Author and historian Joe Smuin will lead us on a mountain bike tour along the Coquihalla Summit.
Historian Joe Smuin will lead a tour of the KVR’s most dangerous and expensive section — the Coquihalla Subdivision. With mountain bikes as our locomotive, we’ll explore 25 kilometres of rail bed from the Summit (former highway toll booths) downhill to Portia Station.
Leader Joe Smuin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the event. He worked as a railwayman for most of his life, and several of his family members helped to build and operate the KVR. There are dramatic stories of human sacrifice caused by extreme weather, rock slides, avalanches, forest fires, and runaway trains. Joe will not only share these stories, he’ll be able to show you the actual locations where they occurred. He also has a vast collection of historic photos he’ll use to bring the glory days of the KVR back to life.
The Kettle Valley Railway was an engineering achievement and a financial success for 45 years (1916-1961). In its heyday, it carried thousands of passengers and tons of freight, bringing prosperity to towns like Hope, which was an important station and maintenance hub. The KVR’s demise came with the building of Highway-3 and the resulting competition from cars and trucks during the 1950’s. By 1961, the Coquihalla Subdivision was closed due to high maintenance costs and declining revenue.
Although the engineering marvels of the KVR now lie in ruins, they still have a grandeur about them. The numerous tunnels, bridges, trestles, and snowsheds that punctuate the Coquihalla Summit become more awe-inspiring when you see the rugged landscape where they were built.
$125/adult; $60/youth, age 12 – 18.
* Shuttle bus
* KVR historian Joe Smuin
* Bike technician Keegan Payne
* Naturalist Kelly Pearce
* First aid backup and satellite phone
All participants must be in good health and have average physical fitness.
Must have previous cycling experience on uneven gravel roads and single-track forest trails. Riding grades will be moderate.
9:00 AM – Meet at Hope Recreation Centre; organize vehicles.
9:15 AM – Depart Hope, participants drive their own vehicles (carrying their bikes) up Highway-5 to the site of the former Toll Booths (now a public washroom and rest stop).
10:30 AM – Group begins riding down the KVR right of way toward Portia. 25 km total distance.
Noon – Lunch on the trail.
4:30 PM – Arrive at Portia Station on Highway-5, where Coquihalla River and Boston Bar Creek join. Shuttle bus takes drivers back up to Coquihalla Summit to retrieve their vehicles. Volunteers guard bikes at Portia until drivers return in their cars to load bikes and head home.
Participants will need their own vehicles to get to Hope and to drive their bikes up to the summit of the Coquihalla Highway (approximately 50km).
A shuttle bus will return you to your vehicle at day’s end.
Your bike should have multiple gears for trail riding, and durable tires and rims for riding on gravel roads and single-track forest trails. Suspension/shock absorbers are optional.
* Lunch, snacks and 2 litres of water
* Mountain bike or hybrid bike capable of trail riding
* Knapsack or panniers for carrying supplies
* Clothing for all weather
* Tools for bike repair/adjustment
* Extra inner tube
* Inner tube repair kit
* Riding gloves
* Toilet paper and hand sanitizer
* Head lamp
* 1 extra inner-tube specific to your bike
* Specialized tools required to repair/adjust your bike
While we love animals of all kinds, we ask that you please leave pets at home.
Everyone age 19 & over must sign a liability waiver form in order to participate in this program. Please take the time to read this form because you must understand and agree to it when you sign it. By signing it you are waiving certain rights, including the right to sue. These forms will be available to sign when you check in. Please seek legal counsel if you have any questions.
Everyone age 18 & under must have an informed consent form signed by their parent or legal guardian in order to participate. Please contact us if you need this form prior to arrival at this program.
If you are bringing children that you are not parent or legal guardian for, you need to get the informed consent form done ahead of the program and bring it along to participate.
If a registration is cancelled 7 days or more before a program starts, HMCOL will refund the program fee and equipment rental fees (as applicable) minus an administrative cost of $20 per person. Program and equipment rental fees will not be refunded if a cancellation is received less than 7 days before the start of a program. A program may be cancelled at the discretion of HMCOL. If a program is cancelled, participants will receive a full refund of program and equipment fees.
A note about liability
Hope Mountain Centre carries liability insurance and maintains excellent safety records. Due to the nature of outdoor programs, these trips do involve some personal risk. Hope Mountain Centre assumes no responsibility for personal injury or damage to personal property and we will require each participant to sign a liability release and assumption of risk form before participating in this program.
Please be aware that activities typical of this program involve many risks, dangers and hazards including, but not limited to: accidents which occur during transportation or travel to and from events; slips and falls; loss of balance; impact, cold water immersion; repetitive strain injuries; dislocated shoulders; hypothermia, frostbite, sunburn; changing and inclement weather conditions including storms, blizzards, whiteouts and high wind; steepness of terrain, tree wells, crevasses; avalanches, cornices, landslides and falling ice, snow and objects; encounters with domestic or wild animals; negligence on the part of releasees and other participants. While we love animals of all kinds, we ask that you please leave your pet at home.