From Our Editors
“We had to travel where no human being should venture for surely we have encountered the gates of hell,” wrote explorer Simon Fraser in 1808 as he navigated between the canyon's walls at their narrowest point—only 35 metres across—earning the passage the name Hell's Gate. Today, Hell's Gate Airtram aims to make the natural feature less terrifying; whereas Fraser had to cross this expanse in an unsteady boat, the company helps customers traverse its rapids over a suspension bridge or in a gondola. Bright-red cable cars descend from one canyon wall to the adjacent bank, granting their passengers birds-eye views of the churning river, the passage, and canyon wildlife. A metal-grate suspension bridge also lets visitors pause over the surging currents to take photos, stand for a moment of reflection, and cheer on any salmon swimming upstream.
On one of the canyon's walls, visitors can reach an observation deck beside a sculpture recreating Simon Fraser's ascent of the rocky walls on the rope bridges of local First Nations people. Inside the visitors’ centre, staffers moderate screenings of three films covering topics that include a documentary about sockeye salmon, a film exploring Fraser's climb up the canyon, and a documentary on the region's modern-day gold rush. The on-site café, fudge shop, and other attractions also play host to stories of hauntings there, which include tales from staff and past visitors about hearing mysterious voices and seeing spectral shapes in photographs.