Wondering what to do in the Nelson and Kootenay Lake region?
There's definitely no shortage of things to keep you busy, and possibly even inspired. Let's get started by first figuring out what kind of things you like to do when travelling, then we can provide activities and places to stay that fit your style.
What kind of traveller are you?
Select your style of travel preference below to learn more.
Get ready to enjoy and set your watch to Kootenay Time.
Kootenay Lake Road Trip App
Want to see an incredible array of interesting sights, at your pace, with your very own personal tour guide? There's an app for that! The Kootenay Lake Road Trip App includes various fun and informative self-guided audio tours.
There's 3 tours to choose from:
- Driving Tour
- Mural Tour
- Kaslo River Trail Tour
The newest addition, the Kaslo River Trail Tour, offers a forest bathing journey along the trail that allows you to look inwards and outwards whilst listening to mesmerizing meditative poems that are intertwined with fun facts about your surroundings. You will come face to face with the alluring Hide & Seek sculptures, they're waiting for you to say hello. Download the app today and enjoy this unique experience.
Check Out the Touring App
If you are eager to book your trip, visit our Reservation System that provides you hotel rates and seasonal specials with a direct booking link to the accommodator. An additional feature is a list of attractions to make it easy for you to book direct.
Trip Ideas by Community
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.
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
Read our visitors guide online or order a copy of the official visitor's guide and map for our region.