Stemwinder Provincial Park is a small campground located on the Similkameen River near Hedley, BC. The area is rural, pristine, and absolutely beautiful.
Stemwinder Provincial Park is a camping destination literally on the side of Highway 3, only 20 minutes from Princeton. There are 27 vehicle accessible campsites that range drastically in desirability.
Camping at Stemwinder is well suited for people who are traveling through or want to simply relax and do nothing. To be completely honest, I didn’t have high hopes for this park but I’m happy to say that I was proven very wrong!HEDLEY WEATHER
PS: This article contains affiliate links. I may earn a commission (at no cost to you) if you click them and/or buy a product; I only recommend products that I think will help you. Read my full disclosure statement here.
Where is Stemwinder Provincial Park?
Stemwinder Provincial Park is located in the Similkameen Valley, about 5 minutes from Hedley and 20 minutes from Princeton. The area is absolutely stunning and full of forested mountain trails, rushing rivers, and rural charm.
In fact, the campground sits on the shores of the Similkameen River, the waterway that runs along the entire valley. Both the valley and river are named after the Indigenous people that live here. Similkameen means “people of the river”.
Stemwinder Provincial Park is literally right off the side of Highway 3, making it extremely easy to find and access. The highway is entirely paved and in good repair.
Directions to Stemwinder Provincial Park
No matter where you start, whether that’s the Okanagan, Vancouver, Merritt, or elsewhere, it’s simple to find Stemwinder Provincial Park.
Camping at Stemwinder Provincial Park Campground
Stemwinder Provincial Park is one of many campground and accommodation options along the Similkameen River. Established in 1956, this small, quiet campground is beautiful, but easy to overlook.
There are 27 well-maintained and accessible campsites at Stemwinder campground. All of them are reservable from mid-April to mid-September, but there are a couple weeks on either end that’s first come first served (check exact dates).
Despite being 100% reservable, there are often sites available — even during the summer.
Campsites at Stemwinder Provincial Park
Stemwinder isn’t a well known, in-demand campground which (usually) makes it easy to get a campsite. It’s not a large campground, though, so you can either reserve or take your chances and just show up.
Stemwinder Provincial Park has campsites on two tiers. These tiers are where the differences between the sites become very apparent.
Sites 1 to 11, 26, and 27 are on the upper tier, near the highway — these sites aren’t great.
The upper tier sites range in both shade and privacy. Plus, they’re super close to the highway — cars drive by at high speeds very close to your campsite, which can be pretty sketchy in the middle of the night. Sites 11 and 16 are at the edge of the park, right next to a private residence.
These campsites work for a quick pit stop overnight, but wouldn’t be overly enjoyable for an extended stay.
Sites 12 to 25 are on the lower tier near the Similkameen River. The lower tier campsites at Stemwinder are by far the better sites.
These sites are large, shaded, and all but three back onto the river. There are a few trails down to the water from these campsites as well. We stayed at #18 and shared a private, sandy beach with #16. It was beautiful and very relaxing!
Since these campsites are near the water, the river drowns out most highway noise and it feels like a rural area, even though in reality you’re just off the highway.
PS: The photos BC Parks has of these campsites on their reservation system do them no justice. They’re really terrible photos.
Vehicle-Accessible, Front-Country Camping
Stemwinder Provincial Park is a front-country camping only campground. The campsites are very well-maintained with large gravel pads, tables, and fire rings. However, there are no hookups or pull-through sites.
Most of the sites are quite large and can accommodate extra vehicles or large RVs/trailers, but please double-check the site size before reserving. Site-specific information is available on BC Parks.
Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine provide privacy and shade to many of the sites. There’s not a lot of underbrush, though, and privacy and shade vary greatly from site to site. Before reserving a site, read the site descriptions on BCParks.ca so you know what to expect.
Have you ever wanted to try RV or vanlife without the big price tag? Try Outdoorsy — it’s like Airbnb for RVs and trailers. AND you can save $50 by using this link!
|Campsites||$18 per party/night|
|Seniors*||$9 per party/night|
*Applies from the day after Labour Day to June 14
*While I do my best to provide up-to-date fees, there may be a discrepancy between what’s posted here and the actual cost.
Camp Host Information
There’s no on-site host at Stemwinder Provincial Park. The host manages multiple parks in the area and makes trips between them. They come by in the evening, so if you rely on firewood, stock up then.
Facilities at Stemwinder Provincial Park
Stemwinder has fewer facilities than some of the bigger provincial parks, but there are still a few amenities that’ll come in handy on your stay.
Things to Do at + Around Stemwinder
To best honest, there’s not a lot to do at Stemwinder itself besides relax and chill out. But there’s plenty of things to do if you leave the campground.