Nature and Recreation
It's the British Columbia way—mountains and forests and rivers to explore—and the Creston Valley and Kootenay Lake Route is no different. There are seven provincial and community parks, public beaches for sunny days, and endless trails overlooking border crossings and adjacent ridge tops, both mellow and steep in their approaches. Boardwalks weave through protected wetlands filled with beaver dams; a wilderness still untamed in the traditional First Nations territory. Communities along the Route work together to protect it, environmental stewardship an integral part of their livelihood. Pitch a tent, hook up the trailer, find your own piece of heaven beneath the trees. Whether adventuring solo or with a guide, by boat or bike or golf cart, take a minute (or a month) and get a little lost along the Route. The road's a bit windy, anyways—you can afford the time.
Hiking & Biking
Bike and hike almost anywhere along the Route. In the Creston Valley, the Thompson Rim Trail is one of many iconic hikes. Use 4x4's up the most difficult portion of the trail until you reach the top of Mt. Thompson. From here, the trailhead views expand an enormous aerial view of the valley, and a ridge-walk helps you appreciate the uniqueness of the geology here. If you're looking for more historic strolls, check the Pilot Bay Lighthouse Trail near the Kootenay Bay ferry. An easy 10-15 minute walk through mossy, lush forest leads to the white and red lighthouse, built in 1904. Pack a lunch, enjoy the lakeside view, then catch your ferry.
Distinct in its own rite, the Route has some incredible marshes and wetland trails to explore. Boardwalks weave through tall grasses and cattails, and beneath ancient cottonwood trees. The Crawford Bay Wetlands Trails allows for bike or walk along many pathways, as do trails within the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area. Here, check the easy Boardwalk Loop, and climb the 3-story viewing tower. Or pack a lunch and walk the 4-hour Wood Duck Walk for full immersion into different wildlife habitats.
The Route is beautiful—beautiful and remote. Kokanee Springs Golf Resort in Crawford Bay is just that; tucked at the east end of Kootenay Lake, a little escape for the golfer who wants more than just great golf. Hidden below snow-capped mountains with private cottages, great package deals, and mountain-bike trails for the post-game adventurer, it's a great place to tee off. Plus, they're celebrating 50 years this summer.
The Creston Valley Golf Club is another excellent source for golfing along the Route. Rolling terrain and varying elevations make for a challenging shot. Paired with iridescent trees, a vibrating and tantalizing green, the club is inviting for the novice and the expert, along with a few unexpected guests. Elk, coyotes, deer and other flora and fauna frequent the grounds.
Kootenay Lake is clear glass, deep blue. There's a feeling you get along her shore, a reverence. The lake—raised by the Corra Linn Dam—and the valley the lake sits in is a show of history, beauty left by glaciation and erosion. It's no wonder people rush to its waters year after year, by boat or foot, to dip their toes beneath the surface.
The lake has great access. Koskanoook Harbour Boat Launch & Marina is the closest to the city of Creston, with fishing off-dock, a picnic and rest area, and yearly memberships available. Further up the lake lies the Boswell Public Boat Launch, one of the last remaining public launches on the East Shore. The Lakeview Store & Campground also has a marina. Drop your boat, and cruise the 104-kilometre length of Kootenay Lake in the warmth of the sun. Find a private beach and read a favourite book, paddle board, wake surf. Anything's possible on the lake. Anything's possible on the Route.
Facilities and Parks
On rainy days, or days with the chill of winter requires a change of pace, the Creston Valley and Kootenay Lake Route has plenty of alternatives. Creston & District Community Complex holds a three-pool facility, a curling rink, fitness gym and outdoor track, a hockey arena, and banquet hall. For more of an educational experience, the Kootenay-Columbia Discovery-Centre Society offers programs for the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area. The sheer preservation of the wetlands is of utmost importance for those along the Route. Between May and October, a nature centre's open to the public, and provides trail information and activities. Along the lake, Mackie Beach Park, with its course sand and sweet shoreline, is great for picnics and lazy days. And when things heat up, Yahk Provincial Park along the bubbling Moyie River is a serene stop for an overnight rest. There are several other provincial parks in the area, all with a little something different to offer, though we'll let you find them for yourselves.