Whether you’re into kayaking rapids, motoring lakes or stand up paddleboarding on rivers, Castlegar is the place for every watersport.
It’s a testimony to the prevalence of boating in this area that nearly every local resident owns a canoe, sailboat, tinner, SUP, speedboat or inflatable raft. That’s because Castlegar is surrounded by water.
The confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia rivers is within city limits and offers plenty of action for kayakers (there’s a wave just below the Brilliant dam on Kootenay River) as well as calmer waters for the casual paddler.
For motorboaters, the 230-kilometre-long Arrow Lakes system is popular because there’s excellent fishing and pristine campsites all along the shoreline.
And for whitewater rafters, the lower Slocan River is an easy 30-minute drive from downtown. That same river flows from Slocan Lake, which is another popular spot for boaters as it lies at the foot of the Valhalla mountains and affords some of the most dramatic scenery in all of British Columbia.
There are also innumerable small lakes around Castlegar such as the Nancy Greene Lake and Champion Lakes which are excellent spots for day-long family excursions. There are any number of boat ramps to use around the city or you can rent various kinds of craft including SUPs and kayaks from Scottie’s Marina (located on Lower Arrow Lake) and Endless Adventure on the Slocan River.
How to Get Here: The Kootenay and Columbia rivers converge in Castlegar and can be accessed from various points around the city. Lower Arrow Lake is a 15-minute drive from downtown and that’s where you’ll find Scottie’s Marina as well as multiple boat ramps along the shoreline. The Slocan River is a 30-minute drive east from Castlegar and Slocan Lake is an hour’s drive. Many smaller lakes such as Nancy Greene and Champion Lakes can be located within a 45-minute drive of the city.
Season: Because the larger rivers and lakes don’t freeze in this area, people have been known to boat year-round. However, the more popular months are the warmer ones between May and November.
Types of boating: Castlegar offers every type of water experience (except the ocean). You’ll find good sailing, kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddleboarding, motorboating, rafting and more all in city limits or within a half hour drive.
Boating Spots: Both the mighty Columbia and Kootenay rivers are located in Castlegar. The Arrow Lakes can be accessed from Robson, which is a short drive from downtown, and there are a multitude of other lakes less than an 45-minute drive north and south of the city. The Slocan River is a 30-minute drive from Castlegar and the Slocan Lake is an hour’s drive.