Biking the Similkameen
The Kettle Valley Rail (KVR)/Great Trail (GT) offer a great cycling day trip developed for all levels of riders.
From downtown Princeton travel the KVR/GT west through the 305 m (1000 ft) tunnel built in 1910 and over the old train bridge. Three kms (1.9 mi) from Princeton are the Red Ochre Bluffs. Here you will find the same red vermilion or ochre used by the Similkameen people to produce pictographs on rock faces. Pedal another kilometre down the road and you will come upon the amazing hoodoos. These nature made stone pillars were created as a result of erosion from wind and water. After your break, continue west along the pristine Tulameen River and explore the valley to Coalmont and on to Tulameen. This breathtaking section of the KVR/GT is a flat easy grade to hike or bike.
Travel the beautiful Bridge of Dreams east. Enjoy a gradual cycling grade from Princeton along mountain meadows and through wooded forests. Experience the beautiful countryside full of wildlife, birds, trees and flowers. Don’t forget your stop at Swan Lake Bird Sanctuary 2 km (1.2 mi) outside of Princeton.
Kettle Valley Loop
Cyclist will enjoy the Kettle Valley Loop from downtown Princeton up to China Ridge to explore the trails and back to Princeton on the KVR/GT. You can begin your 40 km (25 mi) round trip ride from downtown Princeton or you can shuttle up to the trailhead at China Ridge, which takes away 15 km (9 mi) of the uphill section of the trail. The China Ridge Rail Trail meanders through a challenging course of trees, rocks, deadfalls and dips. Then it goes down to beautiful White Sands Beach along the Tulameen River on the KVR/GT. There is a refreshing swimming hole and a sandy beach where you can rest before tackling the return ride along the KVR/GT. This scenic trip follows the picturesque Tulameen River, through two tunnels and over three bridges and brings you right back into Princeton.
Princeton west to Tulameen: For an overnight trip, (52 km/32 mi return) take the same route and continue on past Coalmont to Tulameen. Tulameen was known as Otter Flats during the gold rush. North of Tulameen is Otter Lake Provincial Park with a lakeside campground.
Princeton east to Ospry Lake: At 4 km (2 mi) east of Princeton, you will pass by Princeton Castle Resort and the historic stone ruins of the Portland Cement Plant finished in 1908. The first 20 minutes of this trip is all uphill. Be sure to plan ahead and bring plenty of water. The Jura Loops part of the trail offers scenic views of the Hayes Creek Valley below. From there it’s another 25 km to the Chain Lake Campground. Stop here or ride the trail a few more minutes to Osprey Lake where you’ll bed down for the night in a rustic campground.
Get more great trail ride information at the Princeton Visitors’ Centre in the heart of downtown Princeton.