Wondering what to do and where to go around Nelson and Kootenay Lake? We’ve compiled a list of our favourite day trip ideas to help you discover the region. Get ready to soak in the sun, the views and hot springs, and set your watch to Kootenay Time.
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Trip Ideas by Region
Beautiful scenery, a delightful downtown, cozy eateries and lots of outdoor recreation options make Kaslo an ideal day trip from anywhere else around Kootenay Lake. Go for a gentle hike on the Kaslo River Trail loop, time travel aboard the SS Moyie Sternwheeler, learn about the past at the Langham Cultural Centre, or just enjoy the stunning views around town. Allow time for a visit to Ainsworth Hot Springs and Fletcher Falls. Or, head north of Kaslo to Lardeau and Meadow Creek for even more remote, awe-inspiring sights and sounds.
Along Highway 3A you'll discover an array of marinas, parks, camping and resorts. If you are at Balfour, take the world’s longest free ferry across Kootenay Lake to Kootenay Bay, enjoying the cafes and restaurants, on either side of the ferry and on the ferry. A short distance from Kootenay Bay is the artisan community of Crawford Bay. Or turn north after the ferry and enjoy the quiet community of Riondel, with a 9-hole golf course, gorgeous beach and campsite, and the Yasodhara Ashram offers a spiritual oasis. Pilot Bay Provincial Park has some spectacular views along the gentle shoreline hike, or book a tee time at Kokanee Spring Golf Resort for mountain golf unlike anywhere else. Take the ferry over to Balfour, or create a loop by driving through Creston and over Kootenay Pass to Nelson.
Balfour / Kokanee Creek
Take your pick, adventure or relaxation. Both are on offer in this area that is pretty much the pivotal point, or centre of the entire region. Mountain biking trails for all ages are up Glacier Creek road, or do a meandering peddle around Kokanee Creek Park. Soar through the trees at Kokanee Mountain Zipline, or climb high into the alpine to explore the many lakes and parks: Gibson Lake, Kokanee Lake, Kaslo Lakes, and Kokanee Glacier Road. Play a round of golf at the stunning Balfour Golf Course and stay for lunch or dinner at the Osprey Grill. Fishing on the lake is an all year sport, with larger fish coming up from the depths when there are cooler temperatures.
If soaking up sun is more your speed, head to the wide sandy beach on the Kootenay Lake. Kids will love the discovery centre in the campground, and the walking paths beside the river are always a favourite, particularly when the salmon spawn in late summer.
Ainsworth Hot Springs
At Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort, relax in the pool or take a refreshing dip in the cold pool, or step into hot water in the cave. These hot springs will be one of your most memorable experiences in the region. Views of the Purcell mountains from the pool and dining room, and hotel rooms, make for a vacation that is a full experiential getaway. The Resort is open year round and is owned by Yaqan Nukiy, the Lower Kootenay Band of Creston, BC, returning the Ktunaxa peoples to this land so that they may share it with others.
Nelson is what you have heard: a cultural, dreamy destination. Wander historic Baker Street and discover the lively and bustling downtown with boutique shops, cafes, pubs and patios. Rotary Lakeside Park features a sandy beach, playground, water sports rentals, gardens, and the beautifully restored streetcar along the waterfront. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy a hike up Pulpit Rock, mountain biking trails, cross country ski trails, scenic road biking options and world class Whitewater Ski Resort. Farmers markets and dozens of delicious restaurants celebrate true local flavour.
North Kootenay Lake
Adventure and wilderness calls at the north end of Kootenay Lake. Enjoy hiking into spectacular and remote alpine areas. Quiet waterfront campgrounds surrounded by soaring mountains offer a peaceful and inspiring getaway. The region is also the birthplace of cat skiing, with deep powder and cozy backcountry lodges.
150 Trip Ideas
Spring brings excitement, possibility, and all kinds of colour to Kootenay Lake. Steep mountain valleys are alive with the spring runoff.
From beautiful lakeside parks to stunning theatrical performances to world-famous music festivals, there's something for everyone in the region.
Ways to Unplug
Wonder what life would be like if we weren’t tethered to our mobile devices? Here's some ways to unplug in Nelson and Kootenay Lake.
Rainy Day Activities
Let’s keep in touch. We have a lot of ideas for you.