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Top 10 Things to Do in Nelson BC

Top 10 Things to Do in Nelson BC

Nestled amidst the stunning landscapes of British Columbia, Nelson offers a charming blend of outdoor adventures and cultural delights. Whether you’re drawn to its vibrant arts scene, scenic hiking trails, or quaint downtown, Nelson has something for everyone. 

Join us as we explore the diverse and exciting array of activities waiting to be discovered in this picturesque mountain town.

Glide through the powder at Whitewater Ski Resort


Address: 4798 Whitewater Ski Hill Rd #4784, Nelson, BC V1L 5R3

Contact details: 800-666-9420

Nestled just outside Nelson, Whitewater offers a ski experience that’s a nostalgic journey back in time. This retro resort is a refreshing escape from the bustling crowds of popular destinations like Whistler.

Also, get ready to ditch those long lift lines at Whitewater – this hidden gem ensures you ski without the usual fuss. With a whopping 12 meters of annual snowfall, you’re practically guaranteed a powder-packed adventure every time you hit the slopes.

Lastly, whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned shredder, Whitewater has got you covered with an array of fantastic terrain options. It’s a ski haven for everyone!

Pro tip:
Make sure to sign up on their website to stay in the loop on all the snowfall and weather updates – because a well-informed skier is a happy skier!

Embark on a scenic drive along Highway 6, heading south out of Nelson for approximately 22 km. Once you spot the sign for Whitewater Ski Resort, take a left and ascend the mountain for another 10 km. 

Brace yourself for a temporary break from cell service and wifi.

Soak in the Ainsworth Hot Springs


Address: 3609 Balfour-Kaslo-Galena Bay Hwy, Ainsworth, BC V0G 1A0

Contact details: 800-668-1171

If you’ve pushed yourself a bit too hard on the hiking, mountain biking, or skiing front, Ainsworth Hot Springs, just 45 minutes from Nelson, is your oasis. Spend a leisurely afternoon unwinding at the resort and spa, soaking away any signs of adventure fatigue.

Here’s a cool tidbit: the water at Ainsworth Hot Springs flows from the nearby Cody Caves, boasting a mineral-rich concoction. Dive into a unique experience by exploring the caves right next to the main pool – it’s like swimming through a natural wonderland!

When hunger strikes, stroll over to the yellow school bus just beyond the parking lot at Ainsworth Hot Springs. Betty-O’s awaits with a menu packed full of delicious breakfast and lunch options – the perfect pitstop to satisfy your cravings!

Pro tips:
If you’re a hotel guest, the early bird catches the tranquil vibes. Slip into the pool between 8 AM and 10 AM, and you might have the whole place to yourself – talk about a peaceful aquatic retreat!

If you’re not crashing at the hotel, make sure to secure your spot in the serenity by booking your spa time in advance. Tickets are $18 – a small price for a dip into relaxation (rates are subject to change).

Hike up to Pulpit Rock


Address: Nelson, BC V1L 6J1

Contact details: 250-352-7879

The Pulpit Rock trail in Nelson is a local favourite. Brace yourself for a steep climb, and in no time, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views overlooking Kootenay Lake and the charming town of Nelson.

It’s a 3.5 km round trip, requiring a climb of 325 meters. But here’s the payoff: jaw-dropping, Instagram-worthy views of Nelson that you won’t want to miss. 

The good news is that the Pulpit Rock trail is open year-round, offering its beauty in every season. Whether you’re craving summer sunshine or a winter wonderland, this Pulpit Rock has you covered.

Pro tips:
Conveniently, parking awaits at the trailhead on Johnstone Road, making your adventure to Pulpit Rock hassle-free.In the winter, it’s wise to strap on some spikes for extra traction on the Pulpit Rock trail. While poles can offer a sense of security on the descent, they’re more of a choice than a necessity.

Go paddle boarding at Kootenay Lake


Address: British Columbia, Canada

Contact details: 250-352-3433

Kootenay Lake boasts the title of the fifth largest lake in British Columbia, covering a sprawling 407 square kilometres.

Summers in Nelson are great for soaking up the sun on Kootenay Lake. Whether you’re gliding along on a stand-up paddleboard, leisurely canoeing, or revving up a motorboat, the lake offers the perfect escape.

For a few hours of lakeside fun, swing by Nelson Paddleboard and Kayak Rentals by the lake. They’ve got you covered for paddleboards and kayaks, making it a breeze to enjoy the water whenever the mood strikes!

Pro tip:
You can bring your trusty paddleboard or opt for a guided tour with a local pro; there’s no wrong way to explore the enchanting waters of Kootenay Lake. 

Walk and shop on Baker Street


Downtown Nelson’s Baker Street is a haven for shopaholics and explorers alike. With its charming blend of shops, restaurants, and cafes, you can easily lose track of time strolling past cute buildings. 

From outdoor gear to stylish threads, unique gifts to homeware treasures, it’s truly a shopper’s paradise. Take your time, soak in the atmosphere, and let the storefronts guide you to unexpected finds. 

Also, don’t miss out on the local craft center—it’s a treasure trove of delightful finds you won’t want to leave behind. And when it comes to coffee shops and cafes, Nelson boasts a selection that’s worth a mini-tour itself.

Pro tip:
Getting an early start is the key to navigating the charming chaos of Nelson’s downtown. Parking can be a bit tricky, but with the morning sun, you’ll be able to find a good spot.

Explore the Great Northern Rail Trail


Picture this: a chill stroll, an invigorating run, or a refreshing bike ride along the Great Northern Rail Trail, also known as the Rails to Trails area. This spot offers a scenic escape and serves as a gateway to some fantastic mountain biking trails in Nelson.

It runs from Salmo to Nelson, spanning 48km, and it’s now part of the Trans Canada Trail, a big path across Canada. So, whether you want the full 48km adventure or just a bit, the Great Northern Rail Trail is a beautiful journey.

And if you fancy some more adventure, check out Troup Beach at Five Mile Point. It’s not just a beach; it’s a perfect picnic spot with shallow waters, sandbars, and a serene atmosphere.

Pro tips:
You can get to the trail by parking at the Mountain Station parking lot (top of Gore Street). From there, you can head south towards Cottonwood Lake or north towards Troup Beach.

For the best experience on this trail, we suggest kicking off your adventure at the Mountain Station parking lot, located at the top of Gore Street. Start heading south on the path, and you’ll know you’re on the right track when you feel the uphill incline. 

Appreciate the views from Gyro Park Lookout


If you’re after a spectacular view of Nelson’s heritage downtown and waterfront, then you can go to Gyro Park. Plus, in the summer, you can cool off and take a dip at the family pool.

And while you take a stroll, you’ll be treated to stunning flowers and a fantastic lookout over the lake and downtown Nelson. It’s even better at sunset, so don’t forget to snap a picture when you’re there.

Finally, Gyro Park isn’t just a feast for the eyes; it’s the perfect spot to bring your kids for some playtime (there’s also a playground), enjoy a leisurely picnic, and soak up the sunshine.

Pro tip:
Take Gyro Park Road, find the parking lot by the pool, and go for a short hike up the lookout point. On a sunny, clear day, the views are amazing.

Raft down the Salmo River


If you’re a thrill-seeker, just a short 45-minute drive from Rossland is your gateway to some of the best whitewater action in BC. Brace for an adrenaline-packed adventure as you navigate the Salmo and Slocan Rivers.

Your adventure begins at Crescent Valley Beach, where the friendly folks from Endless Adventure will be your guides. They not only share invaluable insights into river safety but also equip you with essential paddling techniques. 

Once you’ve soaked in this knowledge and respect for the river, get ready to plunge into the exhilarating Slocan River rapids—a journey like no other awaits!

Pro tips:
For those sunny summer escapades, pack your swimwear, sunscreen, and a water bottle. If you don’t have the right footwear, no worries—Endless Adventure has river booties available for $3.

Wetsuits and splash jackets are on them, and all the safety gear, including paddle, PFD, and helmet, is included.

If you’re joining the adventure in the cooler seasons, consider bringing a cozy fleece sweater for that extra warmth while navigating the rapids. 

Hang out at Kaslo


If you want a charming morning adventure, Kaslo is just an hour away from Nelson and worth the trip. This historic mining town has a lot to offer, making it an excellent day trip option. 

Explore the rich history and soak in the small-town vibes—it’s a delightful escape that won’t take up your whole day! Despite its tiny population, Kaslo comes alive during the day, offering a vibrant and enjoyable atmosphere. 

Plus, Kaslo has a lot to offer, from fantastic hiking trails to delightful restaurants. One highlight is the annual Jazz Festival, where the stage floats on the lake, creating a unique experience of partying on the sand while enjoying the music.

Pro tip:
While wandering around Kaslo, make sure to explore the SS Moyie, a National Historic Site in Canada.

And before you bid farewell, a quick 10-minute tour to Fletcher Falls is a must.

Stop by Kokanee Creek Provincial Park


Kokanee Creek Park is the go-to spot in the West Kootenays, offering more than a kilometre of sandy beaches and four campgrounds. Explore about 10 km of hiking and walking trails at Kokanee Creek Park.

Packed with fun activities like an adventure playground, a visitor center, a spawning channel, a boat launch, a group campsite, a viewing platform, hiking trails, and a nearby marina – it’s a provincial gem!

To top it off, enhance your beach day at Kokanee Creek Park by renting kayaks and stand-up paddleboards right from the beach! Check out Kokanee Creek Paddle Sports, located in the day-use area of the provincial park.

Pro tip:
Quick heads up: Keep your furry friends on a leash at all times when exploring Kokanee Creek Park, and remember, they’re not allowed in the beach areas—this rule stands all year round.

At the end of the day, Nelson and even the entire British Columbia have way more to offer. It’s all up to you and what type of travel you and your company are up to.

How about this for a little adventure twist: if you’re up for a scenic drive out of the city, why not go all in and rent a set of wheels?

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