Kootenay River



High in the Rocky Mountains, the Kootenay River begins its journey, carving a route through the Rocky Mountain trench into Montana before making a wide loop through Idaho and then heading north into B.C., flowing into Kootenay Lake before draining its way into the Columbia River near Castlegar.


The river basin once formed 70 KMs of wetland habitat, approximately 8-10 KMs wide, from the south end of Kootenay Lake down to Washington State, providing an incredible habitat for many species of fish, birds and other wildlife, in turn sustaining the local Ktunaxa as an important area of their traditional territory.


During the early 20th century, settlers to the area eventually established dykes and drained the majority of the valley floor, providing verdant land along the river's snaking banks that still sustain the community's thriving farming community, and allowing us all today to reside on and enjoy the established lands of the Ktunaxa people.


Today, the deep winding Kootenay River also offers plenty of recreation opportunities from fishing, kayaking, canoeing, boating, and swimming with access from the old ferry landing and elsewhere.