There is much to see in the Kootenay Lake Valley. Whether it’s a drive down the lake to Creston or a ferry ride across the lake, or perhaps something more local, there is no shortage of sights to take in. Here are a few suggestions for you:
Explore the major creeks north of Riondel. When the spring run off is happening they become foaming torrents, complete with thunderous falls and mist. Truly an amazing spectacle of nature’s force. Read John Smith’s story, “The Creeks are Rising,” for a guided tour.
Find serenity at the Yasodhara Ashram, with it’s extensive grounds, bookstore and Temple.
Take a journey through the past at the Riondel Museum. In Crawford Bay visit the Harrison Memorial Church and take the Wedgwood Manor Tour. Not far from Kootenay Bay are the Pilot Bay Smelter ruins and Lighthouse; Pilot Bay was the site of a thriving town 100 years ago.
Take the Gray Creek Service Road into the high country, where you can visit a mountain lake and alpine flower meadows with only a short walk from your car. Continue on over the mountain pass and visit the Bavarian style towns of Saint Marys and Kimberley in the East Kootenays.
Treat yourself to Artdrive, the longest linear gallery in the world! From Creston to Riondel feast your eyes on the works of the area’s many talented artists.
No east shore sightseeing excursion is complete without visiting Crawford Bay’s Artisans shops; watch broom makers, weavers, potters, glass blowers, copper enamel artists, doll makers, iron workers and jewelery makers craft their wares in their open studios and galleries.
Go for a Garden Tour in Riondel, where you’ll find a bushel of enthusiastic green thumbs and admire their many outstanding gardens.
Visit The Glass House in Boswell, a one-of-a-kind building; it’s walls are made completely of embalming fluid bottles! Something novel you just have to see for yourself, it’s been featured on CBC Radio’s Basic Black show, by host Arthur Black.
Go for a ride on the world’s longest free ferry ride, and don’t forget to take your camera!
The Gray Creek Pass forestry road to Kimberley
This 85 kilometre scenic back road to the east Kootenays turns off highway 3A at Gray Creek, 20 minutes drive south of the Kootenay Lake Ferry. The Oliver Road turn-off is just a stone’s throw south of the Gray Creek Store, but you can also turn east on Anderson Road, one kilometre south of the store. Both roads meet at a bridge; from here all traffic must continue up a series of switchbacks on Anderson Road, staying on the south of the river. The Gray Creek Forest Service road begins on a sweeping right-hand corner at 1.3 km. (you will see a red stop sign on your left).
Please take time to read the warning signs before proceeding. In the first 15 km. of this trip you will ascend to 2028 meters to the summit of the Purcell Mountains. The route, which can have snow even in August, includes numerous corners and grades of up to 14 percent. There are no emergency services. Travel slowly – this is not a short-cut to the hardtop.
The Gray Creek Forest Service Road offers opportunities for alpine hiking, wildlife viewing, creek fishing, huckleberry picking, picnicking, and photography at numerous spots along the way. Look for Oliver Lake, just before the pass. The forest service has provided picnic tables here, and there is a trail that takes you around the lake. This is a summer road only, usual open from July to October. Look at the map to the right to see how to get there.