[Hell’s Gate, BC, Canada] — It’s really hard for me to pass up a place that’s been referred to as “the Gates of Hell.”

That’s just how I roll.

Simon Fraser, however, didn’t have much choice in the matter. In 1808, the explorer encountered towering rock walls and churning rapids in this narrow gorge along what is now the Fraser River, in Canada’s westernmost province of British Columbia.

“We had to travel where no human being should venture,” he wrote. “For surely we had encountered the gates of hell.”

He’d been sent by his employers to map out a trade route to the Pacific Ocean. He and his crew endured many hardships on their 36-day, 520 mile journey, not the least of which was the navigation of the area now known as Hell’s Gate.

Today, you can easily traverse Fraser Canyon on the scenic Trans-Canada Highway — as I did, by motorcycle last year — and stop just north of Spuzzum (is that a great name for a town, or what?) for a ride on the Hell’s Gate Airtram. The tram takes you into the valley — a 500 foot descent, measured vertically — between the Cascade and Pacific Coastal Mountain Ranges.

Going down?

At the bottom, you can walk out on a steel suspension bridge over the river’s narrowest, and deepest point.

There’s also a gift shop, gold panning attraction, exhibits on river salmon, and a café.

“Pretty good view, eh?” another visitor asks rhetorically.

Indeed it is, a reminder that one man’s hell can be another’s heaven.


Hell’s Gate Airtram

43111 Trans-Canada Highway

Boston Bar, BC Canada VOK 1CO

(604) 867-9277


British Columbia tourism: http://www.hellobc.com/


On the Trans-Canada Highway near Hell’s Gate

Suspension bridge over Fraser River

Obligatory embarrassing souvenir picture



About Glen Abbott
Glen Abbott is a Florida-based travel writer & photographer specializing in motorcycle touring and travel. He is regular contributor to Harley-Davidson's HOG Magazine, and his travel features appear regularly in motorcycle magazines and other publications.

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  1. Travelin' Gringo

    June 13, 2012

    Hi Debbie, yes the canyon is beautiful. By the way, you actually take the tram DOWN into the canyon!

  2. I’ve heard how beautiful the Fraser River is and would love to visit! I would definitely take the tram up to enjoy the scenery.
    Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista recently posted..Picturesque Costa Brava

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