Come and play in the great outdoors
The town of Princeton (population 2,700) is the largest town in the Similkameen. You’ll find it at the confluence of the Tulameen and Similkameen Rivers and at the junction of BC Highways 3 and 5A. It’s a 90-minute drive from the Okanagan Valley and a three-hour drive from the Lower Mainland via Hwy 3-Crowsnest Hwy. You can also fly charter or private planes into the Princeton Airport.
Get Out and Play!
Folks come to Princeton to get away from it all. Princeton is surrounded by ranchlands, rivers, mountains, and lakes. There is an abundance of outdoor recreational activities here including legendary fishing, cycling the Kettle Valley Rail Trail portion of the Great Trail, (formerly the Trans Canada Trail), and hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding on the China Ridge Trails. Pack the clubs and get in a round or two of golf at our 18–hole-par course. Take the time to get reacquainted with yourself and take a leisurely float down the Similkameen River, or paddle your way to bliss on the lakes and rivers in the area. At night, sit back, relax and count the stars.
Things don’t slow down in the winter. Playing outside is what it’s all about. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are big here. The Thompson Plateau at China Ridge is ideal for avalanche free cross-country skiing just 8.5 km (5 mi) from downtown Princeton. Deep powder on surrounding mountains makes Princeton a snowmobiling destination from November to April.
Road trips are another great way to explore the area. Make sure you fuel up before leaving Princeton to explore local backcountry roads.
You’ll find plenty to eat here too! Many top notch chefs and bakers can be found creating amazing dishes for the locals and visitors alike. Take your pick from recognizable fast food chains, funky coffee shops, bakeries, pubs and restaurants. Don’t be afraid to ask the locals where their favourite restaurant is; they’ll be happy to oblige.
Rich in History
History buffs will love the rich history of Princeton. This area was home to First Nations for many millennia prior to the arrival of the first settlers. Known today as the Upper Similkameen Indian Band, the original inhabitants were hard-working miners and traders of ochre and chert. People from as far away as the prairies, Washington and Oregon brought goods to the Similkameen to trade for the sacred ochre, used for making ceremonial paint. There is evidence the Similkameen People were here 7,500 years ago. First Nations legend has them here from the beginning of time. The Princeton Museum offers portraits and exhibits of the Similkameen People.
The first settlers moved here in the 1800s looking for gold and platinum. Once the gold rush died out, many stayed and began ranching in the area. Colourful characters, like cattle rustler Jack Budd and train robber Billy Miner, both lived here.
Come Celebrate with Us
People in the Similkameen love to have fun and we have many community events and celebrations year round. There’s Family Fun Days in February, the Stan Thompson Memorial Rodeo in June, Racing Days, and a Show and Shine in July. As the weather heats up, so does the fun. In August there’s Tulameen Family Fun Days and the Princeton Traditional Music Festival. In September, come join us for the Princeton and District Agricultural Fall Fair and our Motorsport Weekend. October is the Halloween Family Festival. In November we remember our veterans on November 11 and light up for Christmas in Veteran’s Square. May and November are the months for the Crimson Tine Players Small Town Theatre Productions.