Daydreaming of taking a fall road trip to a destination that has spectacular scenery, fresh mountain air, and all of the delicious food and satisfying wine, cider, and spirits you can have?
Then go ahead and picture yourself getting in your car or RV and cruising along the western Crowsnest Highway #3 in B.C.'s southern interior — located just two and a half hours east of Vancouver.
With the long stretches of two-lane highway and rivers guiding you along the Crowsnest Highway, you’ll have plenty of time to connect with the various outdoor adventures and food and drink experiences when you visit this amazing region later this fall!
The lakes and rivers along Highway 3 make for spectacular scenery and endless adventures in the fall. Photo: Boundary Country.
TRAILS, LAKES, AND RIVERS
From Manning Park to Christina Lake, the Crowsnest Highway will take you through systems of trails, lakes, rivers, and wide-open spaces that are accessible directly off the highway and are open for outdoor exploration.
You can embark on scenic activities outside when you hike or bike a mountain trail, go golfing in the valley, fish and float on the lakes and rivers, and bask under the sun on the beach well into the autumn months.
In the Similkameen Valley alone, you’ll find over 40 marked hiking and biking trails, including:
● E.C. Manning Provincial Park, which is filled with wildlife and wildflowers.
● Cathedral Provincial Park, which offers an unspoiled wilderness adventure above sapphire glacier lakes
● China Ridge Trails, which has over 45 kms of winding trails through the ridge.
● The Kettle Valley Rail Trail, which takes cyclists on a 40 km loop set in the lush countryside
● The Hudson Bay Company 1849 Trail, in which you can hike in the historic footsteps of the Hudson Bay Brigade
For a slower-paced adventure, go bird-watching at Swan Lake Nature Reserve or go relax at Bromley Rock along the Similkameen River — the heart of the valley.
The rugged and vast landscape of Osoyoos is alive with hills and grasslands that are perfect grounds for hiking, mountain biking, golfing, and wildlife viewing — all within access to the town centre. For the best views of the desert valley, take a stroll along the Irrigation Canal Walkway and the Golden Mile Trail. Home to Canada’s warmest lake, Osoyoos Lake, Osoyoos is the ideal spot for fall water activities such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and fishing.
The iconic rail trails of Boundary Country, including the Kettle Valley Rail Tail and Columbia Western Rail Trail sections of the Trans Canada Trail, all offer impressive views and are nearby local historical communities each with their own charm. And because they once were travelled by steam train, they tend to be flat or gentle inclines making for more easily accessible walking and cycling experiences. For adventures on the water, visit Christina Lake, set against the backdrop of the Monashee Mountains, or laze by the stream in Rock Creek in the Kettle River Recreation Area.
Taste at dozens of wineries along the scenic Crowsnest Highway. Photo: Similkameen Independent Winegrowers.
WINE, CIDER, AND SPIRITS
With an award-winning wine region, and budding craft breweries, cideries, and distilleries, there are plenty of opportunities to sip wines, ciders, and spirits as you soak up the sun and scenery along the Crowsnest Highway.
The Similkameen Valley Wine Region is home to the Similkameen Independent Winegrowers, a small, diverse, and unique group of over a dozen family-run boutique wineries and cideries. With vineyards and orchards set in a long curved valley with breathtaking mountains in the background, The Similkameen wine region is known for offering authentic wine tasting experiences with almost every grape varietal and many fruit wine options.
In Osoyoos Wine Country, you can try sought-after wines with unique varietals - like Tempranillo and Malbec, that flourish under the desert heat. Osoyoos is also the base for beer, craft cideries, and distilleries, all paired perfectly with incredible views of the valley’s landscape of gentle sloping hills, bright skies, and sparkling Osoyoos Lake.
Over in Boundary Country, you’ll find B.C.’s first female-owned and operated craft distillery. As a must-stop along the Crowsnest, you can try plenty of handmade organic spirits including whiskeys, gins, absinthes and Canada’s only artisanal rum!
Stop at one of dozens of fruit stands along the Crowsnest. Photo: Similkameen Valley Planning Society
THE FARM-TO-TABLE EXPERIENCE
Indulge your senses in the widest variety of farm-fresh food in all of Canada when you experience the fall harvest along the Crowsnest Highway.
Autumn is the time when visitors and locals can stop by the fruit stands, markets, and farm-to-table restaurants of B.C’s southern interior. Bite into perfect peaches, taste tomatoes right off the vine, and enjoy the locally and sustainably grown fresh bounty of the region.
The Similkameen Valley is known as the Fruit Stand Capital and Organic Farming Capital of Canada, with the fruit orchards and vineyards of Keremeos and Cawston and the wild grass meadows of Princeton’s cattle country, making it the perfect stop for in-season ingredients and farm-fresh groceries.
For field-to-fork culinary delights, Osoyoos has everything from upscale dining experiences at vineyard-view bistros to cozy street-side cafés. The family-owned farms, orchards, and roadside fruit markets of Boundary Country are in abundance, so you can always stop and discover what’s fresh in the sunshine valley.
Spectacular views can be found all along Highway 3. Photo: Destination Osoyoos
To access the Crowsnest Highway from Vancouver, head east to Hope and take Hwy 3 through the Similkameen Valley. Travel onwards to Osoyoos, crossing Route 97 (North/South), and enter Boundary Country.
For more info on the unlimited adventures in Crowsnest Highway, visit crowsnestscenic3.com.