For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, which is why every time a human attempts to fly, a bird attempts to drive a stick shift. Engage in one of the primary mandates of physics with today’s Groupon to Hell’s Gate Airtram (a $54 value) in Boston Bar, about a 2.5-hour drive east of Vancouver. This Groupon expires on September 30. Choose between the following options:
- For $32, you get a gold-panning adventure for two (a $64.62 value).
- For $64, you get a gold-panning adventure for four (a $129.24 value).
Gold-panning adventures include:
- Airtram tickets (a $20 value each)
- Bowls of homemade salmon chowder (a $6.71 value each)
- Panning for gold admissions (a $5.60 value each)
The Hell’s Gate Airtram ferries sightseers and outdoor adventurers over the rushing waters of the Fraser River at Hell’s Gate and across to a tiny tourist town filled with a hodgepodge of historically themed activities. The intracanyon aerial tramway offers panoramic views of the dramatic canyonscape during the drop into an area that boasts the biggest claim ever staked during the 1860s Fraser River Gold Rush, when citizens buried their gold jewellery, then challenged prospectors to dig it back up again. Friends gather around the gold-panning station, sifting through gravel culled from the Hills Bar along the Fraser River and training eyes to hone in on flecks of precious gold. Hot bowls of homemade salmon chowder refuel fatigued scavengers at Simon’s Café, after which visitors tiptoe across the passenger suspension bridge that stretches over the narrow, 35-metre pass and lean over the observation deck to take pictures of the scene.
An area with reportedly high paranormal activity, Hell’s Gate invites guests to head to the gift shop to seek autographs from regularly appearing specters, including the girl behind the gift-shop door. Additionally, environmental enthusiasts can check out the fisheries exhibition or spend part of the day hiking and having staring contests with trees on the nearby trails.
Hell's Gate Airtram
“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.