Grand Forks Top 10 Experiences
- Learn about the Doukhobor culture and their lasting legacy at the Boundary Museum or the Pride of the Valley Heritage Flour Mill – afterwards, stop by local restaurants for a hearty bowl of Borscht, a traditional Doukhobor dish
- Join in one of the largest fly fishing drifts in BC at the annual Kettle River Fishing Drift, the second weekend of July. Paddle your canoe along the Kettle & Granby Rivers’ gentle rapids from cool forests to open ranges
- From spring to late fall, visit our Farmers’ Market in the heart of downtown at Gyro Park Tuesday and Friday
- Write your own tale of discovery on a rock-hounding safari at Rock Candy Mine
- Ride, hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski sections of the Trans Canada Trail through the heart of Grand Forks
- Attend Cannafest in August for the very best of Canadian Classic Rock
- Grand Forks Park in the Park. The 2017 theme is race cars, with lots of other great cars in the mix
- Absorb Grand Forks stories, arts and culture, and heritage as you stroll back in time at the three galleries at Gallery 2: Grand Forks Art & Heritage Centre
- Cheer on your favourite team at the annual Grand Forks Invitational Baseball Tournament
- Celebrate the best of rural BC at the annual Grand Forks Fall Fair, a mainstay since 1910
Good to Know Before You Go
- Accommodations in Grand Forks include nationally branded hotels, roadside motels, B&Bs, and RV parks
- Fresh-water fishing is regulated in BC and fishing licenses are required.
- Learn more about local regulations and where to locate tackle shops at Boating & Fishing
- Visit Trails for more information about hiking and biking Trans Canada Trail and other Grand Forks area trails
- Rivers & Lakes has a detailed list of tubing routes on the Kettle and Granby Rivers
- When traveling in Grand Forks, look for a comprehensive list of weekly events, activities and festivals posted at the Visitor Centre, tourism businesses, RV parks and campgrounds
- Farms & Orchards provides more information on Grand Forks’ agri-tourism experiences
- Winter Recreation offers more detailed information on skiing Phoenix Mountain, Mt. Baldy and Marshall Lakes
The 36th Grand Forks International is June 27-July 2, featuring 4 new teams. The Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks, one of the most storied Summer Collegiate teams in the United States, will be at the GFI for the first time, along with the Oakland Lumberjacks, Kitsap Blue Jackets and the Okanagan Summer Collegiate Athletics.
Making their second consecutive trip to Grand Forks are the Westchase Express from Houston, Texas and the San Francisco Seals. Returning teams like the Seattle Studs, Burnaby Bulldogs and Everett Merchants will provide fans with a baseball feast; 12 teams and 25 games. The winner takes home $20,000 from a total purse of $54,000.
It’s great baseball and the ballpark atmosphere is second to none. On site are the Hardball Café and Right Field Tavern. The GFI Hall of Fame provides the fans with past history and interesting displays.
Then there is Free GFI Bingo during every game with great prizes to be won, Kids Run the Bases and much more. Fun for the whole family!
2017 is Canada’s 150th Birthday and the GFI will be highlighting this by celebrating Canada’s baseball history. It’s a history which began in 1838 and contains some captivating moments. Check out grandforksbaseball.com and the GFI Facebook page for fascinating sketches of Canadian baseball history as well as team and player updates.
Uniquely Boundary Country
The Trans Canada Trail and the Kettle and Granby Rivers all converge in Grand Forks (pop. 3,985). This urban enclave is nestled in a lush, broad valley flanked by the Monashee Mountains and mile after mile of rolling farmlands. In this tranquil landscape you’ll find postcard scenery, abundant outdoor recreation, heritage sites and cultural attractions unique only to this part of BC.
Grand Forks is Boundary Country’s largest city. It’s where the enduring stories of farmers, prospectors, Doukhobors and up-and-coming baseball players reveal themselves in nearby pastures, the geode rich fields of Rock Candy Mine, at the Boundary Museum, and on the pitcher’s mound at the annual Grand Forks Invitational. The timeless architecture of our downtown core invites a stroll into the galleries and shops that anchor our vibrant arts scene. Then there’s the Trans Canada Trail, and the Kettle and Granby Rivers which beckon you outdoors no matter the season.
We may be classified as a city, but settle down for any length of time in Grand Forks and you’ll fall in love with our endearing small-town charm.
A Storied Past
The great copper boom of the late 20th century established Grand Forks. The roots of our story really take hold with the arrival of the Doukhobors. Escaping tyranny in Eastern Europe and Russia in the late 20th century, the group first emigrated to Saskatchewan, and then Grand Forks. It was here where their communal way of living flourished on farms surrounding the city.
A treasured part of our heritage, the Doukhobor story is unique to Boundary Country. It is brought to life in Grand Forks. Connect with their stories at the Fructova School, once a schoolhouse for Doukhobor children, now home to the Boundary Museum. You’ll enjoy traditional Russian recipes like Borscht and pyrahi at several of our local restaurants. Listen to the storytellers at the Pride of the Valley Heritage Flour Mill. They’ll bring to life the Doukhobor agricultural history, kindling the stories you’ll tell of your own Grand Forks visit.
Explore the Trans Canada Trail
Feel history beneath your feet as you travel our trails. Imagine the dreams of long-ago travelers as you explore the decommissioned rail beds. The Columbia and Western Railway (C&W) and Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern Railway (VV&E) wind through the heart of Grand Forks. They are part of a 240 km (149 mi) section of the Trans Canada Trail.
Start at City Park and decide which direction to head. North takes you along the old C&W line on an uphill climb toward Eholt. This 23 km (15 mi) (one-way) journey takes your through cool, dark tunnels and mountainside lookouts over the North Fork Valley and the Granby River. Watch for eagles, deer, marmots and hawks, while contemplating the downhill slope of your return journey.
If gentle landscapes are more your liking, point your compass toward Christina Lake. You can hike or cycle through a pastoral landscape that hugs the Kettle River, crossing the Smitten Trestle, (at 154 m or 505 ft the longest on the CP line). Listen for the Cascade Gorge and Cascade Falls, a spectacular waterfall hidden just off the main trail en route to Christina Lake and a well-deserved swim.
Grand Forks Skate Park
There are a whole host of mountain biking options on trails that wind through town and nearby mountainsides. But, if you’re just starting out mountain biking, perfect your skills at Grand Forks Skate Park where there are abundant bowls, rails and jams for every level of rider.
The slow-running Kettle River winds it way into Canada in Grand Forks where it joins with the Granby River. These two lazy rivers take you on a grand and watery tour of secluded sun-dappled beaches, picturesque parks, local swimming holes, and secret fishing spots.
Both rivers teem with aquatic life, creating a rich food source for larger fish. Bring your kit and spend a warm summer day angling for Rainbow and brook trout or Rocky Mountain whitefish. Fish from the shore, or if you’re game, wade in to the middle of the river. The owners of the Victoria Motel and RV Park offer fly-tying lessons on Thursday nights, and if you’re angling for pure Boundary Country adventure, take part in July’s annual Kettle River Fishing Drift where hundreds of fishers descend of the river, fishing and drifting the weekend away.
Explore by Kayak or Canoe
Make the most of Grand Forks’ watery playground. Kayak or canoe the Kettle and Granby Rivers. Are you an adrenaline junky and expert kayaker seeking some serious rapids? Then drop your kayak in the Granby River’s fast running rapids at the Staircase or S-Curves north of town. Feel the spray on your face and your heart start to race. Your senses sharpen as you approach the narrow rock gorges and logjams that make for some serious paddling here. If you like a little less white water when you paddle, put in on the lower reaches of the Granby or in the Kettle River. The water here is as gentle as the breeze.
Late June and early July are prime paddling times. The water is warm and you’ll find numerous sandy beaches along the way.
The same trails that lure mountain bikers and hikers in summer are a natural draw come winter for snowshoers and cross-country skiers. Grand Forks’ relatively flat terrain and moderate snowfall combine for a quiet winterlude. Outside the city, work up an appetite, skiing or snowshoeing Marshall Lakes trails or getting some downhill action in at Phoenix Mountain Ski Hill.
Arts & Entertainment
Get your art and cultural bearings and step inside the Grand Forks’ Gallery 2. This is the centrepiece of the Grand Forks art scene. Stroll the first floor of the historic, red brick courthouse, dating back to 1911. See our stories in the photographs and art installations in three distinct galleries. Explore the hub of performing arts in Boundary Country at live theatre performances by the River’s Edge Theatre Society, and concerts presented by local and touring acts.
Where the Farm Meets the City
Cultivating the land surrounding Grand Forks dates back more than 100 years. Farms popped up to support the influx of miners during the great copper boom of the late 20th Century. This land was known as Fructova or, fruit of the valley, by the Doukhobors. The lush farmland still yields a bumper crop of agri-tourism experiences at farms and orchards within a few minute’s drive of the heart of the city.
Your first stop is Jerseyland Organics outside of Grand Forks. Learn how cheese and yogurt are made the organic way. Ripe with the aroma of aging curd, one step inside the cheese shop will set your mouth watering.
Celebrate the harvest at Spencer Hill Orchard. You’ll be drawn into the orchard by the scent of tree-ripened fruit ready for picking just in time for their one-day festival in September.
Explore the Pride of the Valley Heritage Flour Mill, learn how grain is transformed into flour, listen to tales of days-gone-by delivered by local characters who know the stories best.
Shop locally at Gyro Park, home to Grand Forks’ Farmers’ Market, held Tuesday and Friday mornings between May and October.
Search for Geodes at Rock Candy Mines
You hardly need to scratch the surface of Boundary Country to reveal stories of its mining boom and bust. Write your own tale of discovery. Go rock hounding at the Big Rock Candy Mountain’s mine and heritage site. Embark on your quest for crystals, fluorite and barite as part of a rock-hounding safari. You’ll join the decades of travelers who have long journeyed to Boundary Country in search of treasure.
Grand Forks Invitational Baseball Tournament
A sporting tradition over 40 years in the making, the annual Grand Forks Invitational Baseball Tournament is a must do event on the Grand Forks’ summer calendar. Experience first hand the sense of camaraderie that occurs when an entire community pitches together to create the event.
Sit in the stands or bring your lawn chair and plenty of sunscreen to cheer on your favourite team. Nosh on hot-dogs…as you call out “batter, batter, batter UP” as loud as you can. The pitcher’s mound at Grand Forks’ James Donaldson Park is where the fastest arms from around western Canada and the US compete for the title of GFI champion. Come out for a game or the whole series. You may be watching a future all star.
Grand Forks Fall Fair
The Grand Forks Fall Fair is a signature Boundary Country experience. It has been an August tradition since 1910, bringing community and visitors together. Enjoy the last moments of summer as you meander alongside the opening day parade. Watch as the cowboys and clowns entertain the crowds. Take the opportunity to indulge in fair food or check out the main stage for lively performances of some of BC’s most entertaining acts. Centred on family and farms, the Grand Forks Fall Fair celebrates the very best of rural BC.
Kick off the holiday season at Gallery 2: Grand Forks Art & Heritage Centre for the annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser. Stroll the gallery’s archival photography or pop up to view the current art exhibits. Sample wine made from the Kootenay, Okanagan and Similkameen regions. There’s also BC craft beer, locally roasted coffees to drink and and savoury hors d’oeuvres to nibble on while indulging in the arts, raising funds for the gallery.