The Ladner Creek Trestle is a teeny section of the historic Kettle Valley Railway. I normally love visiting cool rusty architecture in beautiful mountainous scenery, so visiting this old railway bridge sounded fabulous. The trail to reach the trestle is right next to the Coquihalla Highway, so it can work well as a stop off on the way (or way back) from other hikes near Hope.
We dropped by to take a peek when we were driving back from our fantastic Camping adventure at Little Douglas Lake.
Ladner Creek Trestle – trail map
Ladner Creek Trestle – the basics
Distance: 1.8 km
Elevation gain: 140 m
Time: 45 mins – 1 hour
What to bring:
The 10 Essentials
Nothing here. However it’s very close to Hope if you need the loo or a coffee.
I wouldn’t recommend it. There are some very steep drop offs, so if you do bring your dog, keep it on a leash.
How hard is it?
Intermediate – The trail is easy to follow, but very steep at the start, then quite dangerous once you get to the tunnel and bridge.
Extra notes: We found a sign that says no trespassing, so I don’t think you’re meant to venture out on this trail. There is a large fence blocking off access to the trestle, so if you are hoping to walk out on it, you’ll be disappointed.
Ladner Creek Trestle – getting started
There are two ways to reach the trailhead. If you are driving South towards Hope, there is a small gravel road on the right just before you reach the Ladner Creek Bridge. Watch out for the green sign that says Ladner Creek, and be ready to turn! Or, if you’re coming from Hope, you exit the highway at Carolin Mine Road. From there you can drive alongside the highway and go under the Ladner Creek bridge (that road is super bumpy.) The trail starts at a steep rock pile, in view of the Coquihalla Highway and Ladner Bridge.
The rock pile is STEEP! It isn’t too hard to hike up but, it can be very sketchy on the way back down when you return. You climb about 50m in elevation over around 100m of slide-y, dusty terrain. Just be careful and go slowly. After that, the trail gets much easier.
Ladner Creek Trail
Even once the trail levels out, it is still very steep above you. The photo (below left) is looking up from the trail to the steep slope above. There were plenty of areas with rock slides, so you should avoid this trail when it is wet, or in winter when there is snow on the ground.
Ladner Creek Tunnel
It does not take long (15-20 mins) for you to reach the collapsed tunnel. This used to go through the mountain to the start of the Ladner Creek Trestle. Now it has been decommissioned, you need to hike up and over the hill to the left of the tunnel.
This is the path next to the tunnel. It is (again) very steep. Keep to the left as there is a cable for you to grab while you climb. Once again, this is much easier to climb up than to come back down again.
View of the Ladner Creek Trestle
It is pretty cool to see the old railway bridge spanning the deep canyon.
How close can you get to the Ladner Creek Trestle
I have seen plenty of photos of people standing on the trestle. However it has rotten wood as well and rusty metal, so I strongly advise against this! In 2020 the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure built a safety fence to prevent folks from walking out onto the trestle. Since then, there seems to have been a bit of a landslide, so the sketchy path down to the trestle has worn away making it far more slippery and dangerous.
Marc and I didn’t go further than my photo below as it was too risky. Some hikers had to be rescued after they got stuck on the scree slope below here last year. I personally don’t think a photo of an old railway bridge is worth the risk.
Is the Ladner Creek Trestle Open?
Officially, the Ladner Creek Trestle is on private land and you are not meant to visit it. There is a no trespassing sign near the start of the trail. The path is so steep that we missed it on the way up (I was looking down to keep my footing.) It doesn’t seem like the Ministry does much to enforce this (as the countless instagram photos will attest to.) But I wish the other blogs/posts I’d read before we visited mentioned that there isn’t any kind of authorized trail.
Is the Ladner Creek Trestle worth the effort?
I know I normally get excited and recommend every possible hike; But to be honest, I don’t recommend this one. Now I know how hard it is to reach, how dangerous and sketchy the area around the trestle is aaaand that it is on private property that we are not meant to access; I don’t think I’d bother to visit it again. If you love seeing historical landmarks, and you don’t mind not getting up close, then you might still enjoy it.
Othello Tunnels – a better option
As an alternative, Othello Tunnels (which is just down the road from here) is way more fun and has the added bonus of epic Canyon views. This feat of engineering follows the same Kettle Valley Railway, but through a serious of linked up bridges and tunnels. It’s really cool!
I know it is a bit unlike me to me negative about historical sights or any kind of hike. I did enjoy the walk to the Ladner Creek Trestle – I just wouldn’t recommend it highly compared to the other cool historical hikes in the area. If you fancy a history-filled hike near Hope; have a look at Othello Tunnels, The HBC trail (to Covile Camp or Mason’s Ridge) or the Tikwalus Heritage trail.
What do you think? Would you give it a go?