Silvery Slocan Circle Route

1 to 3 days, 226.66 km (140.84 mi)

Travel through the Slocan Valley to discover heritage buildings and museums, hot springs with caves, and Sandon, a historic ghost town.

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Part 1


Begin in Nelson. This historic city got its start in silver mining, but its thriving arts scene is a big lure for visitors today. Explore the town on a heritage walking tour, stop in at local galleries and studios, and learn about Nelson’s past at the Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History. Follow Highway 3A/31 (Balfour-Kaslo-Galena Bay Highway) north.

Downtown Nelson | Kari Medig

Downtown Nelson | Kari Medig

Part 2

Ainsworth Hot Springs

Continue north on Highway 3A along the west arm of Kootenay Lake to Ainsworth Hot Springs for a soak in mineral-rich waters. The steamy, horseshoe-shaped cave is a unique feature of the hot springs. A spa and overnight accommodation are also found on site.

Ainsworth Hot Springs | Kari Medig

Ainsworth Hot Springs | Kari Medig

Part 3

Kaslo and Kootenay Lake

The village of Kaslo, set at the junction of Highway 31/31A, has many restored 19th century buildings. The S.S. Moyie, the world’s oldest intact passenger sternwheeler (and a national historic site), is a must-see attraction.

Downtown Kaslo | David Gluns

Downtown Kaslo | David Gluns

For a detour, follow Highway 31 north along Kootenay Lake, which passes by the village of Howser, Trout Lake, and Goat Range Provincial Park. Caution: Highway 31 turns into a gravel road.

Part 4


Head west on Highway 31A to the ghost town of Sandon. The old buildings and artifacts create an unusual (and interesting) place to poke around and unearth its silvery past. Idaho Peak and the Kaslo & Sandon Rail Trail, which weaves past historic mine shafts, begin from Sandon.

Sandon | David Gluns

Sandon | David Gluns

Part 5

New Denver and Silverton

A short drive from Sandon is New Denver, another former silver boomtown, and Silverton. Relive the silver mining rush at the Silvery Slocan Museum and the Silverton Gallery, or learn about the unjust imprisonment of Japanese Canadians during World War II in BC at Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre.

Valhalla Provincial Park | Kari Medig

Valhalla Provincial Park | Kari Medig

Spend time exploring and enjoy the rest of the beautiful Slocan Valley. Relax along the shores of Slocan Lake, or find a challenging backcountry experience in nearby Valhalla Provincial Park. (Highway 6 provides access to Valhalla.)

Driving Directions

Part 1 - Vancouver
  • 6.25 km
  • 12 min
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