Hiking the Golden Mile Stamp Mill Trail

by Josée

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The Golden Mile Stamp Mill Trail is located just south-west of Oliver, BC. The trail begins at the scenic Tinhorn Creek Winery. You can park at the wine shop and get a trail map from the friendly people there. From the parking area the trail goes through part of the Tinhorn Creek Vineyard. While this stretch through vineyard is picturesque it is a bit of a grind for young children. The trail is uphill and completely exposed to the sun making it quite hot even on a relatively cool day (20°C).

After passing through two gates, a low lying snake fence and a large wildlife gate, you are officially beyond Tinhorn Creek property. On the other side of the gate there is a well and then the trail veers right up a steep hill. As you climb higher up the hill the view gets better and better. Eventually the trail levels out as it reaches a plateau and just ahead the trail will fork. The trail going right is part of a longer hike (10 km) that meanders north towards the old Fairwiew Townsite. Part of this trail crosses over private property so it’s unclear if it is still accessible. The trail leading left leads you to the 1895 Stamp Mill Ruins. Long ago rocks were brought here in carts so that the mined metals and rocks could be separated. I imagine that this little spot would have been quite the hub of activity long ago. It is fun to explore the remaining walls and fireplace but the area is covered in poison ivy so be careful! There is also an old crab-apple tree nearby.

As you begin hiking back be sure to explore the path down to the creek. My children enjoyed taking off their shoes and discovering the little nooks and crannies along the creek. Cattle comes through here regularly so it smells a little, otherwise the cool gully makes for a lovely spot to relax before continuing the trek back. The way back is mostly downhill so it feel much quicker. On our return my children enjoyed sitting by little pond in front of the Tinhorn Creek Winery and looking for snails and fish. The length of the hike is roughly 2.5km. We did it at a very leisurely pace and enjoyed lunch along the way so it took us about two-and-half hours. Realistically, it could be done in about an hour or so with young children, less for older children.

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3 comments

Thompson/Haynes March 22, 2017 - 9:50 am

Golden mile trail shouldn’t even be. They never asked our family if it was okay to allow anyone to come onto our property. People leave gates open which just not long ago killed one of our retired horses on the highway, ppl have left garbage everywhere as well. I can see that your family and you pack in and pack out so not the issue. It’s the ones who don’t care and it’s really annoying that the winery just went ahead and did that!!

Reply
Josée March 22, 2017 - 1:12 pm

Thank you for taking the time to comment on this hike. I truly appreciated it.

From my understanding there are two separate hikes in this area. Hiking from Tinhorn Creek Winery, as described above, there is a fork in the trail. By going left at the fork it brings a hiker up Mill Creek to the old ruins (which I described above). By going right at the fork it follows the Golden Mile Stamp Mile Trail up to Fairview. The area of contention seems to be along the Golden Mile Trail. It seems that the majority of this trail lies upon Crown Land, and is open to hikers. However, at a point along this trail it becomes private property. It sounds like this transition is clearly marked and I encourage all hikers to be respectful and not cross onto private property.

Tinhorn Creek Winery clearly informs hikers not to cross onto private property, and encourages an out-and-back hike from the winery. I have personally spoken to them to confirm this.

The Golden Mile Trail is a beautiful trail with important historical value. I encourage all hikers exploring this area to leave only footprint (no garbage!) and to respect the trail signage. Happy Adventuring!

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Tom September 26, 2017 - 4:50 pm

As a regular hiker in the hills surrounding Osoyoos and Oliver I can confirm that there are some who leave garbage but I always take a plastic bag with me and pick up any garbage that I see and can carry out. If we all do our bit to keep the landscape pristine we will be able to hike it for many years to come and landowners may not be so reluctant to allow hikers to pass through their property.

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