Fall Fun Along the Crowsnest
As you travel down the Crowsnest Highway 3 this fall, enjoy the transition of the landscape from lush greens to striking shades of yellow, orange and reds. The temperature cools down but the weather and the scenery remain spectacular. The spirit of the communities starts to come alive through harvest and other celebrations!
Summer is a busy season for the communities that dot the Crowsnest Highway 3, and it’s easy to see why. Visitors and locals alike come from far and wide to enjoy all the pleasures, weather and sights of the Similkameen Valley, Osoyoos, and Boundary Country. When fall descends with its cooler temperatures and ushering of children back to school, the locals of the Crowsnest’s communities know that it’s time to play! There are a number of activities and events that take place along the Crowsnest that might tickle your fancy!
Agriculture is an important part of the region and the fall harvest is a busy time for many. It’s also a perfect time for you to visit the region to enjoy the bounty. Stop at the many fruit stands, markets and orchards to select just-picked produce for your dinner, or to take home with you to enjoy later. See the many stands decorated with gourds and pumpkins, treat yourself to a local experience at one of many farm-to-table restaurants and cafes and enjoy everything from light fare to gourmet dining experiences all along the route. The fall is a wonderful time to learn more about (and imbibe) wine, cider and spirits produced in the region. Stop at wineries and cideries of Similkameen Valley and a catch a winemaker dinner with one of the Similkameen Independent Winegrowers or witness the action on the crush pads, wine in hand.
Further along the Crowsnest, in Osoyoos, you can experience plenty of intimate winemakers dinners, special vintage releases, and unique tasting events throughout the area to celebrate the season of harvest. Catch the Oliver Osoyoos Pig Out Trails Festival to taste the South Okanagan wine terroir on a chauffeured tour while enjoying succulent pairings of pork over a four-course progressive lunch. Not too far from Osoyoos, Oliver hosts the annual Festival of the Grape which is complete with samples of BC wines, live music to groove to, and a live, chaotic grape stomp. The fall wine harvest is abound with festivals and events to celebrate, with long table dinners, winemaker tastings, and more. Check out Osoyoos event listings before your trip to get the most out of your visit!
After you’ve eaten and drunk (and slept a little) to your heart’s content, head east along the Crowsnest to Boundary Country for more celebrations. Experience true rural BC culture at the Rock Creek Fall Fair; you will get traditional fair fun like carnival rides & food vendors, and then some more zany activities like lawnmower races and gold panning lessons!
Fall presents a unique opportunity for exploration along the Crowsnest. The weather is a touch milder than that of the highways which lead north. Enjoy warmer temperatures during the day but still feel the cool evening nuzzle that is a reminder of seasons changing. Watch in awe as the foliage along the highway changes in front of your eyes and terrain transforms around you. Outdoor recreation opportunities are all fantastic in the communities along the Crowsnest, but the abundance of trails offer hikes that really shine through. Hikes in each region along the route will offer adventurers something different in the fall.
In the Similkameen Valley, there are alpine hikes at EC Manning Provincial Park and Cathedral Provincial Park. Manning Park is more accessible with a full-service resort that you can drive to, while Cathedral encourages wilderness camping. Both Parks will allow hikers to have the fall experience a little sooner than the rest of the region due to their higher elevations. Watch the forests change their colours from what seems like the top of the world, the vistas that await are among the truly elite that British Columbia has to offer. If a shorter hike is more your style, China Ridge couldn’t be more apt. Civilization feels as if it’s hundreds of miles away (even though it’s a 15-minute drive from Princeton). The wildlife will chitter to you as they make their winter preparations, and you enjoy the rolling grassy slopes around the area on a leisurely stroll.
Further east along the Crowsnest in Osoyoos, continue the pursuit of the perfect fall adventure with a stroll through sẀiẀs Provincial Park or by hiking nʕaylintn to get two different perspectives on fall in the South Okanagan. In sẀiẀs Park, visitors will meander through a paved loop on a peninsula that extends out 1 km (.62 mi) into Osoyoos Lake. Walk or bike this wetland trail and explore this unique biome that houses different types of birds and wildlife. The trees lining the trail really show off come fall time, taking on hues of honey yellow and fiery oranges. nʕaylintn (McIntyre Bluff) is a bit more of a trek but the vistas that await at the top are truly rewarding. Where sẀiẀs provides an up-close-and-personal experience with the South Okanagan fall, nʕaylintn provides the macro experience with panoramic views of orchards, vineyards, and the arid lands.
Down the way in Boundary Country, rail trails are the best way to immerse in the fall’s effects on nature. The rail trails in Boundary stretch across every sort of environment that you can think of. The trails can guide hikers and bikers along the side of and through (yes, through) lush mountains, over bridges that span canyons, and right down to the famed Kettle River. Let the cool fall air rush through your hair on a mountain bike on the C&W Trail in Christina Lake and witness the trees transform as you descend elevations. Rent a cabin on the Kettle River in Rock Creek to cozy up in when the sun sets and walk along the rail trail until you find the perfect spot to relax with a picnic or snack. Boundary’s trails are alive in the fall and are one of the best ways to experience the region!
When enjoying the many sights, wine and culinary delights, and outdoor adventures of the Crowsnest Highway 3, one thing is certain: Your fall trip will be memorable and spectacular. Exquisite autumn hues and the endearing B.C. communities along Highway 3 beckon with the delights of the season meant to warm and delight you.