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Escape to the Kootenay Rockies' Silvery Slocan and visit the ghost towns, do some hiking and bathe in the hot springs of this historic-rich region
Tucked away in a quiet corner of the Kootenay Rockies, the Silvery Slocan is one of the best places to seek away-from-it-all adventure in British Columbia. The history-rich region – much of it can be accessed via the 226-km Silvery Slocan Circle Route – is loaded with turn-of-the-century mine ruins, ghost towns, outdoor recreation opportunities, and many other things to discover.
Here’s a look at eight places to put on your list.
Squeezed into a remote valley between Kaslo and New Denver, Sandon is one of the most interesting ghost towns you’ll ever visit. In the 1890s, Sandon, once the hub of the booming mining industry, was home to 5,000 people; 85 brothels, 29 hotels, 28 saloons, and dozens of other businesses lined the dusty streets.
Today, the old city hall, the generating station, some ramshackle homes, scattered mine ruins, and a fascinating museum remain.
Overlooking Arrow Lake and the Monashee Mountains – and boasting a spa, cozy cabins, excellent dining, and three natural hot springs pools – Halcyon Hot Springs is an idyllic BC getaway. It’s located 32 kilometres north of Nakusp.
Ainsworth Hot Springs, located on the west side of Kootenay Lake near Balfour, is also a must-stop for hot springs lovers.
The charming and historic town of New Denver is home to the only site in Canada that’s dedicated to this infamous piece of war history. In 1942, during WWII, approximately 22,000 Japanese Canadians were stripped of their rights, sent to internment camps, and labeled “enemy aliens.”
The centre, which houses many original buildings from the New Denver camp, was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2010.
Launched in 1898, the S.S. Moyie is the world’s oldest intact passenger sternwheeler. Sitting along the shores of Kootenay Lake, where it was in service until 1958, the S.S. Moyie is a great reason to check out the beautiful town of Kaslo, always considered one of the gems of the Silvery Slocan.
Built in 1968 and designed by the esteemed Canadian architect Norman Woods, the gorgeous, tree-lined course at Kokanee Springs serves up one of the best golf experiences in the country. The course, which recently celebrated its one millionth round, boasts stunning mountain views, elevated tees, beautiful conditioning, and one of the best golf schools in the country. Kokanee Springs is located near Crawford Bay.
After touring around the Silvery Slocan for a few days there’s nothing better than “killing” a day on a great beach. And the region is home to many! Not surprisingly, every one of them, such as this one at Riondel, is home to a world-class view.
Complete with a fire lookout at the top, the hike to Idaho Peak is a classic Silvery Slocan adventure. The wildflowers – as well as the jaw-dropping views! – are the main rewards. Access to Idaho Peak is from the town of Sandon, so you can kill two birds with one stone and do both adventures in one day.
The amazing city of Nelson, which is situated on the west end of the West Arm of Kootenay Lake, is the region’s cultural hub. And strolling along historic Baker Street, with its cool shops and beautiful Victorian architecture, is simply a must. There’s a reason many Hollywood movies, such as Steve Martin’s Roxanne, were shot here.