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The Heart of Our Valley

Ask anyone what’s at the heart of our valley, and the first thing they’ll say is, “the river.” 197 km (122 mi) long, the Similkameen River is the lifeblood of our valley.

It is fed by the Tulameen and Ashnola Rivers and it connects us to each other and our communities. The Similkameen River runs from its western headwaters at Manning Park to the village of Cawston, directly above the US border. 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. 

Make a Splash

Explore the shore, paddle our waters, or play in our lakes and rivers for a swim or float. There are surprise beaches and rocky shores to discover. Find 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 about conditions and their favourite spots!

Top 10 Ways to Immerse Yourself in the Similkameen

  1. Splashdown for a swim at Bromley Rock and feel the cool waters wash your cares away
  2. Drift away the day, floating the River from the Red Bridge to Keremeos
  3. Savour the solitude and unexpected wildlife sightings canoeing or kayaking from the Red Bridge to Kobau Mountain
  4. Taste the fresh flavours of the Similkameen, picnicking along the River’s shores
  5. Feel the thrill of the catch fly-fishing for trout from the River’s shores
  6. Experience the joy of discovering rock-hounding for rhodonite, jasper and agate
  7. Play hooky for an afternoon and take a nap on Bromley Rock’s sandy beach
  8. Sip sauvignon blanc in the afternoon sun watching eagles and osprey fish from the shores
  9. Dip in your gold pan and give it a swirl, and grin from ear to ear at the first flecks of gold
  10. Ride horseback through ranchlands and grasslands along the River’s rocky banks

View Similkameen River Location Map

The river near Hedley at Bromley Rock
The river near Hedley at Bromley Rock

Closely following BC Highway 3, the river sustains our agricultural farmlands and fragile grasslands. It provides a four-season playground for residents and visitors alike. There’s really nothing better than spending a day on the River. The fun is immersive, but you can choose just to lay back and listen to the sounds, as well. Fish, swim, kayak, canoe, or watch birds of prey take flight. Remember how to be. This is pure relaxation in its natural, liquid state. Wrinkled fingers and toes guaranteed.

Floating near Princeton
Floating near Princeton

Similkameen River Floating

Playing in the river has been a family tradition for generations of visitors and locals alike, and it’s easy to see why. Dive in for a swim at Bromley Rock and let the river wash your cares away. The Similkameen runs more slowly here and provides a cool respite from the hot summer sun and the perfect pool for swimming and drifting. Soak up the sun and chill out for a while. Watch young kids and water-worshippers lazily float by on inner-tubes and rafts, just going with the flow.

All parts of the river can be kayaked
Kayaking the Similkameen River, Red Bridge, Keremeos

Kayak and Canoe on the Similkameen River

No matter what floats your boat, there are plenty of ways to explore the valley as you skim along the river. A popular put-in point for rafters, kayakers and canoeists is the historical Red Bridge in Keremeos. Its gentle rapids offer a scenic cruise with just enough challenge to make it interesting. Put in further up-river at Bromley Rock and kayak class 2 and 3 rapids to Stemwinder Park free-flowing through the heart of the valley.

Fishing the Tulameen river
Fishing the river


Cast your line in the Similkameen, Ashnola or Tulameen rivers. You’re likely to be in the thick of the action with back-to-back strikes of mountain whitefish, rainbows and the elusive west slope cutthroat. With fast-running currents and deep watery pools, the only thing to distract you from landing the big one is the scenery from the river’s shore.


Without a doubt, the river offers an incredible window into the wildlife of the valley. Sit by the river for any length of time, and you’re bound to spy eagles, osprey and red-tail hawk fishing and frolicking from our shores.

Mountain goats can be found throughout the valley
Mountain goats can be found throughout the valley