The Kootenay Rockies

14 Days


Embark on a captivating journey through the scenic wonders of the Kootenay Rockies, a region nestled in the southeastern corner of British Columbia. Your adventure can commence from any point along this circular route, with Cranbrook serving as a convenient starting point, linked by the Canadian Rockies International Airport. The former railway town of Cranbrook beckons with its rich history, offering attractions such as the Cranbrook History Centre, featuring an award-winning collection of railcars, museums, and exhibitions. Accessibility is a growing focus in the region, ensuring that all travelers can partake in the exploration, although some specific sites may require advance arrangements.

As you venture onward, discover the natural beauty surrounding Cranbrook, from the wheelchair-accessible Elizabeth Lake in Confederation Park to the Cranbrook Community Forest, crisscrossed with accessible trails. The journey continues with visits to St. Eugene Golf Resort Casino, showcasing wheelchair-accessible facilities, and onward to Kimberley and Marysville Falls, with wheelchair-friendly trails and photo-worthy spots. Accessible outdoor activities and diverse attractions cater to a wide range of preferences, making the journey inclusive and memorable.

The route unfolds with a northward trajectory toward Fairmont Hot Springs, where mineral-rich pools provide a rejuvenating escape against the backdrop of towering mountain peaks. Continuing through Revelstoke, Golden, and Shelter Bay, the journey encompasses historical sites, alpine meadows, and the legacy of the Last Spike at Craigellachie. The adventure concludes with visits to Nakusp, New Denver, Silverton, and Ainsworth Hot Springs, each offering a unique blend of history, outdoor activities, and natural beauty. As you wind your way through charming villages and lakeside cities like Nelson, known for its heritage buildings and thriving arts scene, the diverse landscapes and accessible attractions create an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Kootenay Rockies.

Trip Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in the town's rich history at the Cranbrook History Centre, museums, and exhibitions.
  • Accessibility Focus
  • Explore the wheelchair-accessible Elizabeth Lake in Confederation Park
  • St. Eugene Golf Resort
  • Fort Steele Heritage Town
  • Picturesque Marysville Falls
  • Fairmont Hot Springs
  • Wander through Revelstoke's restored period buildings
  • Mount Revelstoke National Park
  • Hemlock Grove Boardwalk Trail
  • Halcyon Hot Springs Resort
  • Edwardian village of Kaslo
  • Take the world's longest free ferry across Kootenay Lake
  • Creston Wildlife Management Area
  • Kootenay Rockies


You can begin your journey along this circular route from any point, but if you’re flying in, you’ll likely want to start in Cranbrook, served by the Canadian Rockies International Airport. From the airport, you may be able to arrange a car with Adaptive Driving Devices if arrangements are made well in advance. Currently none of the local taxi companies provide lift- or ramp-equipped vehicles.
Formerly a railway town, Cranbrook is chockablock with attractions steeped in history. In the region’s largest city, you can explore the Cranbrook History Centre‘s award-winning collection of railcars, the Cranbrook Museum, Paleontology Gallery, Royal Alexandra Hall, and the Model Railway exhibition. The Railcar Collection Exhibition is the only stop that is not wheelchair accessible.

Nearby, the six-hectare (15-acre) Elizabeth Lake in Confederation Park is a wildlife sanctuary that is home to painted turtles, migratory birds, and more. The picnic area and approximately 90 per cent of the trails (all covered in mulch) are wheelchair accessible. Note: Check with staff to see which trails are best for exploration.
Walking trails meander along the shoreline of the wetlands at Elizabeth Lake in Cranbrook’s Confederation Park. Stroll the easy paths while looking at the dozens of bird species. The Cranbrook Community Forest is crisscrossed with kilometers of hiking and biking trails that weave between forest, grassland and three small lakes.

Today you might visit St. Eugene Golf Resort Casino, located between Cranbrook and Kimberley. It offers a day spa, casino, restaurants, and the Ktunaxa Interpretive Centre, which often hosts special events. The lobby, casino, restaurant, and Ktunaxa Interpretive Centre are all wheelchair accessible (a few of the guestrooms are as well). Most activities, including Indigenous beading workshops, moccasin-making workshops, and Ktunaxa Interpretive Tours, take place indoors. Legends Nights, however, are set around a fire at Haqaⱡpaⱡninam, (the Speaking Earth tipi camp at St. Eugene), accessible by gravel trail.

Day 4 :

Today you will head north to Kimberley. If you’re travelling with kids, consider a detour northeast on Hwy 95 to Fort Steele Heritage Town, where actors playing shopkeepers, townsfolk, and politicians bring to life a reconstructed 1890s boomtown year-round.
While it isn’t the smoothest ride you’ll ever have, all boardwalks have wheelchair ramps, and some buildings are accessible. Fort Steele is actively working with the Heritage Branch to include more diverse and inclusive stories, including better representation of indigenous cultural heritage.
Many regular visitors are thrilled to have a safe space for their children to run around and explore! With so many types of animals on site who love attention, it is an excellent place to visit with your kids!

Today will be full of photo ops at Marysville Falls. Check out the wheelchair-accessible North Star Rails to Trails, a paved 28-km (17-mi) all-purpose trail between Cranbrook and Kimberley. The gentle grade makes it perfect for wheelchair travel. (note: a small section of the trail leading to the bridge is gravel, so access is weather dependent).
Prefer something a little less taxing? Tour the city’s nearly 100-year-old Cominco Gardens, visit the Kimberley Heritage Museum, check out boutiques and restaurants, and be sure to drop a coin into Canada’s largest free-standing cuckoo clock to watch “Happy Hans” emerge and yodel.

Your journey today continues north on Highway 93/95 towards Fairmont Hot Springs. This route along the Columbia River Valley is famous for its towering mountain peaks and rich wetland ecosystem. Tip: Travel in fall when the foliage is spectacular.
The Fairmont Hot Springs—with its year-round, mineral-rich hot springs pools—have drawn travelers for more than a century. This full-service, four-season resort, with views of the Columbia and Rocky Mountains offers restaurants, and spa services together with a wide range of outdoor adventure possibilities year-round.

Picture yourself immersed in the soothing embrace of legendary natural hot springs as you reminisce about a day well spent with loved ones. A day filled with genuine warmth and experiences that showcase the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains!
Unique to Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, the Natural Springs Spa utilizes the abundant natural hot springs waters to create the ultimate spa experience.
Experienced spa professionals can help you select a spa service best suited to you and your needs for a completely rejuvenating and truly relaxing experience. We use mineral-rich and naturally heated hot springs waters in several treatments.

Today you will continue north to Invermere at the top of Windermere Lake, where you can hit the beach or browse in the Pynelogs Cultural Centre, a visual arts gallery that is home to theatrical productions, concerts, and workshops throughout the year. Continue north to Golden after lunch.
From Golden, take Highway 1 west to Rogers Pass, a National Historic Site in Glacier National Park. Stop at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre to learn more about the area’s railway and mountaineering history, and hike to the ruins of Glacier House, the first mountain resort in Canada.
Just west of Rogers Pass, stop at Hemlock Grove Boardwalk Trail for a short 400-m (1,312-ft), barrier-free rainforest trail experience—a legacy of Rick Hansen’s 1987 Man in Motion World Tour visit.

Day 9 :

In Revelstoke, a wander through the alpine city reveals some 60 restored period buildings and the fascinating Revelstoke Railway Museum (the first floor is accessible). Open in summer, the BC Interior Forestry Museum and Forest Discovery Centre features a replica of a vintage forest fire lookout cabin, complete with a panoramic view of the Revelstoke Dam and the Columbia River Valley. Nearby, take in the alpine meadows in Mount Revelstoke National Park.
A satellite branch of the museum is located at the site of the driving of the Last Spike at Craigellachie, signifying the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885.

From Revelstoke, follow Highway 23 south along Upper Arrow Lake to Shelter Bay, where a free ferry takes you across the lake to Halcyon Hot Springs Resort, a full-service, four-pool resort with abundant lake and mountain views, a spa, and a restaurant.

About 60 km (37 mi) down the road, the lakeside village of Nakusp features a waterfront promenade, complete with a sandy beach and a Japanese garden. A short drive away, the picturesque Nakusp Hot Springs, operated by the village of Nakusp, is a low-key facility with two year-round pools.
Just under an hour further south on Highway 6, New Denver and Silverton are set along the eastern shore of Slocan Lake. Both villages feature museums, artisan studios, and plenty of outdoor activities, including hiking and biking along the Galena Trail, a level route which follows an old rail line. In New Denver, visit the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre, a National Historic Site and museum that pays tribute to Japanese Canadians interned in the area during World War II.

Follow Highway 31A to the tiny Edwardian village of Kaslo, on the shores of Kootenay Lake. Here, the Kaslo River Trail System, built by the Kaslo Trailblazers, features a covered pedestrian bridge with spectacular views of the Kaslo River. The 1.2-km (.7-mi) section on the north side of the river is wheelchair friendly. Another must-see? The S.S. Moyie, a National Historic Site that features the lovingly restored vessel—originally launched in 1898—that ranks as the oldest intact passenger sternwheeler in the world. (Note that only the freight deck is wheelchair accessible.)
Continue south to Ainsworth Hot Springs and sink into soothing mineral waters. This unique hot spring has a horseshoe-shaped cave full of stalagmites and stalactites. Explore the cave or relax in the main pool overlooking Kootenay Lake. Although the pool level can be accessed by outdoor ramp or elevator, there is no lift access into the pool (there are steps).

Today you’ll head further south and make time to explore the lakeside city of Nelson, known for its heritage buildings and thriving arts scene. Along Highway 3A you’ll discover an array of marinas, parks, camping, and resorts. If you are at Balfour, take the world’s longest free ferry across Kootenay Lake to Kootenay Bay, enjoying the cafes and restaurants, on either side of the ferry and on the ferry. A short distance from Kootenay Bay is the artisan community of Crawford Bay. Or turn north after the ferry and enjoy the quiet community of Riondel, with a 9-hole golf course, gorgeous beach and campsite, and the Yasodhara Ashram offers a spiritual oasis.
Pilot Bay Provincial Park has some spectacular views along the gentle shoreline hike or book a tee time at Kokanee Spring Golf Resort for mountain golf unlike anywhere else. Take the ferry over to Balfour or create a loop by driving through Creston and over Kootenay Pass to Nelson. Nelson is a city located in the Selkirk Mountains on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake in the Southern Interior of British Columbia. There’s no shortage of things to keep you busy, and possibly even inspired.

For a nature-filled day trip, follow Highway 3A along the east shore of the lake to Creston and visit the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, a refuge for more than 250 bird and waterfowl species (the Kootenay-Columbia Discovery Centre and the trails and boardwalks are accessible).
Many dedicated and passionate individuals and organizations around the world work hard to make sure our outstanding natural spaces remain intact. In the Creston Valley, we are fortunate to have a rich history in conservation. Many people, too many to name, were instrumental in promoting the conservation and protection of the diverse landscape we now call the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area.

Today you will head back to Cranbrook, where you can return your rental car and fly home, or keep exploring BC.



  • Accommodation
  • Transportation

Does not include

  • Meals (except specified above)
  • Flights or ferry
  • Any optional tours
  • Personal spending
  • Gratuities
  • Medical or Trip Interruption Insurance

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The Kootenay Rockies
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Trip Info

  • Price is subject to change
  • Assistive devices on request
  • Can be modified for sight impairment
  • Free & Easy
  • 5-star
  • Transportation not included
  • Small Groups or individuals
  • Low Level