Forests, mountains, pristine lakes and rivers, hot springs and waterfalls: this is the West Kootenays. The folks who call this place home are farmers, mountaineers, ski bums, young families and retirees, or those seeking ‘off the grid’ lifestyles, all of them friendly to a fault. Its towns and small cities are ready and waiting with history, culture and, of course, beer.
For anyone seeking a break from the mainstream society, the West Kootenays is filled with folks who enjoy a slower pace, away from the hubbub of larger centres. Many visitors are tempted to join them once they discover the region’s unique combination of wilderness activities and urban communities.
Sprinkled throughout the Columbia Mountains are eight unique breweries. In Revelstoke, Mt. Begbie Brewing celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016 by building a brand-new brewery and then was named Canadian brewery of the year at the 2017 Canadian Brewing Awards. A little south is the “Queen City” of Nelson, home to 10,000 people, some gorgeous architecture, and three breweries, including the region’s oldest and a couple of its newest.
Near Castlegar is the Lion’s Head Smoke & Brew Pub, an oasis of craft beer in the wilderness, with its own brewery in the works. And then there’s the Rossland Beer Company, a nano-brewery that offers growler fills and pint sales in its tasting room and on its sunny patio. The Trail Beer Refinery embraces that city’s mining history, and Kaslo’s Angry Hen Brewing is a brewery with a view of beautiful Kootenay Lake.
An award-winning nano-brewery set in the Monashee Mountains of the southwest Kootenays.
Historic Inn and saloon. 14 craft draught lines, an award-winning menu and great independent music on stage every week.
With a name that reflects Trail’s historic connection to mining, refining, and smelting, this brewery has a strong community focus.
Drive to Nelson, BC, approximately 1 hour.
Rossland is perched high in the Monashee Mountains. The Gold Fever Follies present a live musical theatre show and the Rossland Museum is the site of the LeRoi Gold Mine offering a Geology Centre, display of artifacts and a gold panning attraction. Take a self-guided walking tour of historic Nelson and catch the tramway (Streetcar #23) at Lakeside Park.
Authentic and artisanal coffee. Organically-grown and fair trade. Enjoy a community warmth in the cafe.
Celebrating the culture and history of Nelson and surrounding area. Museum, archives and art gallery.
Nelson’s little nano-brewery that could.
The all-organic Nelson Brewing Company is one of BC’s pioneer craft breweries.
English-style pub located in the boutique Hume Hotel. Local beer, and tasty food.
Kokanee Creek Provincial Park on Kootenay Lake offers a sandy beach, hikes through Old Growth Cedars and nearby Kokanee Mountain Zipline.
Delicious, locally sourced fare including smoothies, juices and wraps.
Drive to Kaslo, BC, approximately 1 hour
After plying the waters of Kootenay Lake for over 60 years, the sternwheeler S.S Moyie is now a beautifully restored museum.
In the heart of historic Kaslo, the Angry Hen offers delicious beers and snacks with a spectacular view of Kootenay Lake.
Take in amazing views from the main pools or retreat to the peaceful soaking experience of a tranquil limestone cave.
Craft beer culture in counter-culture central.
Healthy, seasonal food and tasty treats. Organic, dairy-free and wheat-free options.
Three swimming ponds, picnic areas, tennis courts, bike park and more.
A Historic Pub on the mighty Columbia river. Home of BC Craft Beer, with names like Spinnakers, Cannery, Nelson, Mt. Begbie, Crannog and Fernie beers rotating through 12 taps.
Drive to Cranbrook, BC, approximately 2.5 hours
Enjoy the Millennium Walkway and Ponds, Doukhobor Discovery Centre, Zuckerberg Island Heritage Park, Station Museum, Sculpturewalk and more in Castlegar. Two thousand hectares of crown forest on the east and north boundary of Cranbrook offers interpretive nature trails. The Elizabeth Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, a 6 acre wetland, is home to different animal species and walking trails, viewpoints and picnic tables.
The Birthplace of Adventure
In the southeast corner of British Columbia, the jagged peaks of the Rockies rise in parallel with those of the Purcell, Selkirk and Monashee ranges. In between are valleys, rivers and lakes that have enabled human existence for thousands of years. With incomparable scenic beauty around every turn, this is British Columbia’s Mountain Playground.
In the midst of this monumental landscape, geography, geology and history have conspired to create utterly charming Victorian small towns. Visitors come to the Kootenay Rockies for a rich palette of recreational summer activities that includes world-class hiking, biking, climbing, river rafting, paragliding, canoeing, wildlife viewing and golfing.