A Must-Ride Destination
The Nelson and Kootenay Lake region offers superb riding, both on and off-road. Whichever direction calls to you there are many points to hop on or off to visit magical destinations and explore places to eat, drink and shop. Towns in this neck of B.C. are spread out, but there’s lots of opportunities for fuel, food, and lodging.
Speed Limits and Bylaws
Please respect the speed limits (80km/hr outside municipalities and 50km/hr within municipalities) and noise bylaws (can not exceed 60 dBA/dBC daytime and 50 dBA/dBC nighttime). We all love this area and want to keep it our little, peaceful piece of heaven.
Riders Paradise along Kootenay Lake
With winding roads boasting impressive scenery, Kootenay Lake is a must-ride destination for motorcycle touring, with some of the best motorcycling roads in B.C. and feature many opportunities to stop off for a bite to eat and visit charming towns and communities. The roads around Kootenay Lake have recently been highlighted in an article from The Globe and Mail - "Explore B.C.'s Interior on a twisty tour around Kootenay Lake" and Riderswest, “Riding B.C.’s hidden motorcycle paradise”. Some of the most popular rides include the route along the East Shore of Kootenay Lake on Highway 3A - it has been rated the best motorcycling road in British Columbia by Destination Highways.
Routes & Maps
Planning a trip or looking to connect with likeminded people? Adventure is for everyone with Ride the Kootenays, a group based in Nelson, B.C., promoting motorcycle tourism of all kinds and offering riders info on where to sleep, eat, drink and shop.
Take a look at some of the maps below from Ride the Kootenays. There are waypoints for camping, fuel, beer, motels, motorcycle shops, food, and cool places to see along the way. The maps are based on the type of riding surface and colour-coded for your convenience. Green is paved, Blue is unpaved, and red is either unpaved, more technical, or has something on it that may be trickier for some rider/bike combinations. Always ride what you’re comfortable with.
- GLACIER ROUTE: Riding the loop around the Kokanee Park is a must do! Travelling through Nelson, Balfour, Kaslo, New Denver and through the Slocan Valley. It has some of the most flowy twisties anywhere.
- KOOTENAY FUEL STATIONS: It’s sorta one of those things. If you travel around, you need gas. And when you need it, you really need it! Here’s a map of some of the places to get fuel in the Kootenays.
- KOOTENAY REC SITES: One awesome part of travelling in the Kootenay region is the abundance of Recreational Sites to camp at!
- KOOTENAY PASS LOOP ROUTE: A paved, smooth, flowy cruise, it takes the rider through some spectacular scenery along the North Shore of Kootenay lake, across the longest free ferry in the world, through the twisties on the East shore, and over the highest year-round open pass in Canada. Read More »
- TROUT LAKE LOOP: Discover the Kootenays on a breathtakingly picturesque circle motorcycle tour through the heart of the Selkirks, a 390-kilometre loop that starts and ends in Nelson, B.C., with stops in New Denver, Nakusp and Kaslo. Read More »
- BUCHANAN LOOKOUT: The Buchanan Lookout stands tall at 1,912 m (6,272 Ft) and offers stunning views of the Kootenay Lake, Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, Goat Range Provincial Park and the Purcell Mountains. Read More »
- GRAY CREEK PASS: The climb to Gray Creek Pass is 5,000 ft of elevation gain in 16.5 km making it the highest dirt road in Canada! Read More »
Motorcycle shop in Nelson
Visit our local motorcycle shop, Main Jet Motorsports in Nelson B.C., and chat with the team there for information on where to ride, road conditions and get your bike all ready for your trip.
Motorcycle Touring — Kootenay Lake Self Guided Tours
Explore the Nelson and Kootenay Lake region by motorcycle with one of the following self-guided tours:
- Kootenay Rockies Circle Routes
- The Silvery Slocan Valley Loop
- The International Selkirk Loop
- The West Kootenay Corridor Loop
- The Powder Highway Loop
Kootenay Lake Weather and Road Conditions
Riding conditions are typically fine from April to November, but be sure to check road conditions before travelling in the cooler months when roads are less preferred for motorcycle travelling. For specific motorcycle camping and cabin rentals be sure to stop at Toad Rock Motorcycle Campground just north of Balfour. There are an abundance of accommodations through out the region - from cozy and quaint to luxurious. For more details about the area and what to do stop by one of our Visitor Centres.
Most roads have well maintained surfaces, great visibility and many passing areas. There are also many opportunities to stop off for a bite to eat and visit charming towns and communities. Early spring and fall can be a bit chilly, and the best months for riding are May through October.
Read our visitors guide online or order a copy of the official visitor's guide and map for our region.