Getting to The Kootenays – BC’s Lower Columbia

Arial photo of Trail, BC

The Lower Columbia region is located in southeastern British Columbia, Canada, within close proximity to the Canada-United States of America border. This region encompasses 2 electoral areas and 5 municipalities. These safe, affordable, and friendly communities include the City of Trail, City of Rossland and the Villages of Fruitvale, Montrose and Warfield.

To visit, get driving directions or read our transportation page to find details on our 2 regional airports, 2 border crossings, and highways. Visitors who choose to drive may want to check current weather conditions and driving conditions in BC. During winter months, mountain roads and generous snowfalls require good winter tread tires.

Discovery Loop

Street view of the Gulch in Trail, BC The Discovery Loop is a pleasant drive that takes you through BC’s Lower Columbia communities in the Kootenays and provides an opportunity to explore the tri-cities area between Trail, Nelson and Castlegar.

Once you have explored the history, culture and arts in the City of Trail begin your journey by winding your way along the Columbia River to the Village of Montrose. This village is the gateway to the Beaver Valley, where lush forests and fertile farmland are plentiful. Columbia Gardens is home to 2 emerging wineries that are located just north of the Canada/US border crossing at Waneta. Just outside of Fruitvale you will find excellent swimming, golfing and camping at Champion Lakes Provincial Park.

Columbia River in WanitaLeaving the Lower Columbia region, continue your journey through the Kootenays to the villages of Salmo and Ymir to Nelson. This beautiful city has Victorian charm, carefully preserved heritage buildings and great eating and shopping. Nelson is situated on Kootenay Lake and is about an hours drive from Trail. A soothing side trip 40 minutes from Nelson, is to the Ainsworth Hot Springs. While soaking in natural mineral water that averages 42°C (114°F) in the horseshoe shaped caves, stalagmites and stalactites can be enjoyed everywhere inside.


From Nelson continue on to Castlegar to visit the unique Doukhobor Discovery Centre that showcases the culture and lifestyle as it evolved from 1908 to 1938. The Centre has over 1,000 artifacts represent the pioneering and fascinating arts, crafts, customs and religion of the Doukhobor people. Castlegar’s Zuckerberg Island park, highlights the lengthy human and natural history unique within the Kootenays Columbia River Valley; where the Lakes Salish Indian people first fished and built winter pit houses, and where you can visit Alexander Zuckerberg’s unique Russian Orthodox Chapel House.The Doukhobor Discovery Centre entrance in Castlegar, BC

Back in our home region, visit the Nancy Greene Provincial Park, Red Mountain Resort and the historic Le Roi Mine, where swimming, golfing and adventure wait. Then, stop in the alpine City of Rossland where you can take a self-guided “Heritage Tour” that describes the historical significance of local buildings. Maps are available at the Rossland Chamber of Commerce.

Finally, as you wind your way down the mountain, stop for a visit in Warfield to visit the distinguished style of homes that earned it the nickname “Mickey Mouse Town” before arriving back into Trail where you will have completed the local Discovery Loop tour through the Kootenays.

Spend a day in Greater Trail

Relax, learn, play and eat. Connect with family and friends.

This “Community in Bloom” and “Home of Champions” is engaging in every season. On the website linked below you’ll find a series of 5 spring, summer and fall, winter day trips to enjoy.

Plan to wander through this corner of the West Kootenay. Spend some time along the banks of The Columbia River. Explore the rich history and metallurgic innovations that make Trail such a remarkable place.

Explore your Trail, Your Way!

Discover More In BC’s Lower Columbia Region

Grey Wolf Cabins in Rossland, BC

Great Circle Route is a 1,319 km (819 mile) encompassing the entire Kootenay Rockies region.

International Selkirk Loop is a 450 km (280 mile) scenic drive encircling the spectacular Selkirk Mountains in southeastern British Columbia, eastern Washington, and northern Idaho.

Mountains and Vineyards Circle Tour is a 1,261 km (783 mile) ultimate escape to view mountain grandeur between visits to some of the country’s finest wineries.

Tourism Rossland

Trail & District Chamber of Commerce

Castlegar Chamber of Commerce

Betterbook Directory

Canpages Directory