Similkameen In Winter
Join us for winter in the Similkameen Valley, British Columbia. We’ll help you get the most out of your time with us…
Whether you’re seeking a backcountry 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 are plenty of wide-open spaces to explore in the Similkameen.
Embrace the exhilaration of exploring mountains, valleys, and lakes in the winter. Hike, cross-country ski or sled the backcountry mountain trails and alpine bowls from China Ridge to the Coquihallas or Manning Park. Try your hand at ice fishing on one of the many regional lakes. Ski, slide or snowboard at Manning Park Resort. Hit the local rinks in Princeton, Tulameen and Keremeos for a game of hockey. Book a getaway stay in a self-contained suite or guesthouse with vistas overlooking vineyards and orchards or cozy up in a cabin, lodge or motel after a day of adventures. You can play in the Similkameen all year round!
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!
Top Ways to Experience Winter
- China Ridge
- Manning Park (various)
- Ice Fishing
Take a short drive from Princeton up Snowpatch Road to China Ridge Trails. There, you’ll find over 31 miles (50 km) of trails winding through the forest. Every trail is designed for a specific use, making it the best experience for visitors.
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.
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 for everyone, from weekend warriors or a family seeking an escape from the ordinary. You can create memories to last a lifetime.
Whether you enjoy snowboarding, downhill or Nordic skiing, skating, snowshoeing, tobogganing, strapping on some snowshoes, playing at the Polar Coaster Tube Park or going for a wander in the woods, you’ll find a winter adventure to suit your tastes and abilities.
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.
If you’re heading into the park, keep in mind that there isn’t a gas station for 37 miles (60 km) east or west of the entrance, so be sure to top up your tank in Princeton or Hope before you venture up the mountain via Crowsnest Highway 3.
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.
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.
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 9 miles (15 km) of snowshoe trails winding through the forest. You’ll need to bring your own gear.
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 37 miles (60 km) east or west, so be sure you’ve got a full tank when you start your drive from Hope or Princeton.
There are few things that compare to skating in the great outdoors…
Winter in the Similkameen means it’s time 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.
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.
Ice-skating in Manning Park is for resort guests and they supply skate rentals. The outdoor rink is located next to Lost Lagoon.
Skating on frozen lakes, ponds and rivers can be extremely dangerous as weather conditions can change and ice depths vary. Use extreme caution when adventuring out.
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.
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 organized rides.
Backcountry conditions are unpredictable, so be sure to check the BC Avalanche Forecast and have a safe ride.