A Natural Stopping Point
Top Midway Experiences
- While away the hours soaking up our summer sun as you relax beside our lakes and rivers
- Cycle the KVR right from milepost zero at Midway’s Kettle River Museum
- Compete for the title of bike rodeo champion at Kettle River Days
- Learn the story behind Midway’s epic railway wars at the Kettle River Museum
- Explore the Midway Mountain Hiking Trail hiking to the summit to snap a selfie at the 49th Parallel
- Experience Midway MusicFest where traditional music is the star of the show
- Take in the urban beats in the bush at the annual Groove Music Festival
- Get in a round of golf at the Kettle Valley Golf Club, a 9-hole course on the shores of the Kettle River, between Midway and Rock Creek
- Rest up on your KVR expedition, picnicking in the shade of the Kettle River Museum
- Visit the Entwined Trees and Gateway Learning Circle
Good to know before you go
- Accommodations in Midway include a heritage inn, a roadside motel and two RV park campgrounds
- The Kettle River Museum is open seasonally from May to the end of September
- The Kettle River crosses the international border at Midway – make sure you exit the river before the Frank Carpenter Riverfront RV Park
Originally known as Boundary City, the village of Midway (pop: 621) is tucked away in the sun-soaked Kettle Valley. The Monashee Mountains gently give way to rolling meadows of bunch grass, rock roses and a semi-arid landscape. Look around, and you can easily imagine what it was like here in the early 1890s.
This is where you’ll find Mile 0 of the famed Kettle Valley Railway. Midway is the half-way point for several locations, including being the half-way point between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Midway sits right at the international border with the United States and is a natural stopping point on any Boundary Country adventure. For those travelling by electric car, there’s a car charging station at the Kettle River Museum.
Step out on the trails surrounding Midway. Connect to our stories of railway wars and prospector’s dreams. Take a day trip and cycle to Greenwood. Learn about our Culture and History on a visit to the Kettle River Museum. Stop into the old pub, and you may hear whispers from the past when prospectors gathered here.
Come and celebrate with us at one of our many events. Spend the day in the great outdoors, exploring and enjoying our natural beauty. Hike and bike a series of trails directly across the river from downtown Midway or play a round of golf at the longest continuously open golf course in BC.
Then, settle down for the night at a heritage inn, roadside motel or RV park. It’s time to discover the sweetness of life in a small town.
A Rail Tale
Once you learn about our rail trails‘ history, you’ll see them in a different light. Years ago, the railway brought provisions into Midway and gold and copper to the smelters. At one point, battle lines were drawn as Canada, and the US fought over who would lay the line near Midway.
The Great Trail
The Columbia and Western Rail Trail (C&W) connects with the Kettle Valley Rail Trail (KVR) at Midway. The two of them form a 240 km (149 mi) section of the Great Trail (formerly the Trans Canada Trail). Back in the day, these two rail lines helped connect the spread-out communities in early Canada. Today, these sections are a combination of paved roads, gravel roads and trails and dirt tracks.
Columbia and Western Rail Trail
Gold and copper were discovered in Rossland in 1890. The C&W railway was created to run from the smelter in Trail to Penticton. By 1900 the railroad reached Midway and had a branch line from Eholt to the mineral-rich area of Phoenix Mountain. By creating this line, Canada scored a victory against the American competitors and re-established control over the area.
Battle Lines Drawn
There were several skirmishes between US and Canadian construction crews, which resulted in the Battle of Midway. In November 1905, shots were fired, and a battle ensued between CPR workers and a crew of the Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern Railway (known as the Washington and Great Northern Railway in the US). They were determined to run a line north from Spokane into Midway.
At times, the men who were fighting each other were camped within metres of each other. Each group was unwilling to move off their claimed spot. The authorities were eventually called in to restore peace and order. By the end of 1905, Midway had a second railway, and on July 5, 1910, the sod was turned on yet another railway venture – The Kettle River Line – which linked Midway to the west coast.
As with most rail lines, this line was eventually abandoned and the rails were removed between Midway and Castlegar in 1990.
Kettle Valley Rail Trail
Midway is the location of Mile 0 of the KVR. In 1910 Andrew McCulloch began his work in engineering the KVR line to link up with the west coast of British Columbia. It was called “one of the strangest railways ever built. Its tracks resembling a roller coaster snaking over frightful, rugged mountains.” Some say it was the railway constructed out of fear.
In 1915, five years and 563 km (350 mi) of track later, the first passenger train chugged over the mountains, creating a happy and prosperous relationship between a railway and the BC interior people. The trains carried both pioneers and prospectors to this mineral-rich land. Use of the railroads declined over the years, with the last passenger train running in 1964 and the last freight train hauling in 1989.
The Trails Today
Today these trails are used by visitors from around the world. As you explore these trails, you can imagine travellers from long ago along this same path. Dreams of riches and a better life pushed them onward. Look closely, and you can still see the big stone ovens and the remnants of mining days.
You can explore the KVR and C&W decommissioned rail beds on foot, horseback, and mountain bike. There are several cattle guards and gates along the way. Trail users are asked to respect these areas and close the gates behind them so livestock does not escape and wander onto roads.
Culture and History
There are several ways to experience the culture and heritage of Midway. Spend time in our museum and our park. Then take a walk on a self-guided tour of our historic buildings.
Kettle River Museum
Experience the history of Midway and area in tales told through an extensive collection of photographs and railway artifacts at the Kettle River Museum. Railway and history buffs are naturally drawn to the comprehensive exhibits. It’s here where you can learn about the Treaty of 1846 that set the 49th parallel as the Canada/USA border.
The Kettle River Museum sits on the 2.5-acre property. One of the museum’s main attractions is the original Station House. Climb aboard and explore a restored Canadian Pacific Railway caboose. With its shady picnic grounds, this is a welcome picnic stop for families and cyclists.
The entwined trees, which became one symbolize the connection and friendship that still exists today between Canada and the United States. Back in 1857, surveyors began to create the International Boundary Line (Canada/US border). By 1861 a large portion of First Nations people moved to a reservation in Colville, WA. Before they left, one of the First Nations people entwined two sapling pines, saying “Though divided we are united still, we are one.”
In 2010, the Olympic Torch made a stop in Midway at Entwined Trees Park.
Gateway (Stekthal) Learning Circle
In June of 2015, the Gateway (Stekthal) Learning Circle was officially opened in Entwined Trees Park. This artwork is a creation of David Seven Deers, an artist based in Greenwood, and took several years to create. The space represents a gateway to the world, learning, community, and understanding each other. It is a learning destination for area students.
Enter through the massive stone gateway. Beyond the entry is Heelah – Mother Raven, who presides at the head of the circle. Twenty stone blocks create the circle, with a chiselled animal motif on each one.
There are several historic buildings in Midway, dating back to the late 1800s. Ask for directions from the local Visitor Centre for your self-guided tour.
Built in 1894, it was the Lundy residence – one of the early pioneers – and is now a private residence. It is the oldest standing house in Midway.
Built in 1900, the former Kettle River Inn was the first hotel ever built in Midway. Today it is known as the Midway Hot-L. Ask around and you may hear some tall tales, as on occasion, guests report seeing apparitions of ladies of the night and miners throughout the hotel.
Built in 1905 by the Great Northern Railway Crew, an engineer donated the bell, John R. Jackson donated the land, and the Sunday school room was added in 1959. Today it is a thrift store where you can get some great bargains.
Old School House
This is the oldest school house in Boundary Country. There are no tours at this time. The building may be moved to the museum grounds in the future.
Events and Celebrations
We may be small, but we know how to celebrate in Midway! Start your day with a pancake breakfast at Kettle River Days, or get your toes tapping at our Midway Music Fest. The Groove Festival and the Fun in the Sun festival are two other great live music events you’re sure to enjoy.
Kettle River Days
Experience an old-fashioned, small-town festival that celebrates family and community at Midway’s Kettle River Days in July. A hearty pancake breakfast kicks off the day and fuels up the riders for the bike rodeo. Slather on your sunscreen and compete in the inner tube races, build your own boat and then race it down the river. The entire day is centred on good, old-fashioned family fun.
Groove Music Festival
If your musical leanings are more urban beats then come for the Groove Music Festival. A weekend party, the dual stages at the GT Paradize Ranch are filled with DJs, hip-hop artists and live bands throwing down beats in the bush.
Fun in the Sun
Runs the second weekend in September. Come out and listen to live music at this fundraiser for the Kettle River Museum.
Golfing, camping, hiking, biking, canoeing, swimming, and fishing are all at our doorstep in Midway. Relax by the Kettle River in the summer and head out into the backcountry on your snowmobile in the winter. Every season is the right season for outdoor adventure in Midway.
Straddle Two Countries
Summer or winter, we have a fantastic series of interconnected trails that wind their way from the centre of town up Midway Mountain. Hike, mountain bike, or snowshoe the network of trails right to the spot where two countries connect at the 49th parallel. Stroll or cross-country ski the sun-dappled path of the Riverwalk trail along the banks of the Kettle River. Amble the red, green and blue trails to the Baldy Lookout. Reward yourself with a hike up the mossy trails all the way to the top. While you’re there, snap a photo of yourself standing right on the border, one foot in each country.
Snowmobile Drag Races
Midway celebrates their Annual Snowmobile Drag Races in January at the Midway Airport Lands put on by the Kettle Valley Racing Association. There’s a concession on-site and plenty of races to get your adrenaline pumping! Come on out and enjoy the fun.
Enjoy the 9-hole Kettle Valley Golf Club located between Midway and the community of Rock Creek. This course first opened in 1927 and was created by the pioneer golfers of the time. Back then, the greens were sand. Today, they have been updated to grass. It’s the perfect place to golf the day away.
You’ll find spacious landscapes of rangeland, ponderosa pine, and larch covered hills. All this near the picturesque Kettle River. Experience friendly service in a country atmosphere at this affordable and walkable course.
Relax by the Kettle River
Listen to the river’s running water as you feel the sun warm your face. The Kettle River cuts its watery swath through the heart of Boundary Country. It begins in the Monashee Mountains and winds its way south to Midway. From there, it detours over the international border before flowing back into Canada at Grand Forks.
You’ll find excellent trout fishing here. There are over 40 creeks, small lakes, and our river to choose where you can drop a line. And they are all within a short drive of Midway. Fresh-water fishing is regulated in BC. You do require a fishing license to catch and keep, or catch and release varies by area.
Riverfront Park Camping
Enjoy camping right beside the beautiful Kettle River. Frank Carpenter Riverfront Park is conveniently located just minutes from the highway. They have showers, flush toilets, a cyclist shelter, and canoe rentals. There are eight sites with 15-amp power, picnic tables, fire pits and firewood. Cyclists will love the cyclist shelter. It’s also the perfect location for weddings and reunions.
Enjoy the day with activities like swimming, canoeing, fishing, and hiking and biking The Great Trail.