August 2014 and BC was having a record hot summer, the teachers were on strike and we wanted to make our vacation last a little longer! Problem, trying to find a camp site on the labour day long weekend along with everyone else who were thinking the same way. I must have called 15 different places only to find various problems. Either they didn’t have room, they were very expensive or they wanted us to pay for our kids’ tent. A friend then recommended Coquihalla Campground. We emailed and, lucky for us, they had a double site but no hook- ups. It was only a long weekend trip so we figured we could do it. We were camping with another family so we had 4 adults and 4 teenagers on a double site. The weather forecast was for rain so, if you know Hope, you understand that if the lower mainland is getting rain then Hope is getting soaked. We had a list of things we wanted to do: Othello tunnels, golf, bike riding, a run and dinner out. Seemed like we had a lot to fit into 4 days!
We were booked into site 32 & 33. The site was good; big enough for 2 trailers as well as a large tent for the kids. The set up felt very much like a Provincial Campground as there was a lot of privacy at each site and they were spaced a nice distance apart. The campground is located on the river, in August it is very low, so we were able to hike the river bed. With the forecast calling for rain we decided to set up tarps. This is something we need to get much better at but the good news was the fire ban was off so we could have campfires. The campground has a BBQ shelter so once the rain started we just walked over to the shelter and enjoyed our bottle of wine while staying dry and playing games, loved this feature. Saturday our husbands went golfing at the local course while my friend and I went for a run into town. Coquihalla Campground is right in Hope but feels like you are out in the woods. After a run into and through town we ended with a latte at amazing coffee shop.
Sunday was to be the best weather day so all 8 of us headed to Othello tunnels. It took us about 30 minutes to walk from the campground to the start of the trail. That part is a long hill so if this is an issue then driving to the start of the tunnel trail is recommended, there is plenty of parking. Once on the trail, it is beautiful. Being an old railway route it is almost flat and it’s wide enough to walk as a group. Two of us had bikes and found it an easy and enjoyable ride. The tunnels are being repaired right now so you can go through most of them but the last bridge is under construction so access is blocked off from our direction and you just turn around and walk back. Well worth the trip. The two of us on bikes returned on the bike trail off the main road. It was a very enjoyable ride and mostly on a downhill slope back.
There is no doubt we will return to Coquihalla campground. The layout and site set up is great, the managers were friendly and welcoming, and the rules were enforced but not to the point of taking away from anyone’s experience. Now we just need to plan around better weather.
Here is my advise for this campground.
- Recommended sites: If you are looking for a double site with hookups I would suggest 81/82, 83/84, 85/86 or 72/73. Any sites in the center area are good and if you are camping as a group they have easy access to each other. If you are looking for a single site try 18, 61 or 80. They all have privacy and are a good size. If you don’t need hook ups, any double on the back row is good or single sites 19, 66 or 71. If you want a river front site, I would recommend trying to get 102-108. These looked like the best choices. Sites to avoid: don’t book a site on the east side that backs onto 7th ave. The houses behind you can see right into your site and it is like camping in your back yard. Sites 89, 90 and 91 are all right at the entrance and have a lot of traffic going by, also at night headlights will come right into 89 and 90. Sites 42-48 are really an open field so if you are camping as a group they would work but I prefer more privacy, this is the same for river sites 97-100. All sites on Kawkawa Lake Road will have increased traffic noise so keep that in mind when booking. Finally the river sites 109 – 114 look good on the map but there is a security camera in that corner and based on other campers reviews it appears this area may have a bit of crime. There is access at that back corner to the local hospital so that ability to exit might contribute to that feeling. At no time did we experience any unsafe situations but it was in some of the review I read and after visiting there I can see why people said that.
- Campground Highlights
- Overall campground layout was great, it felt like a provincial campground.
- Full, partial or no hook-ups. Great options for everyone and even a flat easy to access sani dump.
- Clean, new, big washrooms with individual shower rooms great from families with young kids.
- BBQ shelter
- Walking distance to town and other activities
- Located on the river.
- Bike trails right from the campground
- Grassy area for games
- Campground Lowlights
- If you get one of the sites on the east side you may be backing onto someones back yard
- The trail access to the washrooms from different sites is not great. We felt like we were trespassing into other sites each time we had to go to the washroom. This could be easily fixed.
- Things to do
- Othello tunnels
- Golf – driving distance
- River activities
- Hell’s Gate – 30 minute drive
- Alexandria Bridge – 15 minute drive
- River rafting – driving distance
- Hell’s Gate – http://www.hellsgateairtram.com/
- Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park – http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/alexandra/
- Othello Tunnels – http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/coquihalla_cyn/
- Fraser River Rafting Expeditions – http://www.fraserraft.com/
- Hope Golf Club – http://www.golfhope.ca/
- Blue Moose Coffee House – http://www.bluemoosecafe.com/
- Tourism BC, Hope – http://www.hellobc.com/hope/things-to-do.aspx