This 1000 person village is about midway between Princeton (64 km) and Osoyoos (48 km) on the Crowsnest Highway Highway 3, at the point where it connects to Highway 3A from Penticton (48 km). The community is surrounded by mountains on all sides, Apex (with its ski hill) to the north, Snowy to the south, and Kobau to the east.
Today, Keremeos is best known for its many fruit & vegetable stands along Highway 3 selling fresh produce from the area’s farms. There are over 30 fruit stands in the community.
The Similkameen people, part of the Okanagan Nation, have a deep historical connection to the land around the Similkameen River, which flows through Keremeos. They hunted, fished, and gathering crops for their sustenance.
The area was first visited by fur trader Alexander Ross in 1813, and was a Hudson’s Bay post from 1860 to 1872. The town was named for Keremeos Creek, whose name comes from the Okanagan word for either “land cut across in the middle” or “flat land cut through by water”.
The establishment of the St. Joseph’s Mission in the 1860s by Catholic priests marked an important point in the settlement of the area, and played a role in the education and religious conversion of local Indigenous peoples.
Over the years, Keremeos evolved into ranching and then into fruit-growing. The area has a very long growing season and fruit orchards have done well since 1910. Orchards, vineyards, and other crops thrived in the warm climate, and the area became known for its fruit production.
Keremeos was officially incorporated as a village in 1904. Over the years, its location has shifted, first to follow the water supply and later to be located around the Keremeos Hotel when it was built in 1906.
While agriculture remains a significant part of the local economy, tourism has also become important. The region’s natural beauty, nearby parks, vineyards, and orchards, make the area attractive for locals and visitors.
South Similkameen Museum
414 9th Ave, Keremeos, BC V0X 1N0
(Main Street, 2nd floor of Lower Similkameen Band Office)
This museum is located in the former Provincial Police office and jail ad includes various police uniforms
and pioneer artifacts. Open 9 am to 5 pm may through October. This museum highlights the history and traditions of the local indigenous peoples and includes tools, dance costumes and photos.
Hedley Heritage Museum
712 Daly Ave (PO Box 218), Hedley, BC, Canada
The Hedley Heritage Museum offers historic mining displays, a 1904 cabin and barn, a heritage park with mining artifacts and picnic tables, a superb black and white photo collection, family history research, volunteer guides, a spotting scope for viewing the Mascot Mine, Tea Room and Gift Shop, plus gold panning and tourist information.
The Grist Mill and Tea Room
2691 Upper Bench Rd, Keremeos, BC V0X 1N4
(Upper Bench Rd, 2.5 km from town)
An 1877 Grist Mill in an orchard, now the only water-operated grist mill in BC. Open May to mid-October.
Ashnola Rd, just off Highway 3
This 3-span covered bridge over the Similkameen River was built in 1907 by the Great Northern Railway.
The deep pools below the bridge are popular with swimmers.
Keremeos Columns Provincial Park
4 km north on Highway 3A (east at cemetery)
This undeveloped 20 hectare park requires a short route over private property (please ask permission), and then requires a steep, hot 8 kilometre hike (bring water in canteens). At the end of the hike you are rewarded with 30 metre high, 100 metre wide basalt columns formed by volcanos 30 million years ago. The actual columns are not within the park boundaries but the park provides a viewpoint of these volcanic monuments. These spectacular formations of slowly-cooled lava, with the characteristic vertically-hexagonal jointing of basalt, rise majestically out of the surrounding fir forest. The Keremeos Columns share the same geological phenomenon status as the Giant Causeway in Northern Ireland and the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.
Cathedral Provincial Park
Ashnola River Rd, off Highway 3, 5 km west of Keremeos
This 33,272 hectare park is 21 kilometres down the road, past small ranches. The park offers 32 kilometres of wilderness hiking trails with views of various immense peaks with strange shapes (and stranger names like Devil’s Woodpile, Grimface Mountain, Macabre Tower, or Stone City) and lots of wildlife. The area has bighorn sheep, golden eagles, hawks, mountain goats, mule deer, pika, squirrels, and plenty of fish in the water. Fascinating rock formations, including a jumble of columnar-jointed basalt forms and massive, wind-eroded quartz monzonite towers, make this an excellent spot for the experienced hiker. It is also the starting point for the Centennial Trail to Manning Provincial Park. Dogs are not permitted in Cathedral Park.