Visitor

The first aboriginal inhabitants subsisted on the berries, roots, fish and game prevalent here. The Ktunaxa natives, after who the region is named, came to the lake area seasonally to fish, harvest berries and trade with neighboring tribes, before returning to their settlements in the flatter lands to the south, in the vicinity of Creston and northern Idaho.

The area’s remoteness and rugged terrain kept it largely undeveloped until the early 1900’s, when silver discoveries brought in many prospectors and entrepreneurs. After the boom ended, an influx of orchardists came for the mild climate and excellent farming conditions. Over the last forty or so years the area’s population has been slowly but steadily increasing, as more individuals discover it’s unique mix of wilderness and culture. Today, a vibrant community echoes the vigor and diversity of the landscape, with many small businesses and artisans thriving in the natural splendor. There is much to see, do, and enjoy here in the Kootenays!

Within a few kilometers you will find hiking trails, horseback riding, golfing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling and of course, unlimited opportunities for photography! Visit a Tipi Camp nature retreat, the historic Pilot Bay Lighthouse, the Artisans of Crawford Bay or the old mining town of Riondel.

Within an hours drive is a spectacular wetlands bird sanctuary with it’s miles of trails, and the town of Creston. Or head across the lake on the world’s longest free ferry ride and visit the towns of Balfour, Ainsworth Hotsprings, Kaslo and Nelson. Kaslo has a fascinating museum located in an old lake sternwheeler, the SS Moyie. Nelson, the queen city of the Kootenays, teems with heritage buildings and is considered one of North America’s best small arts towns. There are also many fine Provincial Parks around the Kootenay Lake area.

Helpful links when planning your trip to the Kootenays: Chamber of Commerce, Kootenay Lake Visitor’s Guide, Tourism B.C., International Selkirk Loop

There is also a webcam on the east shore put up by ESIS – www.theeastshore.net – check it out.

The Kootenays are a rugged area of tall mountain ranges and numerous lake valleys, formed millions of years ago by geological forces uplifting and folding what was once a shallow inland sea.

Kootenay Lake, carved out by ice age floes and flanked by the still glacial capped Purcell and Selkirk mountain ranges, lies at the heart of this awe inspiring area. The lake is 90 miles long and 3 miles across at it’s widest point and is one of the largest bodies of fresh water in southern British Columbia. Mild onshore Pacific air flows, tempered by the large volume of water in Kootenay Lake give the area a moderate marine climate. Because of it’s distance to major cities and industry, it has remained pure and uncrowded.

The high mountains wring a fair amount of moisture out of the passing weather, fostering the verdant and biologically diverse landscape, and classifying the region as an interior rainforest. The mountainsides are heavily forested in a mix of Douglas Fir, Hemlock and Cedar, and the lake and valley are habitat to a diverse range of plants and animals. The lake and surrounding wetlands support Bald Eagles, Osprey, Red Tailed Hawks and Owls as well as a myriad of water fowl and songbirds. The forests host Elk, Whitetail and Mule Deer, Rocky Mountain Sheep, Black Beers, Cougar, Lynx, and many other animals, while the lake is home to Dolly Varden, Kokanee Salmon (a land locked Chinook), Sturgeon and the world famous Gerrard Rainbow Trout among others.

Artisan Shops

Barefoot Handweaving

Breathless Glass

Fireworks Copper & Glass

North Woven Broom

The Barn

The Kootenay Forge

The Purple Door

Sacred Journey

Attractions

The Glass House

Ainsworth Hot Springs

Boating

Lakeview Marina

Heritage Boat Tours

Caving

Cody Caves Provincial Park

Fishing

Split-Shot Charter

Golfing

Kokanee Springs

Riondel Golf Course

Sunny Woods Farm – mini golf

Balfour Golf Course

Creston Golf Course

History

Creston Museum

Nelson Museum

Riondel Museum

SS Moyie