The North Kootenay Lake & Silvery Slocan Super Side Trip of the International Selkirk Loop. This driving tour can take from three hours to three days or more, depending on how much you want to explore.
There are countless trails in the area for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing. No matter what your fitness level, your choices are endless.
Links and Resources:
Where Locals Hike in the West Kootenay is an excellent hiking guide. Available at the New Denver Visitor Centre, other local retail outlets and Amazon.
A favourite in July and August for spectacular alpine meadows bursting with wildflowers, Idaho Peak is for hiking only (no mountain bikes). The view from the summit of mountains in all directions is awe-inspiring. A 12-kilometre-long single-lane road takes you to a parking lot that rapidly fills so an early morning start is advised. It’s a two-kilometre hike to the 2,224-metre summit from the parking lot and the whole trip takes about four hours. Access is up a one-lane road with pullouts next to steep cliffs so it is not for the faint of heart, but can be done by 2-wheel-drive vehicles with high clearance. Check with the Visitor Centre in New Denver or the museum or store in Sandon for current road conditions.
The Galena Trail runs from Rosebery to Three Forks—a 13-kilometre section of old CPR rail right-of-way. It makes for excellent hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. A highlight is taking a small cable car across Carpenter Creek at the old Alamo mine site, where you can see the remains of the old concentrator.
It takes about an hour and a half to hike from Rosebery to New Denver, and about two hours to hike from New Denver to Three Forks.
Rosebery Trailhead is accessed from Rosebery Loop Road.
New Denver Trailhead is accessed from Denver Siding Road, off Hwy 31A heading east from New Denver.
Three Forks Trailhead is at the junction of Hwy 31A and Sandon Road, eight kilometres east of New Denver.
Part of the former CPR line, this trail extends over 52 kilometres from South Slocan in the south to Slocan in the north.
The Lakeside Trail takes you from one end of the village to the other along Slocan Lake and Carpenter Creek. Access the trail from Centennial Park, the bottom of the main street (6th Avenue) or Bigelow Bay. The trail on the south side of Carpenter Creek (west of Highway 6) is an off-leash dog park.
Slocan’s Owl Walk was developed to protect screech owl habitat and provide an educational walk along the riverside. Access is next to the Slocan Valley Rail Trail just north of Gravel Pit Road (which connects to Highway 6 just south of Slocan).
*Trail and road etiquette
Access to trails is often on single-lane rough roads that are sometimes only navigable by 4-wheel-drive vehicles. Some alpine roads are only free of snow from July to October. The right-of-way goes to the vehicle heading downhill. On multi-use trails, horses have the right of way, then people, then bikes, then motorized vehicles. It’s risky to take dogs on backcountry or alpine trails since they can draw angry bears back to you, can get lost and can threaten wildlife and livestock.