Unique Ways to Cross the Fraser River
October 16, 2019
Humans have been trying to find creative ways to navigate and cross the Fraser River for hundreds of years. The turbulent waters make it no easy task; the early explorer Simon Fraser stated in his journal that it was like “passing through the gates of Hell” and “no man should ever venture through here”. 200 years later, these 7 unique ways to cross the Fraser River will show you how transportation ingenuity has developed, from the historic Alexandra Bridge to the modern Fraser River Suspension Bridge.
There is a secret suspension bridge in the Fraser Canyon that you have to check out! Suspended between small First Nations communities and the Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park, it will truly take your breath away. Feeling like a hike? The trail after the bridge will lead you to the Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park and Stein River Valley. Home to ancient and sacred aboriginal landmarks and spiritual locations, which are typically accessed through #1 on this list!
At the bottom of the tram ride at Hell’s Gate is the Hell’s Gate Suspension Bridge that crosses the most turbulent section on the Fraser River. If you’re feeling brave, look down, the bridge deck is see-through! Directly below the bridge is the spot known as Hell’s Gate. This part of the river is 110 ft wide and can range from 90 ft deep to 210 ft deep. The amount of water flowing through Hell’s Gate is more than twice the water flow of Niagara Falls!
The Old Bridge, as locals call it, was built in 1913. This suspension bridge has been repurposed as a foot bridge, and provides lovely views of the river and surrounding area. The bridge offers stunning photo opportunities, and makes for excellent wildlife viewing.
Photo Credits: Sidney Scotchman via GlobalBC
No visit to the Fraser Canyon is complete without a ride on the tram at Hell’s Gate, BC. This one is not for the faint of heart, as the crossing on the tram can be a little nerve racking! However, the views of the Fraser River alone make the trip worth it, not to mention the spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Once off the tram, there’s fudge to eat, gold to pan, and souvenirs to buy.
The best view of the famous Fraser & Thompson River confluence can be seen from the exciting new Fraser River Catwalk that has been added onto the existing railway bridge in Lytton, BC. The pedestrian bridge offers views of the silty brown water of the Fraser River converging with the blue-green water of the Thompson River.
Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park is a great picnic area and pit stop along the Fraser Canyon journey, and the historic Alexandra Bridge is a long time favorite of visitors to the Fraser Canyon. This historic bridge was built in 1926, and continues to offer views of the river and surrounding mountains to all who cross it. If you are afraid of heights, this bridge may not be for you, as it has a see-through deck, too! Just after crossing the new Alexandra Bridge, you’ll see a parking lot to park your car, and the trail down to the old bridge is well-marked.
This ferry is actually powered by the currents of the Fraser River! It brings vehicles and pedestrians across the river in Lytton, BC, and is a fun and free activity to experience. It also is the vehicle access to the Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park. Visitors don’t have to drive on the ferry to take a ride! You can also park your car and walk aboard to cross for a scenic and fun view of the Fraser River.
BONUS: Hell’s Gate Jet Boat Tours
One of the best ways to experience the Fraser River is on a jet boat with Hell’s Gate Jet Boat Tours! Follow the same path as early explorers as you experience the breathtaking views of the mountains, and wildlife around you as you relax on a Scenic Jet Boat Tour, or get wet and wild with Whitewater Jet Boating! You’ll love the adventure, and with multiple trips to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Visit www.hellsgatejetboattours.com to book a trip!
Outside of these unique ways to cross the Fraser River, the Fraser Canyon has some pretty awesome viewpoints along some of the pedestrian walkways on typical road bridges. While the road bridges themselves may not be as unique as our list of crossings, the views from them certainly are. Be careful where you park when accessing these bridges.
Hope Fraser Bridge – Hope
New Alexandra Bridge – Spuzzum
Cog Harrington Bridge – Boston Bar
Spintlum Bridge – Lytton
Bridge of the 23 Camels – Lillooet
We hope you enjoyed this list of unique ways to cross the Fraser River; what’s your favorite way? No matter which you choose, you’re sure to enjoy scenic views of the river and mountains, and have an awesome time!