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. Peppered throughout this paradise of mountains, rivers and lakes is a diverse of array of creative, entrepreneurial craft breweries, including a true pioneer and many more recent arrivals.
The Trail Beer Refinery embraces that city’s mining history. Rossland Beer Co.’s comfortable vibe makes it a favourite with locals and visitors alike. The Lion’s Head Smoke & Brew Pub in Robson is an oasis of craft beer in the wilderness, with its own brewery in the works, and Castlegar’s Tailout Brewing celebrates the region’s love of fly fishing.
Nelson, the “Queen City” that is essentially the capital of the region, is home to 10,000 people, some gorgeous architecture, and three breweries, including the region’s oldest, Nelson Brewing, which has been a local favourite since it opened in 1991, along with Torchlight Brewing and Backroads Brewing. Nearby, Kaslo’s Angry Hen Brewing is a brewery with a view of beautiful Kootenay Lake.
Stop by for locally roasted coffee and fresh-baked-daily muffins, scones, cookies, cinnamon buns, and more. Gluten-free baked goods are made in house too!
Get your adrenaline pumping at the Millennial Trail Expansion at RED Resort - three loops totaling 5.8kms of all-new mountain biking trails focused on flow, fun, and variety.
Possibly one of the last official saloons remaining from the Gold Rush days - The Flying Steamshovel has an unmatchable atmosphere, 14 craft draught lines, an award-winning menu and great independent music on stage every week.
An award-winning brewery providing the historic mining community of Rossland a variety of irresistible craft beers.
Enjoy an easy, wide, hard packed 5 km loop trail gently meandering around Nancy Greene lake. Or if paddling is more your speed, rent a paddleboard or canoe and go for a cruise.
Drive to Trail, approx 10 min
With a name that reflects Trail’s historic connection to mining, refining, and smelting, this brewery has a strong community focus.
Treat yourself to a soul-enriching evening of French-inspired fine dining and locally-inspired drinks.
Rossland has plenty of accommodation options to choose from - head to the explore more section to find your perfect stay.
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.
Hike up Kootenay Columbia Trail for aerial views of Rossland and the Columbia River.
Drive to Castlegar, approximately 35 minutes
An artisan bakery and coffee house right in the heart of downtown Castlegar serving up a delicious array of house-baked pastries and breads. Organic, dairy-free and wheat-free options.
Enjoy a leisurely walk through the downtown of Castlegar while marveling at a rotating exhibition of sculptures by artists from around the world. Don’t forget to vote for your favourites! P.s. Humble Bean is a great stop on the Sculpturewalk for a delicious cold drink in the summer!
Get a glimpse of the hustle and bustle of the early 1900’s at this 100+ year old Canadian Pacific Railway Station. Browse archives of newspapers and view the historical artifacts.
Immerse yourself in Castlegars rich history through exploring historical buildings, artifacts, audio/visual galleries, and interactive displays of the culture and heritage of the Doukhobors
This historic pub is a hub of outdoor recreation. Across the street from a boat launch popular by fisherman and paddlers. Behind the pub is a famous climbing wall and often you will see bikers end their ride at the pub. Home of BC Craft Beer, with names like Spinnakers, Cannery, Nelson, Mt. Begbie, Crannog and Fernie beers rotating through 12 taps.
This sunny Par 3 Golf Course is family-oriented and suitable for all ages. You can also enjoy an afternoon of golf at Castlegar Golf Club and RV Park.
With a passion for everything outdoors, you’ll find community and amazing craft beer at this brewery that celebrates the region’s love for fly fishing.
Castlegar has plenty of accommodation options to choose from - book your perfect stay at the link above.
Good morning! Coffee and Avocado toast anyone?
Drive to Nelson, approximately 35 minutes
Celebrating the culture and history of Nelson and surrounding area. Museum, archives and art gallery.
Nelson’s little nano-brewery that could.
Craft beer culture in counter-culture central.
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.
Carries a wide variety of craft beers from near and far. Their ever-changing selection will not disappoint even the savviest beer connoisseur.
Kokanee Creek Provincial Park on Kootenay Lake offers a sandy beach, hikes through Old Growth Cedars and nearby Kokanee Mountain Zipline.
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.
Drive to Kaslo, BC, approximately 1 hour
Take in amazing views from the main pools or retreat to the peaceful soaking experience of a tranquil limestone cave.
Stop for lunch as this historic cafe bisto showcasing true local organic ingredients.
After plying the waters of Kootenay Lake for over 60 years, the sternwheeler S.S Moyie is now a beautifully restored museum.
Kaslo River is a fairy tale of a trail, winding along the burbling river and mossy banks. The main loop arcs over the river on two covered bridges, both painted an enchanting shade of red.
In the heart of historic Kaslo, the Angry Hen offers delicious beers and snacks with a spectacular view of Kootenay Lake.
The Kaslo Visitor Centre is located at the SS Moyie and is open May to October to help plan your day.
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.
BC Farmers’ Market Trail
Your definitive guide to 145+ farmers’ markets across BC
Wherever you are in the province, the BC Farmers’ Market Trail is your quickest route to fresh, local, in-season food, craft beverages and artisan goods direct from the people who produce them.
The BC Farmers’ Market Trail showcases 145+ authentic BCAFM member farmers’ markets across the province. Each is dedicated to hosting vendors who grow, make, bake, raise and brew the products they sell, and now includes online ordering options.
Hop on the BC Farmers’ Market Trail today!
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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.
No matter your interests, there’s a Castlegar for you.