I was driving along the Trans Canada Highway when I saw signs for the Hell’s Gate attraction. I pulled into their FREE spacious parking lot, walked on the over ramp and made my way into the entrance. Who would have imagined there would have been a tourist attraction off the barren highway in the Fraser Canyon?
My stomach turned a bit as I looked down into the canyon and saw how steep the tram went down. There were gigantic rock walls on either side of the roaring river. I held on to the handrail with white knuckles as the wind was howling in between the canyon. It was a beautiful day and I couldn’t wait to discover the history behind this place.
The first recorded history of Hell’s Gate was from Simon Fraser’s journal in 1808. He described it as an “awesome gorge” and coined the term “gates of hell.” Hell’s Gate is a 110 feet (35 meter) section of the mighty Fraser River, where the waters force their way through this narrow passage, making it turbulent and powerful. Fraser and his companions passed this part of the river on cliffs on a series of bridges and ladders built by local Nlaka’pamux people.
In 1969, Hell’s Gate started their construction of the aerial tram and it was finally open to the public on July 20, 1971.
Today, Hell’s Gate is proud to say they are the only air tram in the world to descend into the depths of “hell”. This aerial tramway allows visitors to conveniently and comfortably cross the spectacular canyon
I boarded the tram and it was a quick, steep descent into the canyon. The ride was scenic as it gave me an aerial perspective of the white flowing river, the steep grade of the canyon, and the natural wilderness that surrounded it. It was a unique perspective and it was hard to fathom that Simon Fraser climbed these very cliffs, risking life and limb, all for the sake of exploration and adventure!
Once I got to the other side of the canyon, my favorite parts was walking along the observation Deck and on the Suspension Bridge. I really felt and saw how powerful the river rushed through the narrow gorge as I looked down from the open metal grid. As I stood in the middle of the bridge, it made me appreciate how much courage it took for Simon Fraser and his companions to travel through here. I definitely had a greater appreciation and understanding for him as an explorer and pioneer.
After the tram ride, I visited a number of their attractions. There is an educational exhibit of the life cycle of a spawning salmon and there's also a café and a gift shop. I even tried my hand in panning for gold. I ended my adventure with a delicious taste test at their famous Fudge Factory. There’s something for every taste bud here as there are up to 100 flavors of fudge to choose from.
43111 Trans Canada Hwy
Boston Bar, British Columbia
1 (604) 867-9277