West Kootenay Towns

The road less travelled leads to … the “Koots”!



Sandon BC, early 1900s.

The West Kootenay is in the mountainous southeastern region of British Columbia, Canada. Several different mountain ranges – the Selkirks, the Valhallas, the Purcells and the Monashees – tower over the rivers and lakes in the valleys below.

The West Kootenay embraces all kinds of folk: hippies, farmers, rednecks, mountaineers, ski-bums, hipster families and retirees – you can feel free to be yourself here. Enjoy the slow pace and friendly nature of small town Kootenay life where the big picture is the grand beauty of wild nature all around you.

West Kootenay communities range in size from the “Queen City” of Nelson, with a population of 10,000, to the unincorporated village of Winlaw in the Slocan Valley, population 300. Nelson and Rossland BC both made the Top 10 list for “British Columbia’s 10 Most Beautiful Towns” in 2015. 

Joes Hawes - Moyie at nightDSC_0981 small

Kaslo BC, photo by Joe Hawes

Each town in the West Kootenay has its own character. Rossland, Castlegar, Trail, Salmo, Nakusp, and Kaslo are just a few that you will want to discover. They are small enough that their residents really do get to know one another, and together the people in each community create a culture that is unique to their time and place. It’s an easy-going familiarity that extends to strangers on the sidewalk. It might take you a day or two to get used to being smiled at or waved to as you stroll along Kootenay Lake beaches in Nelson, or check out Castlegar’s Sculpturewalk or the SS Moyie in Kaslo.

The West Kootenay gives you the best of both worlds: the beauty of wild nature all around you and the friendly nature down in its small towns. Check out the surprising variety of shops and restaurants in each community, then go explore Kokanee Glacier or the old growth at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, fish on Kootenay Lake, or dance in the forest at the Shambhala Music Festival.

Enjoy your stay. We know you will want to return!

Hills to Valley Garden & Art Tour

Hills to Valley Garden & Art Tour

From hill to dale, take in the outstanding gardens, music, art and natural vistas as you tour the communities of Rossland, Warfield, Trail, River- vale, Montrose, Fruitvale and Beaver Valley. This tour can be entirely self-guided (tickets come with a map of all the...

Kaslo May Days 2019

Kaslo May Days 2019

Kaslo is buzzing with the excitement of our May Days celebration. Every year at this time since 1892 our sleepy little town wakes up!The first event to mark the dawn of summer and Queen Victoria's birthday took place one year before the Village of Kaslo was...

Play Inside…Or Out!

Check out Salmo’s new commercial arts and culture centre, the Heritage Hub at 423 Railway Avenue. It’s a showcase for lo- cal talents. The centre includes a unique reclaimed building materials and salvage boutique, tattoo shop and art studio. Another unique purchase...

More About Ymir, BC

The Village of Ymir sits just 12.5 km north of Salmo on Hwy 6. In 1900, Ymir was a bustling mining town and you can still see some of the old mine workings on the hillsides. Today, Ymir is a laid back town and is extremely family friendly. Paragliders enjoy the air...

Yay for May Days!

Since 1911 Beaver Valley residents have entertained themselves and visitors with their May Day Celebration, held the last weekend in May. Beginning on Friday, the ball tournament gets things swing- ing, and the fireworks display in the evening ends the day with a...

The Log School House

Walk inside this tiny (16′x18′) 1914 log schoolhouse and take a look at the fourth R: Restoration. The desks are topped with old-time books and ink wells. You can almost hear the music from the 1885 piano as you gaze at the woollen Union Jack flag sitting in the...

Camping in Fruitvale, BC

Beaver Valley Family Park at Marsh Creek can’t be beat. There is so much to do! Small kids will love the playground, for the older kids there are volleyball and basketball courts and a field large enough for football or soccer. If you’ve heard about disc soccer (think...

More About Trail, BC

Five communities hugging both sides of a curve on the fast flowing Columbia River make up Greater Trail. Today about 7700 people call this riverside area home. Trail boasts affordable real estate, an abundance of outdoor activities, superb fishing and an active arts...

Cruisin’ the Columbia

Trail is home to the West Kootenay Smoke ́n Steel Auto Club, a collection of like mind- ed car buffs who collectively, represent a large cross section of the classic and collector car world. Every summer the club hosts a car show that not only brings together all the...

Music in Gyro Park

Enjoy Music In The Park every Thursday evening, 7 to 9 pm, from June 13 to August 29. Relax in your lawn chair by the river and soak in the summer sounds of jazz, blues, country, folk and rock’n’roll. The list of local and touring performers is available at...

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#KootenayLife Quotes

"I love the Kootenays for all its peacefulness and scenic beauty, and the lack of the hectic pace and traffic jams of the cities. Living here has so many outdoor activity possibilities in every season! After living in Edmonton, Toronto and Calgary, I can honestly say as far as the Kootenays go - there’s no place like it!" - Sheila

"I came from the coast for the weekend and stayed here a lifetime!" - Karma

"In 1984 when I made my first visit to Kaslo and the Kootenays, I went on an early evening canoe trip on the lake and watched the full moon rise. The beautiful setting, the quiet, and the colours were inspiring, and the thoughts and feelings which flowed through me said “This is God’s country. And here I am." - Rita