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.
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.
The village of Kaslo is set at the junction of Highway #31/31A, and has many restored 19th century buildings. A must-see is the SS Moyie, the world’s oldest intact passenger sternwheeler – and a National Historic Site.
For a detour, follow Hwy #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.
Head west on H#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. The Idaho Peak and the Kaslo & Slocan Railway Historic Trail, which weaves past historic mine shafts, begin from Sandon.
A short drive from Sandon is New Denver, another former silver boomtown turned ghost town, and Silverton. Relive the silver mining rush at the Silvery Slocan Museum and the Silverton Historical Society and Interpretive Centre, or learn about Japanese Canadians during World War II in BC at Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre.
Spend time exploring and enjoy the rest of the beautiful Slocan Valley. Valhalla Provincial Park and Slocan Lake are two scenic rest stops, situated near the village of Slocan. (Hwy #6 gives access to Valhalla Provincial Park.)