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.
From mountains to desert along the Similkameen Valley, explore shorelines, paddle our waters, or jump in our lakes and rivers for a swim or float. There are surprise beaches and rocky shores to discover. Pick a spot for a picnic and spend a lazy day along the Similkameen or Tulameen Rivers. Locals know it’s the best way to beat the sizzling summer heat. Float between Princeton’s old Brown Bridge and the Bridge of Dreams or go further to PY Point, then on to Bromley Rock. Paddle or float from the Keremeos Red Bridge to Kobau Park in Cawston, and on to the Chopaka Wooden Bridge. Spending time on our rivers is part of what makes your Similkameen experience rugged, rustic, and real. Be sure to ask locals for their favourite spots!
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 /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 fruits and vegetables in Cawston, the Organic Capital of Canada
- Buy farm fresh fruits and vegetables in 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
- Explore the Princeton Sculpture Tour
View the Similkameen Valley Location Map
Where We Are
The Similkameen Valley runs parallel to the Canada US border along BC’s Crownest Highway 3. A three-hour drive from Vancouver, BC, this rural and electric corridor is a rugged and rustic area with a recognized agriculture and wine region in the east. Our rural open spaces make for self-directed adventures. The heart of our valley is the Similkameen River, which carved our region from the Cascade Mountains. As you drive through you’ll notice eclectic small towns, ranches and farms from seemingly eras past. You’ll also find our valley is home to adventures both mild and wild. We are home to the Fruit Stand Capital (Keremeos), the Organic Farming Capital of Canada (Cawston) and the Bronze Statue Capital of Canada (Princeton). And the wine, oh and the wine. We are an award-winning wine region, as well.
Rich experiences abound in the spectacular Similkameen Valley. Whether it’s outdoor adventures on foot, by bike, or paddle, or wandering orchards, cideries, or vineyards sipping wines in a world class wine region, the Similkameen is a gem to be discovered or re-discovered. Explore a land that is rugged and rustic. Get to know the welcoming spirit of the people – we may even tell you a bit about ourselves, our ancestors, and how we came to live in this special valley. Meet the locals who are continuing to shape our story. Listen carefully to hear the echoes of our past and the promise of our future.
The Similkameen River’s raw beauty is a reminder of nature’s power. Flowing down from the Cascade Mountains, you can marvel at how the River carved the beautiful valley over 200 million years ago. Today, the valley offers craggy cliffs, meadows of mountain flowers, lush orchards, and rows of vineyards.
It’s where you’ll find us: floating the river, walking mountain trails, fishing on sparkling lakes and rivers, picnicking, biting into juicy just-picked fruit, talking with a winegrower, and everywhere relishing the beauty of where we live. We’ve been happy to share it with generations of travellers. We’d love to share it with you.
ABOUT THE SIMILKAMEEN VALLEY
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 be sure 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 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. Wintertime is for playing in the snow. 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!