Similkameen Trail, WA

Photo Courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management, taken by Greg Shine

The recently paved and graveled Similkameen Trail lies in the town of Oroville and is an example of a rail-to-trail conversion ideal for horseback riding, biking, birding and of course, hiking. The serene setting of shrubs, grasses and the occasional evergreen tree creates a biologically diverse environment, making the valley home to a plethora of wildlife including elk, snowshoe hares, woodpeckers and falcons. Originally built in 1907 to transport ore, this converted rail line has everything from exquisite river views and rock formations to abandoned railway tunnels reminiscent of a forgotten era.

Despite the scenic grandeur of the Okanogan Highlands and Cascade mountain range, this relatively flat trail is inviting to hikers of all levels and varies in length depending on the starting point. For a quick 4-mile hike, start at Taber’s Trailhead or choose to extend your trip to 7 miles by starting near the Oroville Depot Museum.

The trail follows the Similkameen River, crossing the panoramic 375-foot-long Girder Bridge perfect for salmon and steelhead viewing before entering the breathtaking expanse of the river gorge. Although there are plans for expansion, the Similkameen trail currently concludes near the 100-year-old Enloe Dam and waterfall.

For more information on Okanogan Country and the Similkameen Trail, please visit okanogancountry.com and okanogancountry.com/poi/similkameen-river-trail.

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