Cycle Quiet, Well-Maintained Highways Along Kootenay Lake
If you’re a road cycling enthusiast, you know how precious kilometre after kilometre of well-maintained roads with low traffic can be. The Nelson and Kootenay Lake region has several road cycling routes that take you along highways and roads through some of the most gorgeous scenery you’ll ever experience. It often feels remote, and yet there are ample cafes, rest stops and accommodations along the routes, making for a memorable road cycling experience.
Road Cycling Routes
From leisurely half-day rides to epic multi-day loops, the Nelson and Kootenay Lake region has no shortage of captivating cycling routes. Road cyclists will love the smoothly paved winding waterfront roads and well-placed cafes, while those on gravel grinders or hybrids can choose from multiple rail trails and quiet backcountry roads. Our rides cater to all styles of riders. What's your preference?
Rides and descriptions courtesy of Kootenay Cycling Adventures and Gerick Cycle and Ski.
- Harrop to Procter | 8km each way.
Park at the Harrop/Procter ferry landing, just east of Kokanee Creek Provincial Park. Enjoy a free ferry and quiet ride along a gentle, rural road to the small community of Procter.
- Great Northern Rail Trail | The entire trail is 49 km but turn around anytime to choose your own distance.
Cross beautiful wood trestles up to Cottonwood Lake or down to Kootenay Lake. Gentle grades, a wide trail and shady forest invites cyclists to linger.
- North Shore | 10-140km
Head out over BOB (Big Orange Bridge) for a quick pedal or a longer ride along the rolling North Shore of the West Arm of Kootenay Lake.
- Nelson to Procter | 70km (return)
Same departure as the North Shore ride but hang a right over the Harrop-Proctor cable ferry for some super quiet country roads on the South Shore of the West Arm.
- Blewett Return | 40km
Heading west from Nelson, ride along a couple of beautiful country roads through Blewett out to the last bridge over the canal and back. Add on an extra 10km round trip along the paved portion of the Slocan Valley Rail Trail and for a caffeine and calorie hit at Frog Peak Cafe.
- Kootenay Bay to Kimberley Connector | 8km
Part of The Great Trail on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake. This section of the trail goes through the community of Crawford Bay and is on paved roads. The trail continues to Gray Creek and then heads East if you are on a gravel bike and want to keep the adventure going.
- Nelson to Kaslo | 69km each way
Cycle along the shores of Kootenay Lake and relax over lunch in spectacular Kaslo on the water. First half of the ride from Nelson is relatively flat, with moderate traffic, while the second half provides more challenging climbs, bigger scenery, and quieter roads.
- Kaslo to Meadow Creek | 39km each way
The northern end of Kootenay Lake is one of the most spectacular out and backs you’ll ever ride. A challenging climb out of Kaslo is followed by rolling hills until the flat and wide open glacier capped vistas that await in Meadow Creek.
- Nelson to Salmo | 80km (return)
A less busy highway than the North shore but definitely a little more climbing. Ymir has a great little bakery for a nibble, while Salmo has a tasty cafe on the main street.
- Bombi Loop | 130 km
The famed route of the Gericks Team Time Trial. Leave Nelson riding backroads to Castlegar, over the Bombi pass to Salmo and back to Nelson.
- Kootenay Bay to Creston | 80.4km
This might just be the most spectacular road biking day trip in Canada. The road along the south arm of Kootenay Lake is pure bliss – rolling hills, winding turns, and huge views across the water to snow capped peaks.
Multiple Day Rides
- Kokanee Glacier (Silver Triangle) Loop | 217km, 2000m elevation gain
This one has it all! Charming small towns, mountains, lakes, rivers, quiet roads, and even a beautiful rail trail. 3 days is ideal for average daily distance of 70km, with overnights in Kaslo and New Denver, Silverton or the Slocan Valley.
- Salmo-Creston Loop | 250km, 2400m elevation gain
Challenge yourself on Canada's highest four season highway (Kootenay Pass) and enjoy spectacular vistas on the southern part of Kootenay Lake.
- Nelson & Trout Lake Loop | 405km, 3650m elevation gain
Pack your bags and get ready for a taste of BC’s legendary wilderness on this epic 400km ride. 5 days is ideal to savour the scenery, with overnights in Kaslo, Trout Lake, Nakusp and the Slocan Valley. Stunning campsites or a variety of accommodations are available on the route. Light touring bikes are ideal to handle rail trails and the packed dirt section between Meadow Creek and Trout Lake (approximately 70km)
Kootenay Cycling Adventures
Kootenay Cycling Adventures offers fully supported and self-supported road biking tours in the region. The signature "West Koot Loop" tour covers 218km over 3 days and includes all accommodations and meals, with overnight stays in Kaslo and Nakusp.
High quality road and touring bicycles are available to rent. With a magical combination of quiet roads, genuine mountain towns, spectacular scenery and delicious culinary creations, a cycling trip to the West Kootenays deserves to be on your bucket list!
Nelson and Kaslo are Bike Friendly Towns
We know how important it is for road cyclists to feel that they’re in a bike friendly town. Nelson has many bike shops that will help you with all that you need, and many of our places to stay are very bike friendly. All the transit buses and ferries accommodate cyclists, and the highways are mostly wide and well maintained. There is very little traffic along our highways, and our back roads are extremely quiet.
MSBike West Kootenay Challenge
We can’t wait to welcome you. The MS Bike West Kootenay Challenge, which began in 2011, is now a signature event that has gotten rave reviews from many who have taken on the challenge. The two-day MS Bike tour around Kootenay Lake features different routes each year to keep things exciting.
Read our visitors guide online or order a copy of the official visitor's guide and map for our region.