The southern gateway to the province’s interior, Princeton, BC(British Columbia), is strategically located at the meeting point of the Tulameen and Similkameen rivers in the Cascade Mountains. The area’s mountains and valleys serve as a stunning backdrop and are home to fantastic outdoor activities that may be enjoyed all year long.
The area is famous for its adventures. The area around Princeton has many moderate hills that are ideal for tobogganing. Dogsledding and skijoring are wonderful pastimes for people who enjoy winter activities and dogs.
John Fall Allison arrived in the region to seek information for Governor Douglas and became the first white settler. Where the town is today, Allison started a cattle ranch shortly after arriving.
In 1951, Princeton became a hamlet, and in 1978, it became a town.
In 1909 and 1916, respectively, the Greatest Northern Railway and the Pacific Canadian Railway arrived in Princeton, establishing yet another link between the Coast as well as the Interior.
At the intersection of Coquihalla Highway 5 and Highway 5A, Merritt is located north of Princeton. Merritt is a great site to start exploring the many outdoor recreational options in the area since it acts as the service centre for Nicola Valley’s ranch country.
The picturesque tiny town of Hedley is located east of Princeton in a dark valley where Hedley Creek runs.
The land near the confluence of the Tulameen rivers was occupied long before the first European migrants arrived in the region. The Tulameen Rivers were home to the local Indian tribes. The highly prized red ochre that many Indian tribes use for face painting and commerce from the Vermillion Bluffs, which are a few miles up the Tulameen.
Vermillion Forks got its name in the early 1800s when fur traders used the Hudson Bay’s Brigade Trail to travel from the west coast to interior British Columbia. In honour of the Prince of Wales, who was touring the region at the time, the name was changed to Princetown by governor James Douglas in 1860.
Although the downtown area is compact, several intriguing stores and cafés exist.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Princeton Bc
Princeton, BC and the surrounding environs are noted for having good outdoor recreation opportunities and are known as the Capital of the Bronze Statues of Canada. Choose from various trails, such as the Dewdney Historic Trail, China Ridge Trails, and the Hudson’s Bay Company Trail. At the Swan Lake Nature Reserve, take pictures of fauna.
Lakes nearby have fish. The Princeton Museum offers information on the rich history of mining and early settlers. Visit one of the numerous family-run eateries or one of the many interesting businesses to experience the warm local welcome. Find gold by panning the river, which you can keep.
Here are the top 10 places to visit in Princeton, BC –
1. Bronze Statues
Did you know that Princeton, BC is Canada’s centre for bronze sculpture?
Grab a map from the visitor centre, stop in, and stroll about the neighbourhood. You’ll find about 15 huge life-sized sculptures highlighting the very diverse wildlife that Princeton, BC has to offer. It’s almost like a small treasure hunt!
You may as well pass by the historic Firehall and the museum on your walk back.
2. Allison Lake Provincial Park Canada
Canada’s Allison Lake Provincial Park, 28 kilometres north of Princeton, British Columbia, is a popular spot for fishing. It was founded on July 26, 1960, and has a total area of 23 acres.
Camping, swimming, and fishing are all available. It is mostly a recreation area. The park is largely made up of aspen.
3. Hidden Treasure and Historical Sites
Blakeburn became home to an underground mine industry in the early 1900s. Coalmont was asked for in relation to the coal deposits.
The famed Nickel Plate Mountain is located in Hedley, whereas Tulameen was originally known as “Otter Flats.” As you stroll along the Historical Walk through Princetown’s historic downtown, a brief story about each location will help you understand more about the town’s history and heritage.
The widely known and esteemed Mr George Edwards was one of Princeton’s illustrious prior residents. It turns out that he made a fortune by robbing trains. Mr Edwards’ victims included the Canadian Pacific Railway, Wells Fargo, and other American railroads.
The infamous Bill Miner, the first rail and coach thief in North America, committed his first heist before setting up shop next to Princeton BC Castle on a hillside. He allegedly still has untapped wealth!
When Johnny Chance arrived for a drink of water and found gold nuggets at the bottom of the creek, he named it Granite Creek.
4. Vermillion’s Swan Lake Bird Sanctuary
Swan Lake Bird Sanctuary is the place to be if you truly want to enjoy nature and view some of the 128 bird species frequently spotted in the area.
This extraordinary and natural site is tranquil and pleasant and is located at Vermillion Forks Field Naturalists. This protected stretch of the property has seats and picnic tables and is a fantastic place to unwind, observe birds, or gather with friends after a hike.
5. The Kettle Valley Rail Bed
The auxiliary logging roads offer excellent mountain biking routes for cyclists. The Penticton section of the Kettle Valley Railway includes a few distinguishing features. It is interesting because of the water tower and the former railway station (now moved to private property). The Grand Northern Railway and the Kettle Valley Railway each ran on one side of the tower.
Visit The Kettle Valley Steam Railway, which is around 90 minutes east of Sandman Inn Princeton, BC, if you feel like taking a romantic vacation.
Also, you can go along a portion of the former Down Valley Railway route on this stretch of the Trans Canada Trail.
Kettle Valley Rail Trail on the Canada Trail and China Ridge Trails for horseback riding, hiking, or mountain biking.
Play a couple of rounds of golf on our 18-hole course by bringing your clubs. Paddle your way to happiness on one of the area’s lakes or rivers, or take it slow and float down the Similkameen River. At night, when you relax and sleep, count the stars.
6. The Princeton Golf Club
Approximately three minutes east of Princeton is the magnificent 18-hole, public Princeton Golf Club. The towering Ponderosa Pines that line the expansive, rolling fairways make the course challenging for golfers of all skill levels.
Playing on the Princeton Golf Course is a unique experience, made even more so by the stunning environment surrounding the course.
For those on the go, there is a driving range, putting and chipping green, and RV hook-up service outside the clubhouse. There used to be holidays in British Columbia for golf.
7. The Similkameen River
On a hot summer day, visit Stemwinder Provincial Park for a refreshing dip in the Similkameen River. However, only very strong swimmers should risk the choppy waters here.
Bromley Rock Provincial Park, 20 kilometres east of Hedley, is a well-liked swimming hole on the Similkameen River with a sizeable picnic/day-use area and vehicle/tent campsites in a lovely woodland environment.
While hiking outside the park, the Similkameen Valley can be well observed. The downstream popularity of canoeing makes it easy to access Stemwinder Provincial Park.
7.1. Celebration in Similkameen Valley
The Similkameen region’s residents enjoy having a good time and host several events and festivals all year. Family Fun Days are held in February, the Stan Thompson Memorial Rodeo is held in June, and a Show and Shine is held in July.
The enjoyment also becomes hotter as the weather does. The Princeton Traditional Music Festival and Tulameen Family Fun Days occur in August. Visit the Motorsport Weekend and the Princeton BC and District Agricultural Fall Fair in September.
The Halloween Family Festival is held each October. On November 11th, they honour the veterans, and Veteran’s Square is decorated for Christmas. The Crimson Tine Players Small Town Theatre Productions are held between May and November.
8. E.C. Manning Provincial Park
E.C. Manning Provincial Park, which encompasses more than 66,000 hectares of untamed wilderness in the Cascade Mountains, is most famous for its hiking paths.
One of Canada’s finest places of subalpine meadows, Three Brothers Mountain and Blackwell Peak, are challenging hikes for hikers. The Pacific Crest Trail, which begins in Manning and extends about 4,000 kilometres to Mexico, comprises sections of the National Trail, which enters the area from Cathedral Provincial Park.
There are four campgrounds available: Lightning Lake Campground, Hampton, Mule Deer, and Coldspring. Wilderness camping is permitted in certain places.
The park’s historic pathways have long been used for horseback riding, and a dozen mountain bike tracks are accessible to mountain bikers. Excellent swimming, canoeing, and rainbow trout fly fishing are available at Lightning Lake.
The park also has a wide variety of landscapes and a large variety of plants and animals, but it is arguably best renowned for its stunning midsummer displays of subalpine flowers. It is located in the Cascade Mountains and provides downhill skiing, snowboarding, and more than 100 km of untracked trails for snow lovers and cross-country skiers of all skill levels.
The top cross-country and snowshoeing resort in southern British Columbia are in Manning Provincial Park, which is midway between Hope and Princeton, BC. E.C. Manning Provincial Park is home to the Gibson Pass Ski Area. Winter sports and activities in the Similkameen and south Okanagan.
9. Othello Tunnels and Castle Park
Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, also known as the Othello Tunnels, is a provincial park close to Hope, British Columbia, centred around the Coquihalla River canyon and a disused railroad grad converted into a walking path that finally leads to Coquihalla Pass. Five tunnels and a string of bridges formerly a part of the Kettle Valley Railway travel through the gorge, bordered by steep, flat rock cliffs.
The park, which has a size of 151.3 hectares, was first designated as the Coquihalla Canyon Recreation Area by Order in Council before being renovated and given full provincial park status in 1997. In 2004, it was increased to its current size of 159 hectares. Rock cliffs in the park and its proximity to Vancouver.
The remains of the Portland Cement Plant, constructed between 1904 and 1908, are located in Castle Park, another local landmark. It cost over a million dollars, thousands of man-hours, and several lives to build the Great Cement City as intended. Only nine short months had passed since construction began until the massive architectural marvel, now known as Princeton Castle, was forced to shut down owing to a coal and limestone scarcity.
10. The Famous Princeton Museum
It houses various fascinating artefacts, images, and historical exhibits and is amongst British Columbia’s best fossil collections. It contains the first apple, the first salmon, and the first citrus fruit fossils.
The recently rebuilt exhibit includes a First Nations display, pioneer artefacts, an 1880s cabin, mining, logging, and ranching. This small-town museum now boasts a brand-new appearance and twice the square footage, making it a top-notch attraction not to be missed.
Currently only available by appointment; please phone or email to make arrangements.
There are many adventures in Princeton, BC. All levels of cross-country skiers should visit Princeton in the winter. These paths cross large ridges, open fields and woodlands, logging roads, and maintained and recognized trails. Anyone with a pallet for adventure will keep Princeton on top of their lists in Canada.
To get more information and facts about Canada, check out our article Canada Archives – Icy Canada.