Similkameen Valley Loop, South Okanagan Region — BC
363 km (226 mi)
The Similkameen River is at the heart of the Similkameen Valley. Off the beaten path, eclectic, out there and edgy, the Similkameen is scenically stunning and full of natural wonders.
Take the scenic route from Vancouver. Drive the Trans Canada Hwy (Hwy 1) east and connect with BC Hwy 3 via at Hope. Travelers from Calgary, Alberta can connect to BC Highway 3A linking the Crowsnest to Penticton. Travellers coming from Edmonton or Jasper, Alberta can connect from the Coquihalla Highway, BC Highway 5A.
Traveling from the US, you enter the valley at the junction of Hwys 97 and 3 near Osoyoos. Turn west on the Crowsnest Highway (BC Hwy 3) at Osoyoos and follow the sun.
Farmers, Miners and First Nation People
This is the rugged, rustic and real Similkameen Valley. BC’s newest emerging wine region is in the Cawston/Keremeos area, also known as the Organic Capital of Canada and the Fruit Stand Capital of Canada. Spend an afternoon at the Grist Mill and Gardens, an 1877 water wheel powered flour mill. Get ready for 360 degrees of stunning mountain and valley views at Cathedral Lakes. At Hedley you can tour the Mascot Mines, perched high atop a mountain and learn about the First Nation people at the Snaza’ist Discovery Centre. Learn about our history as you walk the paths of pioneers, prospectors, ranchers and First Nations people who made this region what it is today.
Wine Tours Your Way
Take your time on this loop and do a wine tour. There are self-guided tours, tours through wine tour companies, and even helicopter tours that will take you where the sipping is scrumptious.
Similkameen wineries are down to earth, like the people who grow the grapes and create the award winning wines. Wines here are made from tree-ripened fruits, and of course, grapes. Come and sniff, swirl, and sip your way across the valley at Similkameen wineries. There are several in and around Keremeos and Cawston.
Play Outdoors in Princeton
Further up the road is Princeton, where you’ll find an abundance of outdoor recreation activities including legendary fishing. You’ll have some great fish stories to tell when you get home! Hike or cycle the Trans Canada Trail along the Kettle Valley Rail Trail from Princeton to the hamlets of Tulameen and Coalmont where you’ll only find one stop sign.
Get off the Beaten Path at Cathedral Provincial Park
Challenge yourself with an extreme hike to the top or take a rugged ride to 360-degree vistas of jagged mountain peaks, and cobalt and azure coloured lakes. You can spend days hiking in nature’s backyard and your evenings reconnecting with your companions around a camp fire. Starting your trek is the easy part. You take the Ashnola Road, just west of Keremeos and follow the signs 22-kilometres to your first stop, the Cathedral Lakes Lodge Base Camp. Those who prefer to ride, can reserve a Unimog (a backcountry all-terrain vehicle) to take you to the trailhead at the core of Cathedral Lakes. This is a 1300 metre (4265 ft) gain in elevation so dress accordingly. Die-hard hikers will love the day long (or more) 16 km (10 mi) trek to the heart of the park.
Hike our Trails
Come hike, bike or ride horseback along the trails at China Ridge. There are 45 km (28 mi) of well-maintained hiking, skiing and riding trails that wind through the Ridge and and additional 19 un-groomed trails. They are some of the most accessible trails in the Similkameen Valley. You can ride, slide, glide or hike our un-crowded trails and rekindle your love of the outdoors, just by playing around in our woods.
For a kinder, gentler back road experience, drive the gravel road that takes you from Princeton to Summerland alongside the Trans Canada Trail. This route is not recommended in the winter.
Need to Know:
|Loop Distance:||363 km (226 mi)|
|Duration to drive:||Four to five hours. Plan for extra time for fruit stands, wine tours and outdoor adventure|
|Best time to drive:||Year round
Snow tires recommended in the winter months.
|Watch for:||Wildlife on main and side roads.|
Keremeos Visitor Centre
417 – 7th Ave.
Keremeos, British Columbia
Manning Park Resort
7500 Hwy #3
Manning Park, British Columbia
Princeton Visitor Centre
169 Bridge Street
Princeton, British Columbia