How to get to the Creston Valley-Kootenay Lake Area
Whether travelling by car, motorcycle or RV, the Creston Valley Kootenay Lake Route has beautiful scenery and many must-do stops along the way, no matter which direction you are coming from. Please find information on travel routes to the area below:
Heading West from Cranbrook
Take Highway 3 west for 45 minutes to Yahk. From Yahk junction take highway 3 west again another 30 minutes to Creston. From Creston you can then head north on Highway 3-A to Kootenay Lake.
Note that Cranbrook is also home to home to the Canadian Rockies International Airport, with daily flights from Vancouver, Calgary, and Victoria.
Heading East from Salmo & Nelson
If driving East from Vancouver along Highway 3, you have a couple of options:
Kootenay Lake via Nelson - For a more leisurely route, take Highway 3-A Nelson east for 45 minutes along the West arm to Balfour Ferry Terminal. From here catch the free Kootenay Lake Ferry on to the Kootenay Bay. From Kootenay Bay you can continue along Highway 3-A south to the East Shore and Creston. For details check the ferry schedule here.
Creston via Salmo - For a quicker route, take Highway 3 east from Salmo for 1.5 hours to Creston over the Kootenay Pass. From Creston you can head north along Highway 3-A to Kootenay or continue on Highway 3 to Yahk.
Note that in winter the Kootenay Pass may be closed due to poor driving conditions or avalanche clearings. Be sure to check road conditions with Drive BC during winter months.
Heading North from the USA
Creston and Yahk are just 10 minutes from the top of the Idaho panhandle and a short 45 minute drive from Bonners Ferry, and only a few hours from Couer d'Alene, Spokane and Kalispell.
Creston Via Rykerts/Porterhill - From Bonners Ferry take the US-95 North, turning on to Idaho Highway 1 North to the Rykerts/Porthill boarder crossing before continung on Highway 21 to Creston. For the Rykert/Porthill Border Crossing hours of pperation, click here.
Yahk Via Kingsgate/Easport - From Bonners Ferry take US-95 North, crossing at the Kingsgate/Eastport Border Crossing, and then on to Yahk. For the Kingsgate/Porthill Border Crossing hours of operation, click here.
Driving Times & Distances
Cranbrook to Yahk - 42 minutes • 64 km
Yahk to Creston - 31 minutes • 41.3 km
Yahk to Kingsgate/Eastport Border Crossing - 14 minutes • 15.6 km
Creston to Kootenay Pass - 35 minutes • 45.6 km
Creston to Crawford Bay / Kootenay Ferry - 1 hr 20 mins • 76 km
Creston to Rykerts/Porthill Border Crossing - 15 minutes • 12.6 km
Creston to Bonners Ferry, Idaho - 46 minutes • 56 km
Driving in the Winter
While our winters are mild, and although you won’t find too much snow, the driving conditions on nearby Kootenay Pass or along Kootenay Lake can make for an adventure, so check road conditions before you set off.
Note that between October 1 – April 30 Highway 3 & 3-A are designated as winter tire/chain routes, and it is mandatory for all vehicles travelling on them to use winter-rated tires.
Also, make sure your vehicle is winter ready - always carry an emergency kit and have clothing available appropriate to the weather that you will experience outside your vehicle.
Finally, during fall and winter keep your eyes peeled for wildlife near the roads, and make sure that your travels are safe and enjoyable.
BC Highway and Ferry Information
Be sure to check Drive BC for current information road conditions for Kootenay Pass and the Ferry Schedule for Kootenay Lake Ferry.