Kayaking, SUP, Canoeing and Windsurfing on and Around Kootenay Lake
Kootenay Lake is an ideal lake for paddling. As the fifth largest lake in British Columbia (407 sq km), there are several great places along the lake to rent SUP boards as well as kayaks. Nelson, Balfour, Kaslo, North Kootenay Lake and along the East Shore are great bases from which to explore.
Travellers can bring their own gear or join a guided tour with a local operator. Kaslo Adventure Centre runs a variety of tours and has rentals downtown Kaslo. Hellman Canoe and Kayak also has a well-stocked retail store and specializes in kayak, canoe and stand up paddle board (SUP) rentals all year round. At Rotary Lakeside Park through the summer months, the Nelson and District Community Complex rents kayaks and SUP boards by the hour, while Nelson Paddleboard & Kayak Rentals is on site at the Prestige Lakeside Resort. For power boating options, check out Nelson Boat Rentals.
Where should you paddle in Nelson once you're ready to go? It's really easy to start from either the Prestige Hotel or Rotary Lakeside Park and paddle along the lake for a few hours. There are secluded beaches where you can stop for lunch or a swim break, or you can lunch at Lakeside Park at the Rose Garden Cafe. Either choice has benefits. The Rose Garden Cafe is an adorable Lakeside tradition, near the trolley car stop and the playground. They serve almost exclusively locally sourced foods and many of the choices are organic.
If you choose to paddle along the lake you'll pass some lovely waterfront homes as you travel away from Nelson, under the big orange bridge. Without having to cross to the other side of the lake, you have a few choices of sandy beaches along the way that you can stop and rest and have a nice picnic lunch on. They are fairly visible from your craft, and all are easy to access.
If you paddle further, about an hour out of town, Troupe beach is a popular boat-access beach that is actually a large sandbar that goes straight into the middle of the lake. On weekends, this beach can be quite popular.