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, 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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