Similkameen River

The Similkameen River near Keremeos

The Similkameen River runs through southern British Columbia, Canada, eventually discharging into the Okanogan River near Oroville, Washington, in the United States.[1][2] The river is about 197 km (122 mi) long, with a drainage basin area of 7,600 km2 (2,900 sq mi).[3] The river is said to be named for an indigenous people called <Similkameigh>, meaning "treacherous waters".[4]


It starts on the east flank of Manning Park, about 10.3 km (6.4 mi) north of Allison Pass and flows past the settlements of Eastgate, Princeton, Hedley, Keremeos, and Cawston, closely followed by Highway 3, the Crowsnest Highway. About 25 km (16 mi) upstream from Princeton, the river drops over Similkameen Falls. Numerous viewpoints of the river occur from the highway, the most popular being Bromley Rock, where swimming in the river from a spectacular sandy beach is possible, although the water is very cold. It contributes 75% of the flow of the Okanogan River and crosses the international border at Nighthawk, Washington.


The United States Geological Survey maintains a stream gauge at river mile 15.8, just upstream from the Oroville–Tonasket Irrigation District canal intake. The river's discharge (flow) at this point averages 2,283 cubic feet per second (64.6 m3/s), with a recorded maximum of 45,800 cu ft/s (1,300 m3/s) and minimum of 65 cu ft/s (1.8 m3/s).[5]

Enloe Dam

The Enloe Dam, completed in 1920, is located just above the river's mouth.[6] The river, after flowing over the dam, drops over what is left of Coyote Falls.


Cliffs above the Similkameen near Nighthawk, Washington

The Similkameen River subject to international water-sharing agreements governed by the International Joint Commission as part of the Columbia Basin. The authority responsible for overseeing the IJC agreements is the International Osoyoos Lake Board of Control, composed of appointees from Environment Canada, the BC Ministry of Water, Land Air Protection, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Geological Survey, and private consultants.[7]

Major tributaries

See also


Coordinates: 48°53′30″N 119°25′49″W / 48.89167°N 119.43028°W / 48.89167; -119.43028

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