5 Hidden Gems Around Kootenay Lake

5 Hidden Gems Around Kootenay Lake

If you’re dreaming of your next road trip to the Nelson and Kootenay Lake region, and are in the mood for exploring some unique heritage and culture spots, here’s our top five spots bursting with hidden gems.


Take the scenic route, from Creston on Highway 3A, along the winding shoreline of the beautiful East Shore of Kootenay Lake. You’ll pass through the quirky communities of Wynndel and Sirdar, where you can stop at the Sirdar Station Pub for a game of crib and food and drinks. No need to ask for a crib set, as you’ll see the bar top is one very large board! Back on the road, you’ll soon come across our first gem - The Glass House. This kooky roadside house was made from over half a million discarded embalming fluid bottles, by David H. Brown - a retired undertaker, in the 1950s. Take a tour of this unusual cloverleaf shaped house and enchanted gardens, with excellent views of the lake, from May to September.


As you journey along Highway 3A you’ll find the thriving artistic community of Crawford Bay. Despite only having 350 inhabitants, this talented group of artisans have some unique studios and workshops to explore. You’ll find North Woven Broom Co and Dog Patch Pottery, as well as Fireworks Glass & Copper at Forge & Furnace Gallery and Barefoot Handweaving. There’s so much more, all within easy walking distance of each other, and it is well worth a stop and see these artisans at work. If all that shopping has worked up an appetite stop at Red’s Bakery for freshly baked goods, or Black Salt Cafe for a delicious organic lunch. Ladybug Cafe at the ferry landing serves up tasty food and drinks before getting on the free ferry from Kootenay Bay to Balfour.


Once you’ve disembarked the ferry in Balfour, be sure to visit the quaint St. Michaels and All Angels Chapel. It’s one of the oldest, timber framed buildings in our Kootenay Lake region. Built back in 1892, this pretty pale blue painted church served the parish for 128 years. Today, it’s under renovation and is penned to stay in the heart of the community as a performance centre. 


After heading north to the charming Village of Kaslo, it’s worth a stop at the Langham Cultural Centre. The 120 year old Langham building, a Provincial Heritage Site, is worth visiting alone for the distinctive architecture. But inside you’ll find 3 galleries alive with images that tell stories of the past, as well as a chance to reflect on the darker side of Kaslo in the Japanese Canadian Museum. Today there’s a lively events calendar filled with music, exhibitions, artist talks, and theatre programming. Also, why not explore Kaslo’s rich mining heritage at The Kootenay Star Mining Museum? If all that history left you hankering for something sweet, just pop upstairs to Teresa’s for a piece of her famous pie.


Travel south along Kootenay Lake to our final spot - Nelson, where you’ll find so much to see and do. Home to the Nelson International Mural Festival, there’s many amazing murals to discover along secluded streets and unprepossessing alleyways. Download the Kootenay Lake Road Trip App and enjoy our self-guided audio Mural Tour. By experiencing this tour you will learn about each mural, right as you're standing in front of it, from the artist’s intentions to its sometimes surprising subject. While exploring Nelson, why not drop in at one of the studios of the ÉCONOMUSÉE artisans? From a hat maker, artisan baker to a secluded garden pottery studio, there’s so much artistic talent hidden around Nelson.

After all that awesome exploring, check out our region’s places to eat and stay and to chill and relax.  #findingawesome

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