May 11, 2015

Scenic Fraser Canyon

Our first full day in Canada was spent driving through the stunning Fraser Canyon, named for Simon Fraser who was the first European to descend the Fraser River in 1808.  Sheer granite walls line both sides of the highway, which winds its way through seven tunnels blasted through the rock.  The river roars through the canyon far below the highway, and we were able to catch glimpses from time to time.  Unfortunately, there just wasn't any turnout where we could get photographs.
Saddle Rock Tunnel

Two sets of railroad tracks parallel each side of the Fraser River, and I was excited to watch both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railway trains pass by.  Laying these tracks, as well as the early wagon road, was quite an engineering feat through this challenging terrain. 

A favorite stop in Fraser Canyon is Hell’s Gate, a section of the river described by Simon Fraser as a place “where no human being should ever venture, for surely we have encountered the gates of hell.”  Today, a private operator offers aerial gondola rides that descend to the river and offer a great view of the gorge.  Although it looked like fun, we decided to save our $42 for another adventure.

The Gondola Ride Into Hell's Gate

We learned that the area around Fraser Canyon is the dry forest region of British Columbia and that it can get very hot here in the summer.  It was a surprisingly warm 80˚ during much of the day, and we chuckled when we heard that it had been snowing in Colorado. 

The town of Lytton, where we stopped for lunch, is located at the confluence of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers, and from there the highway begins to follow the Thompson River.  The high canyon walls soon dropped away and were replaced with more gentle slopes.  The highway runs beside the river, and the views were more expansive. Although not as dramatic, this part of the drive was just as lovely.  The highway soon left the forest behind as well, and we entered what has been called the “Arizona of Canada,” a semi-arid desert.

The Highway Passes Under Railroad Bridges

A Bit of Color Along the River

I Love to Watch the Trains

A Scenic Drive on Our Second Day in Canada

Railroad Tunnels Cut Through the Hillside

Can You See the Train?

We stopped for the day in Clinton and checked into a funky campground with a decidedly quirky owner.  I didn’t quite get his sense of humor and was a bit annoyed when he refused to give me the password for the Wi-Fi.  “It’s not available for the first thirty minutes of your stay,” he said, “since we want you to relax and unwind.”  Huh?  Maybe having Wi-Fi would help me relax!  I’ve been without it and am in withdrawal!

The owner somewhat redeemed himself in my eyes with his BBQ buffet. Tim walked over without me and brought back a yummy plate of ribs for us to share.  He also was able to get the Wi-Fi password, which actually worked, and I was able to post today’s update to the blog.  Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make me happy.


  1. I recognize that red rock and scenic view in your sixth image - that was where we over nighted. Beautiful area. Your images are lovely.

  2. Thank you. What a gorgeous spot to spend the night. I'm glad I was able to capture a photograph of it! We absolutely loved the drive through Fraser Canyon, but the best may be yet to come.


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