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jmutiger 05-09-2011 09:30 PM

Silkameen River canoe trip, May Long Weekend?
My wife and I are contemplating doing a down river trip on the Silkameen river starting around Princeton, and taking out around Keremous. Not having ever done this river, is this something that is as simple as it looks on the surface?

Anyone done this? Is this a long day trip, or is it an overnighter?

Anyone else wanna go?


jmutiger 05-09-2011 09:37 PM

ps. We can canoe, we have an open plastic boat, and would rather do supported car camping.. But we could pack our stuff in the canoe if we needed to.

I also have a 3.5hp motor I occasionally strap onto the side of the canoe.. to put things into perpespective, we've been to the north end of Stave Lake, Indian arm, went from the Ocean up the river in squamish up to just past the Watershed Grill. We've yet to get dunked!


gdichasaz 05-09-2011 10:53 PM

having only driven this route (beautiful, by the way) several times, have you considered the volume of water during run-off? i've always wanted to do this, but i think this might not be the best time to do it...

again - i haven't seen the river at this time of year, only in june and the river was pretty 'mad at the idea of people' near hedley.

BillyGoat 05-10-2011 08:35 AM

There's some pretty good rapids, likely class 3, below Bromley Rock. You would avoid the worst rapids by putting in around Stemwinder just west of Hedley.

yarnellboat 05-10-2011 11:06 AM

Good advice on the rapids, between Bromely Rock and Stemwinder there are several spots along the river that require (if you want to be confident about staying dry) significant experience in whitewater canoeing. Also note that the feel of the river will change a lot depending on water levels. I wouldn't recommend this stretch to somebody without good skills, experience and equipment (not meaning to imply that you don't have all that, I don't know), and I don't think it would be a good idea to have a motor hanging out one side, but i don't have any experience with motors on canoes.

If you're interested, here's a canoe club that offers some training for moving water, and there's some other courses too in the current newsletter, including on the Similkameen:

And here are a few photos of the Similkameen below Bromley:


nwaber 05-10-2011 08:50 PM

I've kayaked from Bromley to Stemwinder before. It was a nice paddle, and only had a couple of rougher patches that I can recall (one immediately after Bromley Rock was probably the most challenging). The water level was quite low when we went, though. I could see it having a very different character with high water.

A quick google search brought this link up:

yarnellboat 05-11-2011 12:41 AM

Not trying to discourage anyone, it is a great river for canoeing, but a caution on taking advice from kayakers (and kayaking guidebooks) - what's a good, friendly run - and what's considered good water levels - for beginners in ww kayaks can still be sketchy for open canoes, if you don't have much river experience.

If you have airbags or a skirt, thigh straps, bilge pumps and can roll your canoe back up after flipping, then never mind. But if you'd swamp, flip, swim and potentially loose your boat & gear, something to think about, especially if travelling as a single boat.


jmutiger 05-11-2011 08:55 PM

I've looked at the pics, and I honestly think we'd be 100% fine with what's there. We've done some pretty stupid things and made out just fine. One of the worst conditions we've been in was a heavy chop at the north end of Stave Lake, the waves were probably 6-7 feet from trough to crest.. and they were all over the place. We didn't get back that night to almost midnight.

Would you guys have another long weekend trip you'd suggest? Something scenic, somewhat fun, nothing too extreme. I'm just looking for a nice weekend getaway.

yarnellboat 05-11-2011 11:05 PM

If you want to avoid the big rapids, some of which you can scout a bit from the road, the Simlkameen below Stemwinder is probably good, but I don't know anything about it.

Unfortunately, southern BC is not great for canoe camping, so I don't think there's lots of options, which is why I got into the whitewater day-tripping instead.


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