By Road – Highway 3A – Try Kootenay Rideshare
Kootenay Lake and surrounding mountainsides have long been natural challenges for road building. Creston to Gray Creek was completed in 1931 with the extension to Kootenay Bay finished 1947. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that a paved road went all the way to Riondel from Creston. Prior to completion, the communities relied on sternwheelers plying the lake waters for goods and transportation. While our remote setting has kept it pristine, highways make it easy to enjoy and a free ferry joins both sides of the lake.
By road, we’re 3 hours from Spokane, Washington, a 6.5 – 7 hour drive from Calgary, Alberta, and 9 – 10 hours from Vancouver, B.C. The nearest cities are Nelson, about an hour to the west, and Creston, just a little more than 1 hour south of Kootenay Bay ferry landing. In wintertime you can expect snowy conditions along parts of the route, and you can check the road conditions at the BC Highway Report web site.
From Spokane or Coeur d’Alene: Travel to Sandpoint, Idaho. Then take I-95 north to Highway 1 and enter Canada at the Porthill border crossing. A one and a quarter hour scenic drive north along highway 3A takes you through Crawford Bay and to the Kootenay Bay ferry landing. See our US Visitors page for details about the border crossing. Continue on and do the International Selkirk Loop.
From Calgary, travel to Cranbrook, B.C. via the Radium Highway (93) through Banff National Park or via the Crowsnest Pass (3). From Cranbrook take highway 3 to Creston and from there take the scenic highway 3A north.
From Vancouver: Take Hwy 3 to Trail, then take Hwy 22 north to Castlegar and on to Hwy 3A through Nelson continuing north to Balfour where you take a ferry ride on the Osprey 2000 to Kootenay Bay. Visit the Kootenay Lake Ferry Schedule & Kootenay Bay Ferry Landing Webcam page to check out the traffic. There is a local bus schedule from Nelson to the ferry landing.