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Kootenay Lake

A hiker takes a rest to look out upon the Kootenay Lake from a cliffside high above.

The incredibly peaceful and scenic Kootenay Lake is a long, narrow and deep fjord-like lake located between the Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges and is one of the largest in British Columbia, at 104 km in length.

Historically, the lake was home to the Ktunaxa First Nations, who traversed along its waters in their iconic sturgeon-nosed canoes, fishing giant Sturgeon or Kokanee Salmon. With the start of the silver mining boom at the end of the 19th century, the lake suddenly bustled with life as stern wheel ferries transporting swarms of would-be-miners who had come to strike it rich.

While the boom days are now a distant memory, communities that popped up at this time at Kuskanook, Boswell, Gray Creek, Crawford Bay, and Riondel are now home to a number of artisans, crafts people, and musicans who love the peace and serenity.

Today visitors to the lake can enjoy kayaking, boating, fishing, and swimming from it's many bays, beaches and boat launches, which are all a short drive from the Creston Area. For swimming Twin Bay Beach, Mackie Beach & Lockhart Beach are excellent places for a cool dip. Kuskanook Harbour and Boswell Public Boat Launch are the best options for those wishing to boat. Another great option is to join one of the Legend Lake Tours, a guided historical boating tour of the lake with staff from the Ktunaxa-owned Legend Logos Gift Shop.

Alternatively, the mountains and forests around the lake provide numerous parks and trails to explore for hikers and mountain bikers. With it's many twists and turns, Highway 3A from Creston to Kootenay Bay is also a popular route with Motorcyclists and rated as one of the best rides in Canada! After taking time to explore the area, most visitors then head to Kootenay bay to hop aboard the Kootenay Lake ferry to Balfour, enjoying the longest free inland ferry ride in North America.


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