If you’re the kind of traveller who craves adrenaline-pumping activities and thrilling exploits, Kootenay Lake should be at the top of your must-visit list. You’ll find everything from mountain biking to hiking to paddle boarding to ziplining… and that’s just scratching the surface of summertime activities. In the winter, you’ll be faced with incredible downhill/nordic/backcountry/heli-skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and more.
Visiting in summer, spring or fall?
Warmer weather brings all kinds of pursuits. From steep rocky descents to buff flowy trails, mountain bikers will find dozens of trails that are just the right speed. Lightly trafficked waterfront roads and tasty cafes reward road cyclists. Paddling on Kootenay Lake provides adventure from mild to wild in beautiful surroundings.
Adventures above and below ground
Kokanee Mountain Zipline, at Balfour, takes you high above Kokanee Creek with views of Kokanee Glacier and beyond. Cody Caves Tours, near Ainsworth Hot Springs, is a rare find with a variety of options for beginners to advanced spelunkers.
From waterfront to high alpine, from an hour to multiple days, the hiking options are boundless. Head up the local favourites for some epic trails: Pulpit Rock and/or Flagpole for a sweet view of Nelson; the Kaslo River Trail for a mellow walk in nature; visit Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park near Balfour for a journey through the Old Growth Forest; or explore the shores of Kootenay Lake at Pilot Bay on the East Shore.
Visiting in the winter?
Head to Whitewater Ski Resort or one of the cat or heli ski operators for an unbeatable combination of snow and savoury flavours with a genuine local vibe. It’s also the gateway to top-notch backcountry touring terrain. If cross-country skiing is more your thing, Nelson, Kaslo and Balfour offer a variety of groomed trails, with the addition of the Great Northern Rail Trail perched above Nelson.
From deep powder to deep water, world-class mountain biking to all kinds of hiking, Nelson and Kootenay Lake has it! If you're looking to bring the adrenaline down after you're done adventuring, check out our Things To Do page for a variety of fun activities!
Half Day Adventures
Cat & Heli Skiing
We are the Cat Ski Capitol, because of this well-designed terrain, precipitation, and temperatures, with more Cat Ski operations here than anywhere else in the world.