Directions & Driving Routes to Creston BC
Ready to hit the road to Creston BC? This page is your one-stop source of information on directions, highway driving routes, the Kootenay Lake ferry schedule, and tips for safe driving in the rugged terrain of the Rockies. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this page has everything you need to plan an unforgettable trip to Creston. So grab your map and get ready to explore the breathtaking landscapes of this beautiful region!
DRIVING ROUTES TO THE CRESTON VALLEY
WEST FROM CRANBROOK Via Highway 3: Take Highway 3 west for 45 minutes to Yahk, then continue west on Highway 3 for another 30 minutes to Creston. Cranbrook is also home to the Canadian Rockies International Airport, offering daily flights from Vancouver, Calgary, and Victoria. EAST FROM SALMO & NELSON Via Highway 3 & 3A: If driving East from Vancouver along Highway 3, you have two options: 1. Creston from Nelson/Kootenay Lake via Highway 3A: For a more leisurely route, take Highway 3-A from Nelson east for 45 minutes along the West arm to Balfour Ferry Terminal. Board the free Kootenay Lake Ferry at Kootenay Bay and continue south along Highway 3-A, following Kootenay Lake to reach Creston. For the Kootenay Lake ferry schedule, please see below. 2. Creston from Castlegar/Salmo via Highway 3: For a quicker route, take Highway 3 east from Salmo for 1.5 hours, crossing the Kootenay Pass to reach Creston. Note that the Kootenay Pass may be closed during winter due to poor driving conditions or avalanche clearings. For current road conditions for Kootenay Pass click here . NORTH FROM IDAHO & USA Via US-95 & Highway 1 North: Creston and Yahk are just 15 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. If driving from Bonners Ferry you have two options to enter Canada: 1. Creston from Rykerts/Porthill via US-95 /Hwy 1 North: From Bonners Ferry, take US-95 North, then turn onto Idaho Highway 1 North to reach the Rykerts/Porthill border crossing. Continue on Highway 21 to reach Creston. 2. Yahk from Kingsgate/Easport via US-95: From Bonners Ferry, take US-95 North, crossing at the Kingsgate/Eastport Border Crossing, and continue to Yahk. For further information on the Rykerts-Easport and Kingsgate-Eastport Border Crossings hours of operation and contact information check out our "Border Information" page.
KOOTENAY LAKE FERRY INFORMATION
The Kootenay Lake Ferry is the longest free scenic ferry ride in BC, crossing Kootenay Lake multiple times daily between the Balfour Terminal on the west shore and the Kootenay Bay Terminal on the east shore of the lake. The 45-minute long ferry ride is well worth the voyage, with stunning views of Kootenay Lake, the Purcell mountains to the East, the Selkirk Mountains to the west, and a glance at the famous Kokanee Glacier. From the Creston Valley the ferry can be reached by traveling north on Highway 3A along the East Shore of Kootenay Lake for 80 Kilometres (50 Miles), arriving at the Kootenay Bay Ferry Terminal in approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Alternatively, after crossing the west side of the lake from the Balfour Terminal travelers can drive south along Highway 3-A for to the Creston Valley. During the summer months (June to Labour Day), the Kootenay Lake Ferry system operates two ferries, the larger Osprey 2000 and the smaller MV Balfour, to minimize wait times. The summer schedule includes 15 sailings per day, while the winter schedule (September to end of May) has 10 sailings per day. For more details, refer to the Kootenay Lake Ferry Schedule below. Please also be aware that if you arrive just before the ferry is scheduled to leave you may not get on if the traffic is heavy, and during peak periods like long weekends in the summer you may have a wait of a sailing or more. When traffic is heavy the ferries ignore the schedule and unload, reload and depart as quickly as they can in order to keep your wait as short as possible. Note that Kootenay Lake is also the delimiter between the Mountain and Pacific time zones. While crossing from one zone to another would usually mean having to change your watch, when daylight savings time is in effect you don’t need to, as the east shore of Kootenay Lake to Creston doesn’t ever change it’s time – it’s on Mountain Standard Time year-round. Mountain Standard Time is the same as Pacific Daylight Time. For up-to-date information on the Kootenay Lake Ferry and potential wait times click here.
*Summer Schedule in effect from third week of June to Labour Day
** Times subject to change without notice
Driving Tips for Visiting The Creston Valley
Remember these tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience in the Creston Valley: 1. Check Road Conditions: Driving conditions on Highway 3 over Kootenay Pass can vary, especially during winter. Visit Drive BC before your trip to stay updated on road conditions and temporary closures for snow clearing. 2. Winter Tires/Chains: From October 1 to April 30, Highway 3 & 3A require winter-rated tires or chains. It's mandatory for all vehicles on these routes during these months to use appropriate winter gear. 3. Prepare for Limited Cellphone Signal: Highway 3 & 3A, particularly along Kootenay Pass & Kootenay Lake, have unreliable cellphone signal. Carry an emergency kit and dress appropriately for the weather in case of an emergency. 4. Watch Out for Wildlife: The area is home to abundant wildlife, often crossing roads and highways. Be vigilant near the road edges, especially at dusk in the Fall & Winter. 5. Be Considerate of Slower Vehicles: Much of Highway 3 & 3A consists of a single lane with short passing lanes. If you're traveling with a slower vehicle like an RV, pull over when safe to allow others to pass.