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British Columbia’s Boundary Country in Fall: What To See, Do and Eat

Boundary Country is one of those ‘hiding in plain sight’ destinations. I knew about it but wasn’t sure what was there. And now, after visiting, I know why – people are trying to keep this peaceful paradise all to themselves!

This relaxed, scenic region in southern British Columbia is the ideal destination for a fall getaway.

And with such wide, open landscapes and unlimited outdoor adventure on offer, that peaceful factor isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

A waterfall cascades from the rim of a canyon into pool. It is surrounded by a rocky landscape
Boundary Creek Falls, near Midway

Discover BC’s Boundary Country

First impressions are important and Boundary Country delivers.

The Kettle, Granby and Boundary Creek rivers snake through a calming landscape of farms and ranchland, backdropped by forested valleys reaching up towards the Monashee and Columbia mountains.

It’s an inviting scene, with the true beauty of this area being revealed to those who wander.

And you don’t even have to go far. Highway 3 traverses right through Boundary Country, providing easy access to many inspiring roadside stops.

Looking down Grand Fork's main downtown street - there are cars parked on the street and trees lining the sidewalk, some of which are yellow
Downtown Grand Forks

All of the trails and attractions mentioned in this post are located within 12km (!) of Highway 3.

Waterfalls, hiking trails, lakes, historical sites and vibrant small towns await, all backdropped by the changing colours of the season and a rich heritage.

Read on to discover why Boundary Country is the ideal destination for a fall adventure and what to do when you get there!

Looking out across a floating dock on a calm lake in Boundary Country
Wilgress Lake

Boundary Country is located within the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa, Sinixt and Okanagan Nations. This post is in partnership with Boundary Country Tourism. We visited Boundary Country in early September 2021.

Close up of crossed railway sign with Rail Road Crossing printed
The Kettle Valley Rail Trail

An introduction to Boundary Country

Boundary Country is a region situated within southern British Columbia, sandwiched between the Okanagan Valley and the West Kootenays. As the name implies, it sits just above the US border.

If you’re still drawing a bit of a blank, think Highway 3 – east of Osoyoos, west of Castlegar. This post will focus on the western section of Boundary Country, from Midway to Christina Lake.

Looking up to a large railway trestle above a river and sand bank
Smitten Trestle on the Columbia and Western Rail Trail

Boundary Country’s story starts with the people of the Ktunaxa, Sinixt and Okanagan Nations, who foraged and fished as they migrated through the land.

In the 19th century, the rich natural resources of the area also drew farmers, ranchers, pioneers and prospectors. Prosperity brought success to some and the railways to all.

View from inside mine entrance looking back at JR in entrance, turned to the side and looking at inscriptions on rock
Grand View Mine entrance in Jewel Lake Provincial Park

The Columbia and Western Railway (C&WR) connected Boundary Country to the West Kootenays, and the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) to the Okanagan. Around this time, thousands of Russian pacifists called Doukhobors settled near Grand Forks.

Today, Boundary Country is a quiet little corner of British Columbia. But that’s not a bad thing. If you scratch the surface, you’ll find friendly people, calming landscapes and endless outdoor adventures. Best of all, there are no crowds to overcome!

Looking across the street to heritage buildings in Greenwood, Boundary Country
Greenwood, Canada’s smallest city

Grand Forks is Boundary Country’s largest community (pop 4000) and also has the most amenities.

Average driving times are:

  • Osoyoos to Grand Forks – 1 hour, 30 minutes (125km)
  • Kelowna to Grand Forks – 2 hours, 20 minutes (209km)
  • Vancouver to Grand Forks – 7 hours, 20 minutes (523km)
  • Calgary to Grand Forks – 8 hours (704km)

Hey, is that smoke? You may notice some hazy skies on some of the photos in this article. During our visit, Boundary Country was receiving smoke from wildfires across the border in Washington.

Smitten Trestle views across the Kettle River towards the US. The river is wide, with sand island in the middle and lined by forest. There is smoke in the air
The Kettle River from the Smitten Trestle

The best things to do in Boundary Country in fall

Boundary Country is a four season destination but fall is an ideal time to visit for many reasons.

For outdoor adventure, the temperature is perfect – not too cold, not too hot. Bugs are basically non-existent.

Boundary Country has a dry climate overall, with the autumn months averaging only a handful of rainy days.

And, of course, the colours are vibrant and the trails are that bit quieter!

So without further ado, here are the best things to do in Boundary Country in fall. I have no doubt you’ll be planning a fall trip soon!

Screenshot of Google Map with marked Boundary Country activities
Click here or above to view Google Map with all Boundary Country activities


If hiking is your thing, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Boundary Country.

With over 2,000km of trails in the region, there’s little something for all abilities, from leisurely rail trails to heart pumping mountain ascents.

When hiking in Boundary Country, be sure to bring the 10 Essentials, know how to stay safe and always Leave No Trace. It’s a great idea to tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back as well.

Rocky Cascade Gorge with river running through canyon and trestle spanning the gap
The Cascade Gorge

Hiking Boundary Country’s rail trail network

The Columbia & Western Rail Trail and Kettle Valley Rail Trail (both part of the Trans Canada Trail) actually run parallel or close to Highway 3 for long sections, allowing for great accessibility and day trip flexibility.

As former railway routes, the grade is very gentle and therefore easy for all ages to walk.

If you only have time to walk one rail trail section, I would highly recommend walking the C&WR from Cascade Falls to the Smitten Trestle in Christina Lake.

This easy 2.5km stretch crosses an impressive canyon with a view of a waterfall and ends at a 153m long restored railway bridge over the Kettle River.

Back view of JR walking on packed Columbia & Western Rail Trail, with red backpack. Some of the trees have changed colour
Hiking the C&W Rail Trail in Greenwood

Viewpoints and vistas

For a hike with a little more challenge, check out Grand Forks’ Observation Mountain.

Not only is this trail a great workout (230m elevation gain in 1.25km), but it has an awesome payoff too. The summit offers sweeping panoramas of downtown Grand Forks and the rolling hills beyond.

As you can see, it was a little smoky on our visit but we still had beautiful views to enjoy.

Average hiking time is around an hour for the 2.5km return trip, but there a couple of different viewpoints along the way to spend additional time at if desired. Observation Mountain can also be hiked as a loop.

Other challenging local hikes with views include:

  • Goat Mountain Trail, Grand Forks
  • Saddle Lake Hill, Grand Forks
  • Jubilee Mountain, Greenwood
  • Greenwood Grunt, Greenwood
  • Red Trail Loop, Midway
Scenic view from Observation mountain, across Grand Forks and surrounding hills. There is smoke in the air
Observation Mountain summit on a smoky fall day


The Columbia & Western Rail Trail and the Kettle Valley Rail Trail cut through the heart of Boundary Country, offering incredible opportunities for both short and extended biking adventures.

There are outhouses and picnic tables located along the more popular sections, as well as numerous parking areas. One of my favourite picnic areas was at the Nursery Trestle near Grand Forks. It’s popular to swim in the Kettle River below.

View across a steel and wooden trestle on the Columbia and Western Railway, with the sun peeking through the struts above
Nursery Trestle near Grand Forks

JR and I aren’t big cyclists, but we can definitely appreciate how much this area has to offer for those on two wheels.

Many of the cyclists we spotted were on multi-day adventures, exploring long stretches of Boundary Country’s extensive rail trail network.

Pick up a trail map at one of the local museums or visitor centres. Alternatively, you can download a copy here.

Back view of cyclists biking the Columbia & Western Railway in Boundary Country. The packed path is lined by yellow grasses
Cycling the C&W Rail Trail


As well as hosting several major rivers, Boundary Country is home to two large recreational lakes – Jewel Lake and Christina Lake. Take to the water on either (or both, if you can!) to enjoy fishing, swimming and gorgeous views.

Christina Lake

Christina Lake, said to be Canada’s warmest tree lined lake, is a spectacular 18km stretch of water on Boundary Country’s eastern edge. The water temperature can reach the balmy temperature of 23c in the height of summer! The warmth lingers into fall, making this an ideal time to go paddling.

The presence of two lakeside provincial parks help make Christina Lake ridiculous easy to access and the nearby community of the same name has all of the facilities you may need during a visit. Fishing for Kokanee, small-mouth bass and rainbow trout is a popular paddling activity.

If you’d like to extend your paddling adventure, there are nine marine (water access only) campsites situated on the west side of the lake. All but one have picnic tables and outhouse facilities.

We really loved the long sandy beach at the Axel Johnson site. The solitude increases the further north you paddle but still be prepared for the occasional boat visitor during the day.

Back view of JR walking out onto Christina Lake. There air is smoky but hills are visible in the background
Christina Lake

Jewel Lake

Jewel Lake may be smaller than Christina Lake but is no less impressive. It’s a little spot of accessible solitude, only a short drive from Greenwood. Jewel Lake Provincial Park sits on the most northern shore and Jewel Lake Resort on the south, making it easy to get on the water quickly.

Despite being only 3km long, there’s a lot for paddlers to love. Calm conditions almost a given, especially in the morning. We went for a sunset paddle (see photo below) and saw more wildlife than we typically do much further out in the wilderness!

Think Great Blue Herons, loons, bats and even a swimming black bear. The fish were continuously jumping too, confirming the rumours we heard that Jewel Lake is the best place to fish for Rainbow and Brook trout in the area.

Sunset view of Jewel Lake from canoe, with orange colours behind mirror like reflections of lake and forest
Jewel Lake


The Kettle River is an almost constant presence in Boundary Country, providing opportunities for tubing in Rock Creek and swimming in Grand Forks. Close to Christina Lake, the Kettle River has formed a dramatic canyon – the Cascade Gorge (once home to the region’s first AC power generating station!)

There are plenty of rapids along this stretch of river but one of the biggest is Cascade Falls, which sits just below one of the trestles on the Columbia & Western Rail Trail (part of the Trans Canada Trail). In fall, the water flow isn’t quite the raging torrent it is in the spring but it’s still a beautiful sight.

The access to Cascade Falls can seem a little hidden but it’s easy when you know where to look! Keep your eyes peeled for the pullout just before the ‘Welcome to Christina Lake’ sign when driving east alongside Highway 3 from Grand Forks. Cascade Falls is only a five minute walk from the parking area just below the highway.

Boundary Creek Falls is another roadside waterfall, situated between Midway and Greenwood. Plunging 12m (40ft) into a narrow canyon, Boundary Creek Falls offers an impressive view at any time of the year!

This waterfall is also found just off Highway 3. When driving east from Midway, look for the green ‘Stop of Interest’ sign and subsequent pull-out. It’s about 2.6km before Boundary Creek Provincial Park. There are informal trails here leading southwest along the canyon to the falls.

Waterfalls can be dangerous. Both of these waterfalls are found in canyon areas, with steep drop-offs, loose rock and other natural hazards. Wear appropriate footwear and keep close control of both dogs and children.

Elevated view of Cascade Falls from rocks, looking down to small waterfall, surrounded by rocky lanscape and forest
Cascade Falls

Vibrant small towns

Boundary Country just wouldn’t be Boundary Country without its characterful communities.

The towns may be small, but they are mightier than you’d think. Nowhere is this more true than Greenwood, which is Canada’s smallest city.

Incorporated in 1897, Greenwood was once a bustling place, with a population of 3000 people. Many worked at the nearby Phoenix mine site.

The population is now around 700 but the city’s collection of heritage buildings are a striking reminder of the boom days. Pick up a Heritage Walking Tour brochure from the museum for a self guided tour of the city.

Front view of Greenwood's two story heritage City Hall, with green panelling and white painted bricks
Greenwood’s heritage City Hall

Grand Forks is Boundary Country’s largest community but it shares the relaxed atmosphere of the rest of the region.

Even if you’re just dropping in for a bite to eat or to pick up some adventure supplies (there is an excellent outdoor store!), I’d recommend making time for a stroll through Grand Forks’ pretty downtown.

Keep an eye out for the funky murals adorning the buildings as well as heritage interpretive signs.

Visiting on a Tuesday or Friday? Be sure to check out the Grand Forks Farmers’ Market in Gyro Park. It runs until from May to October.

Painted mural on brick building, of bicycle with flowers in bag on back tire. The artist name (Archer) is on the right
One of the many murals in downtown Grand Forks

Heritage sites

While exploring Boundary Country, before sure to embrace the rich mining, ranching and farming heritage of this region! Learning more will undoubtedly enhance any outdoor adventure in the region.

First Nation artifacts can be found in museums across Boundary Country and on the shore on Christina Lake, where there are ancient pictographs (rock carvings) to admire.


Midway is Mile 0 of the Kettle Valley Railway, now the start (or end) of the almost 500km long multi-use rail trail of the same name.

Visit the Kettle River Museum to get the low down on the town’s locomotive past and the building of the KVR. The original station house (built in 1901) is open for exploration, as well as a restored Canadian Pacific Railway caboose.

JR standards on the back of a red coloured caboose railway carriage at Kettle River Museum
Checking out the restored caboose at the Kettle River Museum


There’s more to Greenwood than the beautiful heritage buildings that line Highway 3. The Phoenix mine site, located up the mountain behind Greenwood, is also worth a visit.

Another 1000 people used to live here, in Canada’s ‘highest city’ (1412m). There’s not a ton to see besides the old cemetery and a cenotaph, but it’s fascinating to imagine what used to be. The Greenwood Museum has a Phoenix road trip guide.

Elevated view looking down of cemetery on Phoenix Mountain, with white fences around graves, red coloured bushes and trees
The Phoenix Cemetery

After the Phoenix mine initially closed in 1919, Greenwood became something of a ghost town. The population was practically doubled when Greenwood became an interment camp for Japanese Canadians in WWII. 

The Nikkei Legacy Park and Greenwood Museum share the stories and experiences of the Japanese families who lived here during that difficult time.

Side view of Nikkei Legacy Park, with wooden shelter, white Japanese sculptures
Nikkei Legacy Park, Greenwood

Grand Forks

More than 8,000 Doukhobor Russians settled in the Grand Forks area between 1908 and 1912. The Boundary Museum & Interpretive Centre, set in a converted Doukhobor school, shares their history as well as the ranching, farming and mining heritage of the region.

The museum was unfortunately closed during our visit so we took a drive along the Hardy Mountain Road instead. It leads to a 16.9 acre property which contains the remains of the Makortoff Doukhobor Village.

Although you can’t physically go onto the property at the moment, it is possible to spot the large two story house (built in 1912) that was used as a communal home for village members.

Local food

Fuel your Boundary Country adventure at independent eateries, which showcase classic Canadian cuisine, international flavours and heritage recipes made with locally sourced ingredients.

One of the most distinctive features of the food scene in Boundary Country is the influence of the Doukhobors.

Borscht is a feature on many menus, even in places where you would not necessarily expect a hearty vegetable soup to be served! Be sure to try this regional favourite while exploring Boundary Country.

Skip To: Our Boundary County Restaurant Recommendations

Overhead view of Borscht Bowl meal, with two bowls of orange coloured borscht, buttered bread, cucumber and a glass of water
Doukhobor-style borscht at the Borscht Bowl, Grand Forks

Where to stay in Boundary Country

Boundary Country is best known for unique, characterful properties, usually in the form of B&Bs, guesthouses, cabins and vacation rentals.

But that’s not the end of the story – you’ll also find small hotels, motels, RV parks and rustic campgrounds.

No matter the type of accommodation you choose, you’re sure to have a memorable stay in Boundary Country. Keep reading for a lowdown on our favourite accommodation options in this beautiful region.

Side view of shallow Granby River, with scattered rocks and forest backdrop
Granby River in Grand Forks

Grand Forks

Grand Forks is the main hub of Boundary Country, with the widest choice of restaurants and accommodation.

The location is ideal too, with Christina Lake being a short 10 minute drive in one direction and Jewel Lake, Phoenix Mountain, Greenwood and Midway in the other.

We stayed at Noble House Suites, a luxurious B&B on the banks of the Granby River. The three spacious en-suite rooms (each with a soaker tub!) all have access to a games room/lounge, home theatre, hot tub, patio, bocce court, above ground pool and riverside beach.

It’s possible to walk right from the property to the summit of Observation Mountain. Breakfast is included with every stay and is delivered at a time of your choosing. Choose between frittata (my favourite!), French Toast, pancakes and waffles.

View of two double beds in Noble House Suites, Grand Forks. The beds have dark wooden framed, plaid bed sheets and pillows with a bear print
Our en-suite room at Noble House Suites, Grand Forks

Greenwood, Jewel Lake, Midway, Christina Lake

To truly experience the off the beaten path nature of Boundary Country, consider staying at least one night in the smaller communities outside of Grand Forks such as Greenwood, Midway or Christina Lake.

To get away from it all, consider a stay at Jewel Lake Resort. Well equipped cabins sit just across from the lake and can host up to six people in two bedrooms.

There’s no need to leave the property with rental canoes and kayaks available from the dock plus a choice of nearby hiking trails. Ask about the Dentonia mine nearby – the short, steep trail passes the remains of old mining village buildings on the way to the mine entrance.

Back view of deck at Jewel Lake Resort, with two red Adirondack chairs facing lake. There is a swimming platform and boat on the lake
Jewel Lake Resort

Camping in Boundary Country

There are great options for camping in Boundary Country too, with a number of provincial park campgrounds in the area as well as municipal campgrounds and private sites.

Jewel Lake Resort, mentioned above, has 35 campsites, some with power.

Back view of JR standing on a log looking out to view of calm Jewel Lake on sunny day
Jewel Lake, from the Provincial Park looking towards Jewel Lake Resort
  • Gladstone Provincial Park sits midway up Christina Lake. The Texas Creek campground has 62 spots available from late April to late September. Reservations are highly recommended here, especially for summer weekends. As well as the vehicle accessible campground, there are also nine water-access backcountry sites on Christina Lake itself
  • Jewel Lake Provincial Park is home to a beautiful forested campground, open from mid May to mid September. All 26 campsites only a short walk from the lake. Operating on a first come, first serve basis, the campground usually only fills up on long weekends
  • Boundary Creek Provincial Park campground may be small (16 sites) but is exceptionally convenient for road trippers. This roadside campground, located just 4km from Greenwood, is open from late April to late September

Read Next: 22+ of the Best Campgrounds in the South Okanagan, BC

View of Boundary Creek Provincial Park campsite with picnic table on cement square, with fire pit behind. The campsite is surrounded by trees, some of which are changing colour
One of the campsites at Boundary Creek Provincial Park

Where to eat in Boundary Country

Boundary Country’s food scene is diverse, nourished by the farms and small artisan producers that dot the landscape. Here are our top picks for eating in Boundary Country!

Front view of two story Keg and Kettle Grill building, with large patio featuring red seating and umbrellas
The Keg and Kettle Grill patio in Midway

The Wooden Spoon Bistro, Grand Forks

If I had to choose just one place to eat in Boundary Country, the Wooden Spoon would be it! This rustic yet modern place transforms fresh, locally sourced ingredients into delicious and imaginative breakfast, brunch and lunch dishes.

As a pescatarian (I don’t eat meat), I loved having so many options to choose from – poke bowls, eggs benedict, burgers, scrambles, sandwiches and salads. I’ve heard that the Wooden Spoon is great with other dietary requirements too.

There’s a large indoor seating area as well as a streetside patio. Take-out is always an option too, with the regular menu plus pastries, pies and sweet baked goods too.

Looking over at Wooden Spoon Bistro meal on outside table, with two burgers on plates and two fruit smoothies behind. A fork in napkin sits between the plates
Lunch at the Wooden Spoon Bistro, Grand Forks

The Borscht Bowl, Grand Forks

There are a few places to try traditional Doukhobor dishes in Boundary Country but one of the cosiest has to be the Borscht Bowl in downtown Grand Forks.

Take the chance to try pyrahi (vegetable tarts), voreniki (similar to piegories), nalesniki (pancakes) and kalachi (sweet bread).

Of course, there’s borscht as well, which is orange in colour as it is cabbage and tomato based. Served with bread and butter, it’s a wholesome, hearty dish.

As a heads up, you should know that the prices are a little higher than you may expect for lunch but the portions are large and, as mentioned above, filling.

Close up of two large vareniki (similar to pierogis), covered with green onions and cheese
Homemade vareniki (Doukhobor-style pierogis) at the Borscht Bowl in Grand Forks

The Board Room Café, Grand Forks

Grand Forks may be small but it has its very own board game café! And it’s a great one too, with a game library with more than 500 unique titles.

The games are accompanied by an extensive café menu, featuring sandwiches, hot dogs, wraps, Mexican fare and all day breakfast dishes.

We loved the relaxed vibe (there’s no pressure to play games) of the Board Room Café as well as the choice of seating. The streetside patio, for example, is perfect for sunny fall days.

Side view of Board Room Cafe streetside patio with seating and signage. There are vibrant flowers on the street lamps
The Board Room Café patio in Grand Forks

Golden Chopsticks II, Grand Forks

Advised by locals that the family owned Golden Chopsticks II serves the best Chinese food in the region, we had to try for ourselves.

While more research is needed to confirm this, our meal was tasty and flavourful, with the sweet and sour pork and salt and pepper tofu being the stand-outs. Choose one of the combination plates for a little taste of everything!

Overhead view of Chinese food at the Golden Chopsticks, with combination plate of noodles and pork plus deep fried prawns and dumplings
Dinner at the Golden Chopsticks, Grand Forks

Grand Forks Station Pub, Grand Forks

Continue your rail trail adventure at the Grand Forks Station Pub, which is situated in the town’s old station building.

Now under new ownership (2021), the food menu features smoked versions of Canadian classics, made with fresh, locally grown ingredients when possible.

The local theme continues on the drinks menu, with wine and beer from the Okanagan alongside fresh fruit cocktails.

Front view of Grand Forks Station Pub, a two story heritage building (the original Grand Forks building0. The building has yellow and red panelling and a sloped roof
The Grand Forks Station Pub building

Deadwood Junction, Greenwood

Deadwood Junction is more than just a coffee stop! In addition to specialty coffees, this vibrant café also serves bubble tea, fruit smoothies, sandwiches, gelato, salads and sweet baked treats. A BBQ runs outside during the warmer months as well.

Inside, you’ll find local artisan products – paintings, pottery, wooden sculptures and more. Seating is outside, on the covered deck or sunny lawn.

View of Deadwood junction café, a two story building with patio and seating in front
Deadwood Junction café, Greenwood

Keg & Kettle Grill

It’s definitely quality over quantity when it comes to dining options in Midway and the Keg & Kettle Grill sets a high standard.

A real destination restaurant in this area, the menu features classic Canadian dishes alongside local favourites (yes, borscht!) Portions are large and well priced.

At the moment, the Keg & Kettle is open for dinner on Wednesday to Monday. Be sure to arrive early as locals start arriving as soon as the doors open at 4.30pm! On sunny days, the patio provides extra seating.

Overhead view of meal at Keg and Kettle Grill, with a quinoa plate (prawns, veggies) and a steak with garlic bread and fries. There is a beer and cutlery between the plates
Dinner at the Keg & Kettle, Midway

Other places to eat in Boundary Country

While we didn’t get a chance to eat there, we heard great things about Las Chimichangas. Boundary Country locals raved to us about the authentic tacos and chimichangas.

The location of this food truck varies, but it is often in Grand Forks or Christina Lake. Check the website or Facebook page for more details.

During the busy summer season, there are plenty of choice for food in Christina Lake. After Labour Day, things do quieten down. I would recommend calling businesses to check their opening hours first.

Looking across purple wildflowers to a bridge over the Granby River in Grand Forks
Early fall flowers in Grand Forks

Check out these other related posts next:

53 Amazing Things to Do in Osoyoos, British Columbia

Okanagan Valley Road Trip, BC: What to Do and Where to Stop

A Complete Adventure Guide to Valhalla Provincial Park

74 Things To Do In Penticton and the Southern Okanagan, British Columbia

Hiking to Twin Lakes in BC’s Monashee Mountains

Hiking the Kettle Valley Rail Trail in Penticton, BC

Boundary Country is one of those ‘hiding in plain sight’ destinations. I knew about it but wasn’t sure what was there. And now, after visiting, I know why - people are trying to keep this peaceful paradise all to themselves! This relaxed, scenic region in southern British Columbia is the ideal destination for a fall getaway. And with such wide, open landscapes and unlimited outdoor adventure on offer, that peaceful factor isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
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