HIT THE ROAD READY FOR ADVENTURES
Whether traveling by car, motorcycle or RV, the Creston Valley has beautiful scenery and many must-do stops along the way, no matter which direction you are coming from. Find information on travel routes to the area and the popular Kootenay Lake Ferry to help you plan your trip.
DRIVING ROUTES To The Creston Valley
WEST FROM CRANBROOK Via Highway 3
Take Highway 3 west for 45 minutes to Yahk. From Yahk junction take highway 3 west again another 30 minutes to Creston.
Note that Cranbrook is also home to home to the Canadian Rockies International Airport, with 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. From here catch the free Kootenay Lake Ferry onto the Kootenay Bay. From Kootenay Bay, you can continue along Highway 3-A south along Kootenay Lake to Creston.
*** For further details on the Kootenay Lake ferry schedule click here.
2. Creston from Castlegar/Salmo via Highway 3- For a quicker route, take Highway 3 east from Salmo for 1.5 hours to Creston over the Kootenay Pass. Note that in winter the Kootenay Pass may be closed 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 the US-95 North, turning on to Idaho Highway 1 North to the Rykerts/Porthill border crossing before continuing on Highway 21 to Creston.
***For further information on the Rykerts/Porthill Border Crossing, click here.
2. Yahk from Kingsgate/Easport via US-95- From Bonners Ferry take US-95 North, crossing at the Kingsgate/Eastport Border Crossing, and then on to Yahk.
***For furhter information on the Kingsgate/Eastport Border Crossing, click here.
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 3-A along the East Shore of Kootenay Lake for 80 Kilometres or 50 Miles, arriving at the Kootenay Bay Ferry Terminal in approximately 1.5 hours. 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.
For the Kootenay Lake ferry schedule & up-to-date information on wait times click here.
Driving Tips for The area
As one of North America's highest mountain pass highways, driving conditions on Highway 3 over Kootenay Pass can vary significantly, particularly in the winter when signficant snowfall can cause the highway to be closed for snow clearing. If travelling over Kootenay Pass be sure to check road conditions on Drive BC before you set off.
From October 1 – April 30 Highway 3 & 3-A are designated as winter tire/chain routes. It is mandatory for all vehicles traveling on these routes during these months to use winter-rated tires.
Much of Highway 3 & 3-A lacks reliable cellphone signal, particularly along Kootenay Pass & Kootenay Lake. Always carry an emergency kit and have clothing appropriate to the weather in case of an emergency.
The area is abundant with wildlife, who frequently cross the roads and highways. Keep your eyes open for wildlife near the edges of roads and highways as you drive, particularly at dusk in the Fall & Winter.
Much of Highway 3 & 3-A is a single-lane, with short passing lanes. Where possible visitors travelling with slower vehicles such as RV's are encouraged to pull over to allow others to pass.