Breathe Deeply on Kootenay Lake

Imagine a place where nature feeds your body and soul, where clean air encourages outdoor recreation, and where fresh flavours delight the senses.

Photo courtesy of Kari Medig

This is a place where the mountains meet the water, where glaciers feed crisp alpine rivers, and rare inland temperate rainforests purify the air. It’s a place where the people live closely with the land, fostering a contagious passion for outdoor activities, and where cultural expression, entrepreneurial spirit and an appreciation for locally crafted tastes are celebrated.

Located halfway between Calgary and Vancouver, the Nelson and Kootenay Lake region rewards visitors keen to travel further afield in search of inspiration, great taste and adventure. Breathe deeply; there’s a lot to take in.

Creativity and entrepreneurship are celebrated in the communities along Kootenay Lake. Nelson boasts extensive outdoor art installations, colourful back alley murals, and multiple galleries and artisans. The local passion for high quality gear, curated finds, and hand-crafted designs is reflected in the many independent owned and operated boutique shops in the historic downtown. The artist community of Balfour includes potters, blacksmiths and woodworkers. Further up the lake in Kaslo, you’ll discover artwork, photography, clothing and handmade items along historic Main Street that showcase the local mountain culture.

Photo courtesy of Dave Heath

History buffs will marvel at Nelson’s impressive Victorian-era architectural heritage. Historic Baker Street is a lively combination of big-city feel and small town charm overlooking the water. Local history has been proudly preserved, with an electric streetcar along the waterfront, a modern museum at Touchstones Nelson, and dozens of well maintained heritage buildings throughout the downtown and beyond. In Kaslo, don’t miss the impressive SS Moyie sternwheeler and elegant City Hall, both National Historic Sites.

An appreciation for good food and true local flavour runs deep. Visiting one of the many farmers markets during the spring and summer offers the chance to meet the makers and taste their harvest. Canada’s largest independent member owned natural food store, the Kootenay Co-Op,  is a proud supporter of organic and locally cultivated food. A long growing season and demand for locally grown produce means that you’ll find a bounty of fresh ingredients on your plate or in your picnic basket, including various fruits, veggies, and baked goods.

Trained chefs from the local college and abroad are bringing new ideas and global tastes to the food scene, creating delicious dishes that are a feast for the senses. The result is a fusion of flavours, ranging from Mexican to South Indian, Canadian Bistro to BBQ, Middle Eastern to Tapas, and Italian to Irish. A passion for healthy food and independent character is also reflected in the large number of artisan sourdough bakeries, craft breweries and coffee roasters in Nelson and Kaslo.

With crystal clear lakes and rivers, richly forested landscapes, and long warm summers, it’s little wonder that the region is an outdoor recreational paradise. Steep slopes and an intricate trail network creates world class mountain biking, and road cyclists will love the quiet waterfront roads. Alpine trails and provincial parks are a hiking paradise, while water sports including whitewater rafting, paddling, swimming and fishing are a summer staple.

From independent restaurants to boutique stores, and a network of recreational trails to watersport activities, you’ll find plenty of opportunities that will take your breath away in the Kootenay Lake region.


Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism
101A 310 Ward Street
Nelson, BC


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