The Princeton area is ideally located at the junction of the Tulameen and Similkameen Rivers, both of which have many beautiful places to swim in crystal clear waters. Otter Lake, Allison Lake and Bromley Rock are the areas that offer picnicking and beaches for public swimming. Otter Lake, Allison Lake and Missezula Lake are large enough to accommodate bigger boats for water skiing. When you visit Otter Lake, ask at the Tulameen Trading Post regarding canoe, paddle boat, seadoo and fishing boat rentals.
Swim from secluded beaches, float a lazy tube down the river or paddle pristine shorelines in search of First Nations pictographs (rock paintings). Anglers hardly know where to start with 49 trout lakes listed in the Princeton Visitors Guide, all within 91 km/45 mi of the town centre.
The outdoor pool is open June, July and August. Come to the pool and check out the various programs offered throughout the week including public leisure, swim lessons and a competitive swim team. Private lessons available on request.
Become a 21st Century prospector and pan the rivers for gold and platinum. The Tulameen is one of only two rivers in the world where gold and platinum are found together in the same waterway. But avoid becoming a claim jumper. Stop at the Visitor Centre, 105 Hwy 3 East, and get directions. The centre also loans out panning equipment. The town maintains its own panning reserve and visitors are welcome to try their luck. The Chamber of Commerce has a gold panning reserve on the Similkameen River from the Blue Bridge to Memorial Park. For those wishing to try their luck, go see the friendly staff at the Visitor Centre.
There are canoeing and kayaking opportunities on Lightning Lake. Canoe, kayak and rowboat rentals are available at Lightning Lake day-use area. A boat launch is available next to the boat rental building at the Lightning Lake day-use area. No motorized boats including electric motors.
Canoeing and kayaking are allowed on Otter Lake. The narrow lake is ideal for non-motorized watercraft with plenty of shoreline to explore opposite the campground.
There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks. A small beach at the campground boat launch provides a spot to swim, though it is better at the day-use area in Tulameen.
Boating / Waterskiing
Motorized boating & Waterskiing is allowed on Otter Lake. The campground has a concrete, single lane boat launch without a dock. Caution - in August when the water is low, the campsite boat launch drops off at end of the launch about 5” to 6”. There is a small gravel turn-around area above the boat launch which is accessed from the 17 spot gravel parking lot via a short single lane gravel road. Two pit toilets are in the treed area beside the parking lot, along with two horseshoe pits. A narrow strip of coarse sand extends from the boat launch towards the western shore of the lake. There is also a public gravel boat launch in Tulameen.
The relatively small size of Allison Lake allows for safe, enjoyable paddling, canoeing and kayaking, though there are no rentals in or near the park. Swimming opportunities are available at the park but there are no lifeguards on duty.
Boating / Waterskiing
Motorized boating & Waterskiing is allowed.
This is a well known kayaking starting point on the Similkameen River. You must portage your canoe or kayak to the river. Spring conditions are best.Swimming
There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks. Swimming is in the Similkameen River and, as such, caution should be taken depending on the strength of the current. There are no swim buoys or ropes to designate the swimming area. Diving from the cliffs across the river from the beach is prohibited.
Splash down in our lakes and rivers for sun-drenched fun, complete with wrinkled fingers and toes. From waterfalls swollen with spring run-off, to lazy rivers and peaceful lakes, there are plenty of ways to get wet here! Plunge right in for adventures in their natural liquid state!
There are plenty of ways to float your boat around here. Explore the valley from the comfort of your kayak or canoe, skimming the Similkameen River, content in the knowledge it's just you, Mother Nature and the sound of your paddle. Rated beginner to expert, the Tulameen and Similkameen Rivers offer more than 75 km of excellent canoeing and kayaking runs. For those looking at a more leisurely pace, try tubing the rivers on a hot summer day, there's nothing like it! Folks have been floating and drifting the Similkameen River for generations, making it one of the most popular activities in our valley. Grab an inner tube or even a blow-up air mattress and plunge right in! Spring is the best time to raft the Similkameen River when spring run-off makes the rapids run faster, creating a class II to IV white water ride.
Playing by the Shore
Jump right in! The 50-foot Bromley Rock creates the perfect launch pad for cliff jumpers to plunge into the watery depths below. Whether you take an organized tour, or wade in on your own anywhere along our rivers, try your hand at gold panning the Similkameen and Tulameen Rivers for treasures beneath the water.
Fishing & Wildlife
Anglers have been lured to our rivers and lakes since time immemorial. Fresh water fishing is easily accessible from many sites along BC Highways 3 and 5a; summer or winter, there's plenty to catch in the Similkameen's waters.
Our rivers and lakes are magnates for migrating wildlife, making wildlife viewing while sitting at their shores, a favoured pastime. Some of the characters that migrate through our valley include herds of California Big Horned Sheep, mountain goats, black bears, elk, deer, moose, eagles, hawks and countless species of birdlife.