How To Get To Nelson

How To Get To Nelson

Despite our rural location, there are many ways to get here - ferries, airports, vehicles and shuttles. Nelson, Kaslo, East Shore and Balfour are the main access points that lead you to a magical destination of beauty, culture and activities.

By Car

A ferry crossing the Kootenay Lake in BC.Offering spectacular mountain scenery, driving is a popular option for many visitors. The approach is easy by car, RV or motorcycle, with access from several well maintained highways.

Winter brings a note of caution: driving conditions can change quickly at higher elevations. Winter tires are required, carrying chains is advisable, and delays for avalanche control and snow removal may be possible.

If you don't have your own vehicle, you can find rides to, from, and around the region using Kootenay Rideshare.

Visit DriveBC for up-to-date road information across British Columbia.

There are several ferries in the region, which adds to the magic of travel as you journey across big and beautiful Kootenay Lakes. 


The border crossings have changed their hours of operation as of April 1, 2023. Please be sure to confirm hours on the USA and Canada border crossing websites to ensure they are open when you plan to cross. (See updated hours news release - March 31, 2023)

Here is a summary document created by the International Selkirk Loop.

Border Hours


  • Nelway - Nelson/Salmo access: open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. Phone: 509-446-4421 (USA  crossing is Metaline Falls with possibly different hours)
  • Rykerts - Creston/East Shore access: 8 am to midnight (first Saturday in November to 2nd Saturday in March) 7 am to 11 pm (2nd Sunday in March to first Sunday in November) (USA  crossing is Porthill with possibly different hours)
    7 days a week
  • Waneta - Trail access: open from 9am to 5pm, 7 days a week (USA  crossing is Boundary with possibly different hours)
  • Paterson - Rossland access: open 24 hours all year round. (USA  crossing is Frontier with possibly different hours)

Hours of operation vary at each crossing so please reference the border websites to confirm details close to your date of travel. 

Electric Vehicles

There are electric plugins across the region, and more coming all the time. In addition, there are recharging stations in nearby Salmo and Castlegar. Check out the map below for all EV charging stations in our region.

Distance and Driving Times

To Nelson
  Castlegar  44km  35 mins
  Calgary  618km  6.5 hrs
  Revelstoke  252km  3.5 hrs
  Spokane  239km  3 hrs
  Trail  69km  55 mins
  Vancouver  658km  8 hrs
To Balfour
  Castlegar  77km  1 hr
  Calgary  584km  7 hrs
  Revelstoke  234km  3.5 hrs
  Spokane  271km  3.5 hrs
  Trail  100km  1.5 hrs
  Vancouver  691km  8.5 hrs
To Kaslo
  Castlegar  114km  1.5 hrs
  Calgary  606km  7.5 hrs
  Revelstoke  198km  3 hrs
  Spokane  308km  4 hrs
  Trail  139km  2 hrs
  Vancouver  754km  9 hrs
To Kootenay Bay
  Cranbrook  182km  2.5 hrs
  Crawford Bay  4.5km  5 min
  Creston  81km  1.25 hrs
  Fernie  278km  3.5 hrs




Glaicer Cab Company shuttles people around Nelson and up and down Kootenay Lake. They can be reached at 250-354-1111.

By Plane

Kaslo and Nelson each have a local airport. CastlegarTrail, and Cranbrook have regional airports which can reach international airports in Vancouver, Calgary and more.  

For more information on each airport and the services they provide please visit our page dedicated to Airports.

Castlegar Airport to Nelson

There are several ways you can get from the Castlegar Airport to Nelson. 

By Bus


Kaslo/Nelson to Vancouver

  • Mountain Man Mike's is offering shuttles to and from Kaslo and Vancouver (with stops along the way).

Kaslo/Nelson to Calgary

  • Mountain Man Mike's is offering shuttles to and from Kaslo and Calgary (with stops along the way).

Whitewater Ski Resort Shuttle

The Whitewater Ski Resort Shuttle offers slopefront service every day! With daily operation throughout the season, multiple pick up/drop off points throughout Nelson, and pickups timed to get you to the mountain on time for first chair, getting to Whitewater has never been so easy! Visit Whitewater's website for details on rates, shuttle times and pickup locations.

Spokane Airport Shuttle (Winter Only)

Spokane International Airport is located 250km south of Nelson and services a variety of airlines with daily flights to major US cities. Driving from Spokane airport to Nelson takes approx 3.5 to 4.5 hrs depending on driving conditions, route, and border crossing times. Kootenay Gateway runs charters, as well as daily winter service. 

International Selkirk Loop 

Travelling between the USA and Canada is welcomed by all travellers. The International Selkirk Loop hosts a website, mobile app, and travel guide to help you travel around Washington, Idaho and British Columbia. If you want to just travel in Canada, they have lots of information on travel loops.

By Rideshare

Poparide is a reputable rideshare service that connects drivers with passengers looking for an affordable, easy and convenient way of travelling between cities throughout Canada. Check out their website for more information.

The Region

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Read our visitors guide online or order a copy of the official visitor's guide and map for our region.