I’m not sure anyone knows the “real” reason that the town of Hope, British Columbia is named as it it. However, the swarm of tour buses that roll into town for lunch each summer day love to tell the story of how it was named by gold rushes headed into Canada looking for gold, and hope. Regardless of the fact that Hope is mostly just a lunch break for the big tour groups, I think it’s a fantastic little town. It’s quite, it’s quaint and its setting is absolutely stunning. You might not need to set your entire travel schedule around town, but it’s good for a day for sure.
Time Needed: 1-2 Days
Backpacker’s Budget: 60-75USD a Day
Things to do in Hope
While you aren’t likely to find yourself as stocked with options as in bigger destinations in British Columbia, you wont find yourselves starved for options either. And if all else fails, Hope is a great place to simply relax and unwind.
- Chainsaw Carvings: Around town there are all sorts of different statues carved out by chainsaw. For the tour buses, this is the main attraction in town. They are quite impressive.
- Muskwa Gallery: If you’re looking for indigenous art, this is the place in town to do it.
- Hiking: The nearby Stein Valley has some nice trails. You also aren’t too far from EC Manning Provincial Park which also has some nice nature options.
- Fishing: If you have your own gear there are plenty of rivers and lakes around to fish. I’m not sure if there are any operators in Hope providing tours, so I imagine you’ll have to do it on your own accord.
- Flightseeing: When I was a kid, the area of Hope was really popular for hang-gliders. However, I think I remember hearing a while back that it’s been banned where the flights used to go. However, there is a soaring federation out of Vancouver that still comes out and does glider runs in the summer months.
Where to Eat in Hope
Since the town mostly caters to the drive-thru travellers you’ll find fast food and cafes here in Hope. The cafe’s are all quite good, however I’m very partial to the Blue Moose Cafe, and I’m not just saying that because they used to give me free food when I worked as a driver guide! They are organic and health conscious, and have great soups and sandwiches. On the same street, there is a much smaller cafe of which name I can’t remember. However, if you find it, try the tuna melts, they are amazing.
Where to Stay in Hope
While Hope is a bit of a stop along the way, the budget accommodation is quite limited in town. I’m fairly sure that there is no hostel in town so your options are likely limited to camping or a motel. There are, of course, hotel and B&B options but they will all likely cost at least $100 a night.
- Camping: There are private campsites just outside of town for RVs and tenters. For me, the best is the Coquihalla Campground which was $25 a night and even had wifi on site. If you’re looking for a provincial park option your best bet is Manning Provincial Park.
- Motel: I’ve only stayed overnight in a hotel in Hope once and stayed at the Park Motel which cost me $55 for the night and was decent.
Getting out of Town
Hope is the crossroads of many different highways so you’ll have many options for your next direction. Unless you’re on your own wheels you’ll likely be with Greyhound.
- Vancouver: It’s about a two hour trip to downtown Vancouver if the traffic isn’t too bad. If you’re in your own car it is about 20-25 minutes less than that.
- Kamloops: You’ll drive the Coquihalla Highway uphill to Kamloops passing through the town of Merrit. It’s about 2 1/2 hours to Kamloops with a bus and 2 hours driving. That is of course if you don’t encounter one of the Coquihalla’s famous storms on the way.
- Kelowna: Turning east at Merrit you’ll arrive in Kelowna in about 3 hours via the bus or 2 1/2 driving.
- Whistler: I’m sure you’ll have to change buses in Vancouver to get to Whister, but with a smooth connection you could get there in about 5 hours via bus. If you do it in car and traffic is good 4 hours is possible.
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