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Top 10 Things To Do in West Kootenay

Being presented with life’s laundry list of things to do is like staring at a kaleidoscope and trying to pick out a single shape and colour. While our laundry is mighty nice, here we present a little, seasonal list (we’ll try to frequently update) of cool stuff that’s all about living life better, not just more:

Nelson – Baker Street Shopping, Eating, or Other Bemusement

As a June, 2012 TripAdvisor review says: “Very charming street with a good mixture of shopping for tourists and locals. Boutiques, bookstores, coffee shops, restaurants, food co-op, hardware store, and more. We were enchanted….”


“This is a true community of artist and artisans, musicians, farmers, professionals and working class all hanging out together....the street is colourful and alive with real days are those in the summer when every Wednesday the centre block is closed to traffic and opened up for the farmers market.....WOW....the best day of the week!”

Image courtesy: Haus Lemon Creek

Nelson – Whitewater Rafting Co.

Whether it’s rivers wild or scenic float, Nelson Whitewater Rafting will float your boat. The West Kootenay’s premier rafting company, Nelson Whitewater provides transportation to and from downtown Nelson and have three different guided trips to choose from: 1) The thrilling Salmo River from mid-May to mid-July features class 3&4 rapids in a remote canyon setting; 2) The fun and exciting Slocan River in July & August has warm water and grade 2&3 rapids, and 3) A gentle float trip offers a relaxing time on the water with no rapids and beautiful scenery.

For more info visit

Image courtesy: Nelson Whitewater Rafting's Adventures

Castlegar - Golf

Green and 18 holes – that’s everyday fare these days. But when you leave Castlegar, drive up the hill and around the bend into quiet, enclosed mountain valley, and slap that ball down conifer fairway, serenity is an easy pill to swallow. Keep your eye out for the bears….

Score Golf video

For more info visit

Rossland - mountain bike the seven summits trail

A continuous trail, 30.4km in length following a high elevation route along the interconnecting alpine ridges west of Rossland past the peaks of the Rossland Range. Recognized as one of a relatively limited number of Epic trails world-wide by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA).

For more info visit

Image courtesy: Kootenay Columbia Trails Society

Salmo - Shambhala Music Festival – August 10

Call it a celebration of art, music, and life. The Shambhala Music Festival began in the summer of 1998 when approximately 500 people gathered at the Salmo River Ranch. Over the years, the festival grew organically by word of mouth – friends bringing friends to create a community built upon Shambhalove. In 2010, for the first time, the event reached its 10,000 guest capacity. In 2011 the festival saw its first sell-out in advance of gate opening. Online tickets for Shambhala 2012 sold out in just 17 days, in November 2011.

Put it on your calendar for next year.


Image courtesy:

Castlegar – Eat Borscht

The Doukhobors have a long and proud history in the West Kootenay…and so does their food. Try the local fare – Borscht – at Pie in the Sky Restaurant at the West Kootenay Regional Airport, at Weezie's Borscht Hut, Castlegar Borscht Hut, or Village Bistro.

“We offer fresh borscht and other Russian dishes like vareniki and pyrahi,” said Amandeep Bahra, who runs the Castlegar Borscht Hut with her husband Subhag. “Vereniki is like a perogy, while pyrahi is a veggie tart.” The Borscht is made from only the freshest ingredients. “The borscht we make is Doukhobor borscht with all the veggies in it like celery, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, beets, green onion dill, and lots of cream and butter,” said Bahra. Src: Castlegar News

If you’re interested in Russian history in the West Kootenay, visit the Doukhobor Discovery Centre.

Castlegar – Photograph Tulip Creek Falls

Early light or last light captures the magic of water movement. Located in Syringa Provincial Park on Arrow Lakes, the Tulip Creek Falls is an easy 5 minute walk from the parking area.

For more info at

If you’re a photo buff, take a look at the West Kootenay Camera Club.

Image courtesy: Friends of Trails

West Kootenay – Sunrise at Nancy Greene Lake

It’s a small park by provincial park standards (203 hectares), but it packs a Monashee Mountain punch with Nancy Greene Lake – a sub alpine lake. Fish, picnic, walk, swim, boat, or nordic ski (heh if you can cross-country ski in the summer you are a heck of an athlete), but locals say there’s nothing like watching the sunrise over the lake.

The park is located 30 km west of Castlegar just off of Highway 3 near the Highway 3A junction.

For more info visit BC Parks.

Ainsworth Hot Springs – Get Soaked

Three odourless pools, a 150 foot horseshoe cave, a main lounging pool, and a stream-fed cold plunge against a backdrop of the Purcell Mountains and Kootenay Lake. Spaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!


Image courtesy:

Castlegar to Grand Forks – Bike the Columbia and Western Rail Trail

The former Columbia and Western railway extending 150 km between Grand Forks and Castlegar is now a multi-use recreation trail. The trail was upgraded in 2002 and 2004. Christina Lake to Castlegar may be rough in places, but spectacular and well worth the trip. The kilometre-long Bulldog Tunnel requires lights on bikes. There’s no fee, but joining Trails BC helps support the trail. Be bear aware.

For more info: Spirit of 2010 Trail, West Kootenay Parks

Image courtesy: West Kootenay Parks

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