Kootenay Lake East Shore – Visitor’s Guide web brochure
Kootenay Lake is set against the backdrop of surrounding peaks. Star gazing is spectacular! Clean waters moderate the moist climate summer and winter. Kootenay Lake remains ice-free in winter although glaciers provide views of snow year round.
Need a ride? Try Kootenay Rideshare.
Kootenay Lake lies in the Central Kootenay Region of British Columbia at 530 metres (1736′) above sea level. The Selkirk Mountain range is to the west and the Purcell Mountain range to the east, with peaks ranging from 2100 – 2750 metres (7000′- 9000′) The lake is about 145 km (90 miles) long, and up to 152 meters (500′) deep, with an average width of 4 km (2.5 miles), and is 8 km (5 miles) across at its widest.
The area is categorized as an Interior Rain Belt, and the moderated climate and generous precipitation supports a rich biological diversity. There are wetlands at both ends of the lake and at Crawford Bay, including the 7000 hectare Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, host to over 260 species of migrating and nesting birds – even wild swans and pelicans!
Kootenay lake was formed during the Ice Ages, when glacial advances deposited till to the south, creating the rich farmlands around Creston and large fertile basins to the north. Fed by numerous creeks, Kootenay Lake’s major source of water is the Kootenay River, which originates in the Rocky mountains and passes through Montana and Idaho before emptying into the lake. It is the second largest tributary of the Columbia River.
The lake’s rocky shores encompass hundreds of tiny bays and beaches, intriguing to explore by kayak or canoe. It is not uncommon to find yourself the only boater visible across the lake’s expanse! Kootenay Lake is home to Kokanee salmon (a land-locked sockeye), Sturgeon, Dolly Varden and trout, including the world’s largest species, the Gerrard Rainbow. Approximately half of the lake shore has roads, with the balance being accessible only by boat. Settlements are strung along a thin band where the roads follow the lake shore. Wilderness is always close at hand and human residents share the landscape with large diverse populations of wildlife including, deer, elk, moose, caribou, mountain goat, bears, cougars, wolves and coyotes.
Come experience all of this and more, at the last undeveloped large lake near the USA border.