Local swimming holes

Local Swimming Holes (photo credit Dan Seguin)

When temperatures soar, nothing brings relief in the Kootenays like a refreshing dip in the water. Some prefer swimming in the many rivers and creeks n the valley, while others spend their time on Kootenay Lake. Either way, the clean fresh waters in the Kootenays are some of the best to swim in.

Here is a list of some of our favorites along the Creston Valley - Kootenay Lake Route.

Moyie River

Along the banks of the Moyie River in Yahk BC, you’ll find many swimming holes to dip in and cool off. Summer water levels make for an enjoyable float that is fun for the whole family. Into the month of August, river floating may be hampered due to low water levels and a rocky bottom, but the river still provides ample fun and opportunities to cool off in the deeper pools. Access to the river can be gained from the day use area in the Provincial Park located in the heart of Yahk BC.

Meadow Creek (Kitchener Creek)

Located 15 minutes East of Creston BC, this slow and meandering creek boasts deep pools and sandy shorelines. To access this creek turn onto Leadville Rd, by the Grey Goose Café. The creek is located about 100 meters up the road at the first bridge, where you’ll find the first of many prime swimming spots. Walk upstream for more privacy and you’ll find deep pools, and depending on the spring runoff, natural waterslide type rapids to enjoy. This is not a maintained recreation site, so please pack out what you pack in to help preserve the beauty and family-friendly atmosphere of this local treasure.

Goat River

Accessed at the 1 st bridge along highway 21 minutes from Creston, this swimming spot is a long time favorite of every local and visitor in the valley. Parking along the highway, a gentle path provides access to the river. Spring runoff always creates wonderful sandy spots to spend time on. The river itself is rocky bottomed, so water shoes are recommended. You can hang with the rest of the river goers at the bridge, but if you’re looking for privacy a short walk along the shoreline either up or downstream will provide privacy and your own little temporary piece of heaven. Water temperatures are warm, usually warming before the lake, making this a great early summer swimming spot after spring runoff has completed.

Corn Creek Falls

A short 10-minute walk up a well-beaten path brings you to a magical spot along Corn Creek in West Creston. Cascading waterfalls and deep blue pools of water will wash your stress away, for it is impossible to focus on anything other than the beauty of Corn creek falls. Access can be found at a pull out about 2 km up the corn creek forest service road in West Creston. Not recommended for small children, the hike can get a little rugged, so wear appropriate footwear. Remember to watch for signs of wildlife around you at all times, carry bear spray and know how to use it to avoid conflict with wild animals. Bears, cougar, and moose are abundant in this area.

Kootenay River

Although the muddy shorelines are not very appealing for swimmers, those who love to wake surf, water ski and jet ski absolutely treasure Kootenay River waters. The treed shoreline along the Kootenay River provides more shelter from wind than Kootenay lake, lending safer waters to recreate in on windy days. Access can be had via the old ferry landing road, off of highway 21. A day use area is offered along with a boat launch.

Kootenay Lake

Twin Bays is by far, one of the most beautiful beaches on the East Shore with a soft sand, epic scenery, and jumping rocks for the kids to enjoy. There is a public day use area set up with outhouses, and garbage receptacles. The waters are usually a tad warmer in this sheltered little cove, yet it seems to maintain water quality even during the hottest of months. No dogs are allowed on this beach, so if your fur friend needs a swim, you’ll have to find another spot to frolic in.

Along the banks of Kootenay Lake, you’ll find many access points that are not designated recreation sites to enjoy if you do want to bring Fido along. About five minutes past Twin Bays, along Highway 3 you’ll find a short pull out the road on the lakeside that provides access to six little-secluded beaches. Excellent for privacy and family fun it’s best to get up early to secure one of these spots. There is no garbage receptacle, so please pack out what you pack in. The lake bottom is quite rocky, so water shoes are recommended.

Lockhart Provincial Park located about 40 min up highway 3-A, is another favorite in the area. The beach is unique for the rocky shoreline is covered primarily in soft rounded pebbles. The parking lot is on the east side of highway 3-A, while the day use area on the west with a tiny path to the beach front. In early July the southern tip of the lake can get a little overboard with mosquitos. Lockhart beach seems to be far enough up the lake to avoid some of the mosquitos when times are thick.

The artisan town of Crawford bay has one of the most beautiful sandy coves on the Kootenay Lake route. This beach is accessed by a small road at the airstrip landing next to Kokanee Chalets, and community efforts are underway to revamp the facilities creating a wonderful place for families to enjoy. The cove provides shelter from much of the winds on the lake offering a wonderful swimming experience.

When it comes to exploring the beaches around Kootenay Lake, the possibilities are endless including boat access only beaches across from the Harbor at Kuskanook. Next to creek recreation site is one of such beaches that offer endless sandy shorelines that gradually recede into the lake. These beaches are beautiful and provide a private getaway to completely unplug and destress from life’s chaos.

Take some time to decompress by exploring some of the wonderful swimming holes on the Creston Valley - Kootenay Lake Route. Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you for it.