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Similkameen In Winter

Join us for winter in the Similkameen Valley, British Columbia. Now let’s help you get the most out of your time with us…

Whether you’re seeking a back-country adventure, a day of skiing, skating and tubing with your family, a quiet walk in the forest, or a low-key visit at one of our many wineries, there’s plenty of wide-open spaces to explore in the Similkameen.

A cloak of snow adds beauty
A Cloak of Snow Adds Beauty

Here are some of the highlights to take in while you’re staying in the Similkameen Valley this winter. Remember to check our winter travel tips  before you venture out…we want you to get here safely!

China Ridge

Take a short drive from Princeton up Snowpatch Road to China Ridge Trails. There, you’ll find over 50 kilometres of rails winding through the forest. Every trail is designed for a specific use, making it the best experience for visitors.

Cross country skiing hina Ridge
China Ridge

They are lovingly maintained by volunteers – members of the China Ridge Trails Association – and include tracks for cross-country skiing, skate-skiing, and snowshoeing in the winter months. Cross-country rental gear is available with a membership, and the trails are typically open from December through to March. If you’re an avid skate-skier, they’ve even created a track around the Princeton airport. You can contact the association for more information.

Lots of winter sports at Manning
Lots of Winter Sports at Manning

E.C. Manning Park

Tuck in at Manning Park Resort in the Cascade Mountains and explore winter in the Similkameen Valley at elevation.

This beautiful alpine escape offers up so many great experiences, whether you are a weekend warrior or a family seeking an escape from the ordinary, you can create memories to last a lifetime.

Whether you enjoy snowmobiling, snowboarding, downhill or Nordic skiing, skating, or just strapping on some snowshoes and going for a wander in the woods, you’ll find a winter adventure to suit your tastes and abilities.

Snowshoeing at Lightning Lake, Manning Park
Lightning Lake, Manning Park

Ever been on a Polar Coaster before…? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. Bundle up and get ready for some giggles and great memories at the resort’s tube park.

Few things define winter in Canada like skating on open ice. Bring your gear or rent it from Manning Park Resort and take the family out for a glide on one of the frozen ponds.

Is backcountry adventure your style? Don’t miss Three Brothers Mountain in Manning Park. Just be sure to check local conditions before heading out on your ski tour.

If you’re heading into the park, keep in mind that there isn’t a gas station for 60 kms east or west of the entrance, so be sure to top up your tank in Princeton or Hope before you venture up the mountain.

Manning Park toboggan run
Manning Park Toboggan Run

Ice Fishing

Every season is fishing season in the Similkameen Valley…and winter is one of the best.

If you’ve never tried your hand at fishing when it’s freezing outside, you’re in for a treat. If you’re an experienced angler, you already know what we’re talking about, so what are you waiting for?

Bundle up and head to Yellow Lake near Keremeos on Highway 3A – it’s one of the most popular destinations for novice and experienced anglers alike. It’s easy to access and a beautiful spot to spend the day waiting for the big one to take a bite.

Ice fishing, Yellow Lake, Keremeos
Ice fishing, Yellow Lake, Keremeos

If you’re up for a bigger adventure, take the winding road up to Tulameen and try your luck on Otter Lake.

You can get a full list of fishing lakes in and around Princeton – stop by the Visitor Centre for the definitive guide. And if you’re needing gear, Princeton Outdoor Supply on Bridge Street can probably take care of you.

Don’t forget…you’ll need a BC Fishing Licence. You can get one at the store.

Snowshoeing

There are so many places to strap on some snowshoes and take a walk in the woods. This is a great activity for the whole family…you don’t need experience to float over the snow, and you can pick your pace.

Take a short drive from Princeton up Snowpatch Road to China Ridge Trails. There, you’ll find 15kms of snowshoe trails winding through the forest. You’ll need to bring your own gear.

Snowshoeing at Lightning Lake, Manning Park
Lightning Lake, Manning Park

Or, head to E.C. Manning Park and wander the Similkameen West Trail…then pop into the Bear’s Den Pub in Manning Park Resort to warm up – or cool down. You can rent snowshoes at the resort and also find out about the various trails surrounding the area.

Keep in mind if you’re heading to Manning Park that there’s no gas station for 60 kms east or west, so be sure you’ve got a full tank when you start your drive from Hope or Princeton.

Don’t have snowshoes? Don’t worry, you can rent them at Princeton Outdoor Supply.

Snowshoeing China Ridge
Snowshoeing China Ridge

skating

There are few things that compare to skating in the great outdoors…

Winter in the Similkameen means frozen rivers and lakes just waiting for you to lace up your skates and glide amid the towering, snow-covered mountains and breathe in the crisp, fresh air.

Bring a hockey stick and you might find yourself playing a game of shinny with some new friends.

Ice skating, Keremeos
Keremeos Review

Check out the covered rink or Otter Lake in Tulameen, or the ponds in the mountains at Manning Park Resort, where you can rent everything you need for a day out on the ice with your family.

Staying in Keremeos? Their open-air community rink is open to the public – you can get the schedule here. Bring your skates and stick if you’ve got one and you might catch a pick-up game. The rink is typically open from December 4th to February 4th, weather permitting.

Princeton’s indoor arena is also open to the public for parts of the day – the schedule is posted here – and they offer skate rentals, as well.

If you’re planning to skate on one of our rivers, ponds or lakes, please exercise caution. Check with the locals if you’re not familiar with the conditions to avoid finding thin ice.

Snowmobiling

Nothing beats the freedom of exploring the backcountry on sleds, except for maybe the exhausted and happy feeling you have after carving fresh tracks over new fallen snow.

Sledders like it steep and deep, and the Similkameen Valley has some of the steepest and deepest this side of the Rockies.

Snowmobiling in the Similkameen
Snowmobiling in the Similkameen

Head onto the snowmobile trails from Princeton to Olalla, or make Tulameen your home base and connect with sledding enthusiasts who call the community their home. They’ve even got a repair shop if your machine needs some maintenance.

The BC Snowmobile Federation is your best source for local clubs and organised rides.

Backcountry conditions are unpredictable, so be sure to check the BC Avalanche Forecast and have a safe ride.