Two hikers on Idaho Peak in the Slocan Valley
(Dave Heath photo)

New Denver


In the heart of the Silvery Slocan, New Denver sits midway along the eastern shore of the 40km/25mi long Slocan Lake.

The skyline in every direction is dominated by the Selkirk Mountains. To the west, the Valhalla Range rises dramatically from the water's edge, its steep slopes suggesting the great depth of the lake. To the east, Idaho Peak (2,331m/7,650ft) presides over the valley, offering sweeping views of Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, the Valhallas, and the entire length of the lake below.

Slocan River

A significant change in landscape occurs at the southern end of the lake. The valley widens as the Slocan River begins its journey through a softer, greener, and more agricultural landscape. Much of this land was cleared by the Doukhobors, Russian immigrants fleeing prosecution in the early 20th century. Later, in the halcyon days of the hippie era, those same valley bottom farms became the stuff of dreams for the "back to the land" movement.

Other than those built by beavers, there are no dams on the Slocan River, which flows approximately 60km/40mi down the valley before joining the Kootenay River midway between Nelson and Castlegar. Community life in the southern part of the valley is focused around the villages of Slocan, Winlaw, and Crescent Valley.

Climate and Weather

With so many microclimates across the length of the valley, it's difficult to describe one particular climate. Slocan Lake has a significant influence on New Denver and Silverton, with summer winds that can sometimes create daunting conditions for paddlers. In winter, meanwhile, the water moderates the temperatures of lakeshore communities.

Temperatures in July and August typically reach 28°C/82°F, while in January, typical lows are around -5°C/23°F. Summer rainfall is sufficient to keep the valley green, while in winter, snowfall accumulation around Slocan Lake is relatively moderate compared with the southern part of the valley.