If you though winters in Nelson were full of adventure opportunities, be sure to be here when the snow goes and local life comes into full bloom.
Nelson is famous for its freeride mountain biking. Featured in many international mountain bike videos, the local trail network is worth a visit on its own. From steep and stunted fall-line riding to the gentle slopes of the old rail bed, Nelson is the epicenter of West Kootenay riding.
Check out: Nelson Cycling Club, Gericks Cycle and Sport, the Sacred Ride and Boomtown Sports
If Nelson’s trail system is too hardcore for your tastes, or if you prefer the smooth groove of highway and backroad riding, there are countless scenic tours along Kootenay Lake to Balfour and Kaslo, up the Slocan Valley and south to Salmo.
Check out: Sacred Ride, Gerricks and the Silvery Slocan Tour
Kootenay Lake boasts some of the best fishing around with the famous Gerrard Rainbow trout to 25lbs, Dolley Varden and the Kokanee, a land-locked (and delectable) salmon. Guided fishing charters are available on the lake and on the Columbia River west of Nelson. There are also many alpine lake fishing opportunities for rainbow and cutthroat trout.
Check out: Split Shot Charters
Sea Kayak, canoe and motorized boat rentals are available for those with a penchant for aquatic adventures. Tours are available or set out on your own to explore the pristine shoreline of Kootenay Lake or paddle the fun and scenic Slocan River.
Check out: Kootenay Kayak Company, Wildways
Spend an afternoon on the links or plan an entire vacation around the golfing opportunities in and around Nelson. The Granite Pointe Golf Club is a challenging 18-hole course perched above Nelson with incredible views of the town and surrounding peaks. Many more courses are accessible within an hour’s drive of downtown Nelson.
Check out: Granite Pointe, Balfour, Kokanee Springs, Castlegar G&CC, Birchwood
One of the best ways to explore Nelson’s stunning surroundings is on foot. Hiking trails crisscross the landscape with alpine routes in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park and lower level trails along the Kootenay River. For those seeking a less exhilarating experience, a walk along Nelson’s waterfront or a short hike up Pulpit Rock is always an option.
Check out: Nelson and Area Trails Association, Summit Mountain Guides
You don’t have to travel far to see the wild and reclusive co-inhabitants of the West Kootenays. Deer are a common site in and around town, elk, moose and the endangered Mountain Caribou all call this area home. You can also spot eagles and osprey nesting along the river’s edge. The back country is home to black and grizzly bear, cougars, wolf and even wolverine. Late summer sees the annual spawning run of the Kokanee Salmon on many small rivers in the region.
Check out: Kokanee Creek Park