available to resort guests.
15. Wander the Japanese Friendship Garden & Memorial Park
In the center of town, at Memorial Park, is a small spot of tranquility, the Japanese Friendship Garden. The garden includes a pond, a stone fountain, and several cherry trees and cultivates other Japanese plant life, depending on the season. It was built in honor of the residents of the Tashme Internment Camp, where over 2500 Japanese Canadians and recent immigrants were forcibly interned during the Second World War.
A disturbing time in Canadian history, this garden exists as a reminder so that the past will not be forgotten or brushed aside. If you would like to visit, the garden is open year-round, and if you’d like to learn more, you can visit the Heritage BC page on the Tashme Camp.
While there, be sure to wander Memorial Park. This gorgeous park in the center of town is home to huge trees and a very relaxing green space. Take a walk, have a picnic, and just enjoy those mountain views!
In the mountains, golf is a very popular activity. It allows you to be outdoors, enjoying the landscape and curated views while having a challenging game. The Hope Golf Club can be found just outside of town across Alexander Creek on Golf Course Road. They are open and friendly to visitors and members alike and have a patio restaurant on the fairway.
Their rates are based on the day of the week, with weekends being more expensive than weekdays. For adults, they charge $27 CAD ($33 on weekends) for nine holes and $36 ($46 on weekends) for eighteen holes.
Their rates are slightly discounted for seniors, $1-2 less than the regular price, and greatly discounted for children. If you prefer evening golf, twilight (4 pm) tees cost $only 20 CAD. They also have a driving range for those who want to hone their skills or are out of practice and offer power and pull cart rentals as well.
The course is very beautiful and definitely worth a visit if you are looking for activities in and around Hope.
17. Jones Lake (Wahleach Lake)
Want to explore one more stunning lake near Hope? From Hope, Wahleach Lake is around a 35-minute drive, and you’ll need to turn off the main highway for 9 km (which takes about 20 minutes because the road is partially gravel, and you’ll need to go slow.)
Once you reach the lake, I’m sure you’ll be impressed with the views. You can also fish here, and there are some hiking trails. There are also plenty of places to camp at Jones Lake Campsite, making it a popular spot for families to enjoy in the summer months.
We were just passing by, so only stopped in to enjoy the view, but those with more time should take advantage of this off-the-beaten-path lake yet to be discovered by the many!
Where to Stay in Hope, BC
If you are looking for accommodations in Hope, there are many options to consider because of the location, and most of them are very affordable.
A casual highway-side motel on Old Hope Princeton Way, Hope Inn and Suites offers the most affordably priced rooms with kitchenettes, free parking, and free Wi-Fi.
If you can spend a little more, then the High Hopes Bed and Breakfast is the highest-rated accommodation in Hope, and it’s located less than five minutes outside of town on Thacker Mountain Road. Boasting a cozy and polished atmosphere, each of their rooms has a private balcony with mountain views and private bathrooms. Their prices are modest but slightly higher than other options around Hope.
If you are looking for a luxury experience, staying in Hope itself may not be your best option. Instead, stay 30 minutes out of town at the luxurious Harrison Hot Springs Resort. You’ll have easy access to the beautiful hot springs after a day of exploring and enjoy a luxurious room.
For those with an RV or tent, there is a great camping park right in Hope called the Coquihalla Campground within walking distance of downtown Hope. They have beautiful riverside lots and several service options depending on your needs, and prices start as low as $40 per night.
Renting a Car in British Columbia
If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.
Car rental in Canada is relatively cheap, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $70 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Rental Cars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Rental Cars.com all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!
Thanks for reading!
As you can see from the list above, Hope, BC is a gorgeous place to explore and spend a few days. regardless of whether you’re just passing by on a Canada road trip or spending a few nights, I’m sure you’ll enjoy exploring Hope.
I hope (not pun intended) you enjoyed this blog and have your Hope bucket list all sorted. If you did, then check out more related blogs such as: