All Roads Lead to Nelson Kootenay Lake

There are many roads that allow you to access this region. Details on how to get here and travel times are all on our Getting Here page.

International Travel

Nelson and the Kootenay Lake area is a short hop north of the US border, making it an easy trip from Idaho and eastern Washington.

The International Selkirk Loop is a partnership between the regions to encourage cross border tourism.

Crossing an international border requires you to have the proper identification, know their hours of operation, and know the regulations around what you can and can’t bring into each country. Make sure to check the detailed information provided by both governments.


There are three main border crossing points:

Dangerous Goods Travel Restrictions

Transport Canada Safety Regulations restrict the transport of dangerous goods on inland ferries. 

Driving the Roads to and from Kootenay Lake

Driving conditions vary with the season and with the weather. Always check before you head out, especially in inclement weather - is a great resource. There are webcams of the Southern Interior that provide an accurate visual of ferry lineups, highway traffic and closures.

Roads are well maintained and traffic is normally light on our highways. Nelson is located at the cross section of Highways 3 and 6, with Highway 3 leading directly through downtown and continuing on along Kootenay Lake toward Kaslo.


CP Rail runs through Nelson twice daily, transporting cargo, but unfortunately not passengers. The train is a Canadian icon, symbolizing travel across our vast nation, connecting communities, recognizing the past and the years of growth and prosperity that came along with the rail lines. You can find out more about CP Rail on their Community website. Learn things like: How many times do they blow the horn at each crossing?

Amtrak offers a daily train through northwest USA. The closest station is in Sandpoint, 3 hours by car from Nelson. 

The Region

Newsletter Subscribe
Travel Book


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