Carved by the River
In the eternal struggle to get away from it all, the Similkameen offers travellers something just a little different. This land is off the beaten path, eclectic, out there, and edgy. This is our story, a story that’s scenically stunning and full of natural wonders. There’s a pioneering spirit here. It leads to countless opportunities for personal discovery, plain and simple.
Top things to do in the Similkameen
- Spend your day floating down the Similkameen River
- Visit the Granite Creek Ghost Town and Cemetery
- Hike or bike the Kettle Valley Rail Trail/Great Trail (formerly the Trans Canada Trail) from Princeton to Coalmont and back again
- Take in an event, workshop, tour or concert at the Grist Mill and Gardens
- Discover our storied past at Princeton, Hedley and Keremeos museums and the Snaza’ist Discovery Centre
- Taste your way across the Similkameen at our harvest celebrations
- Hike, ski or snowshoe in Manning Park, Cathedral Lakes and China Ridge
- Fish our lakes and rivers in all four seasons for Rainbow and Brook trout
- Buy organic in Cawston, the Organic Capital of Canada
- Visit Keremeos, Canada’s Fruit Stand Capital
- Chat with owners and winemakers about our terroir at our wineries
- Relax and enjoy the beauty while photographing Swan Lake Bird Sanctuary in Princeton
View the Similkameen Valley Location Map
Where We Are
We are on the edge of the Thompson-Okanagan region of British Columbia. You’ll find us just above the US border, bounded by the Okanagan Valley and the Lower Mainland. The Similkameen is a rugged, rustic and real under-discovered region made for adventurous self-explorers. Vast and varied, it’s almost 200 kilometres (125 mi) long.
The heart of our valley is the Similkameen River, which carved our region from the Cascade Mountains. As you drive through our valley, you’ll notice eclectic small towns and ranches and farms from seemingly eras past. You’ll also find our valley is home to adventures both mild and wild. We’re are home to the Fruit Stand Capital and the Organic Farming Capital of Canada. And the wine, oh and the wine. We are an award-winning wine region, as well.
How to Find Us
Follow BC Highway 3 from the Allison Pass to the Richter Pass, and you’ll find yourself smack in the Similkameen Valley. Glimpses of our prospecting, First Nation and pioneering past are still evident today, in towns and villages and heritage sites all across the valley. Follow the highway through rolling ranch and farmlands to the fragile grasses of the Columbia Plateau’s northern tip. Follow our story as you follow the river the whole length of your journey, in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains. You won’t be the first to pull over for a picture. Time and the elements have shorn the mountains into craggy, jagged peaks, lending a breathtaking backdrop for your visit. There are plenty of roadside sightings and photo opportunities of eagles, mountain goats and Big Horned sheep.
The Similkameen Valley residents are that old-school type of friendly, so don’t be afraid to stop and ask for directions. If you have an extra couple of minutes, you might get a recommendation that can change your trip! Even if you’re driving by, don’t forget to wave back…we still do that here. It’s the kind of laid-back place where unique and unforgettable experiences often surprise you but don’t be surprised by our hospitality; it’s almost as warm as our Similkameen summers.
Our Story of Sensational Seasons
Ask anyone what’s shakin’ around here, and the answer will depend on the season. There’s no wrong time to visit. Winter is our “off” season, but that means you’ll be “off” the highway playing in the snow in no time at all. Summer really sizzles with countless events and almost as many recreational choices as there are mountains and lakes to play in. For full immersion fun, come in the spring when the valley’s in bloom and rivers run their fastest, or visit in fall for harvest events, samplings of some of the best wines in BC at our local vineyards and just-baked pies made of fruit picked just that morning.
It took Mother Nature 200 million years to create this place. It’s time you saw it for yourself. Free of crowds, rich in natural wonders and local flavours, the Similkameen Valley is waiting for you!