BC’s West Kootenays is the perfect destination for anyone who enjoys a slower pace of life. This laid-back area is tucked away from larger centres, close to mountains that call to bikers and hikers—and to skiers in the winter months—and to narrow lakes perfect for paddling. Discover unique mountain culture in small towns full of warm, friendly people.
In winter, follow the stretch of road known as the Powder Highway to experience dry, fluffy snow at resorts like Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Whitewater Ski Resort in Nelson. And take advantage of the best deal in town at RED Mountain Resort, where you can try cat-skiing for a mere $10.
In summer, head to Kootenay Lake and visit communities with rich local histories and vibrant arts scenes. Then get out and enjoy nature: hike and bike in old-growth cedar forests, relax in natural hot springs, go underground at Cody Caves Provincial Park, and get wet in lakes and rivers on a paddling, fishing, or whitewater rafting adventure. Don’t miss the excellent 360-degree vista views and easy hiking trails, including Idaho Peak, in the Selkirk Mountains near New Denver.
Each community in the Kootenays has its own unique story to tell. The historic downtown of Revelstoke has retained many of its original, early-20th century buildings. The Explorer Society Hotel a here is a stand-out, as is the Sutton Place Hotel at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. The artsy community of Nelson boasts more than 350 heritage buildings, including the historic Hume Hotel & Spa, which first opened in 1898. Rossland’s RED Mountain Resort offers on-mountain accommodation including the brand new Josie Hotel.
Other communities offering both accommodation and charm include the picture-perfect village of Kaslo, and the cities of Castlegar and Trail, set along the Columbia River.
Even though there are no major urban centres here, the West Kootenays—and the adjacent Canadian Rockies—are highly accessible. To get to Revelstoke or Rossland, fly into the Kelowna International Airport. Alternatively, fly into the Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook or the West Kootenay Regional Airport in Castlegar. Vehicle rentals are available at all three. And in the winter months, charter flights are available between Vancouver and Revelstoke.
Where should you go for a scenic drive in British Columbia? Here are some spectacular 150-kilometre (93-mile) stretches.
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