With its many parks and wilderness areas the lake valley is one super-natural playground. The many back roads and mountain trails present bountiful opportunities for hiking, biking, enjoying alpine flowers, or gathering delicious wild huckleberries and scenic vistas. Check out Pilot Point Lighthouse for some great views of the lake. You can touch a vestige of the ice age at Kokanee Glacier Park, or walk alongside a roaring cascade at one of the area’s many large creeks. Ask the locals about their favourite places go get away from it all.
Opportunities abound for wildlife viewing throughout the valley. Watch for the rare wild turkeys, or abundant osprey. The wetlands in Crawford Bay teem with birdlife, and at the south end of the lake the Creston Wildlife Management Area is host to over 250 species of birds, 50 of mammals and 30 of fish, reptiles and amphibians. Keep your eyes open and perhaps you’ll spot a lake otter, moose, elk, bear, coyote, bighorn sheep or maybe even a cougar. Deer are abundant here, so be aware that you may encounter one or more around the next corner, and please drive appropriately.
Down at the lake the many remote shores invite soaking up sunshine while relaxing to the sound of waves gently caressing the shore, or perhaps a little fishing for supper. Ask one of the locals about the area’s clothing optional beaches. The clear, sparkling clean waters make for great swimming, snorkelling and diving. It’s a boater’s paradise with it’s expansive and uncrowded reaches, and the many miles of uninhabited shore make for great kayaking and wilderness camping. Treat yourself to a guided tour of Kootenay Lake.
There are many campgrounds where you can make yourself at home by the lake, creeks or in the forests of the area. From out-of-the-way marine parks to fully serviced RV sites, you’ll find something to satisfy your needs.
Spend some time at one of our B&B’s and at the local restaurants and cafes and get to know the locals. They’re a relaxed and open lot, easy to approach and quick to start up a conversation.
Enjoy sports? You can join in the our local pickup soccer game, every Sunday at noon at the Crawford Bay Park. It’s a local pastime that’s been carried on for more than twenty years, and everyone is welcome. Tennis courts are available to the public at the Crawford Bay School. And kids of all ages like a round or two of mini golf at Sunny Woods Farm. Great bicycling is all around, with rolling highways for the skinny tire set and endless miles of back roads and trails for mountain biking.
Check out our schedule of local events, where you can find out about upcoming music, art, sporting and cultural happenings.
There are several beautiful golf courses or varying sizes in the area, from the extensive Kokanee Springs to Riondel’s 9 hole course.
If sightseeing is your fancy, you won’t want to miss the many artisans in the area. From broom making to glass blowing, weaving to forging, woodworking to potters, there is an amazing diversity of skilled artisans with open shops where you can watch them perform their skills! Other interesting sights include the unique Glass House and the beautiful Yasodhara Ashram, and scenic drives observing the natural treasures all around the lake, or a Heritage Boat Tour of Kootenay Lake!
Pilot Bay Lighthouse
Explore local history at the Riondel Museum, Harrison Memorial Church, Wedgwood Manor, Pilot Bay Lighthouse, the Smelter Bay ruins. Ask Tom at the Gray Creek Store about “The Gold Boulder,” and perhaps he’ll give you some leads on where you might start looking for this elusive legendary treasure. Across the lake you’ll find the fascinating S.S. Moyie Museum in Kaslo, housed in the well-preserved last sternwheeler to ply the lake.
Grab your camera and take in some spectacular views crossing the lake on the world’s longest free ferry ride, where you can get into hot water in the caverns at Ainsworth Hot Springs, or really go underground at nearby Cody Caves Provincial Park. From Balfour it’s a short half hour drive on to Kaslo, or to Nelson.
The clear air and dark night skies make for great for star gazing – how many stars, shooting and otherwise, can you count? When was the last time you really saw the Milky Way stretch across the breadth of the heavens? Don’t miss out on the summer Leonid Meteor Shower! Show your kids some of the constellations you learned as a child, as you share the deepness of the cosmos together.
Develop yourself with educational opportunities at our local personal & spiritual growth retreats, which offer courses in yoga, meditation, connecting with nature and self- awareness.