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Cartolina’s Guide of Incredible Things To Do in the Kootenays

Carly Krug | 24 July, 2021

            Map of East and West Kootenays

Cartolina's Guide of Incredible Things To Do in the Kootenays

We can’t quite hang the ‘open for business’ sign on our beloved backyard for all of our friends just yet, but we are looking forward to welcoming many of you to our laidback mountain life in Southeastern BC this summer. And so we asked the Cartolina staff to share some of their favourite things to do in the Kootenays.

Sanctuary Lavender Farm, Wynndel, BC

- Courtney & Jenn’s pick

You know them as the supplier of our lovely soy candles, with the hygge-sounding names such as library, clothesline and cabin, but they are in fact a full-fledged family-run lavender farm – that grows ten different varieties – on a sun-drenched hill in the Creston Valley.

If you’ve never treated yourself to the sight and sweet scent of a sea of tall blooming green and purple-topped stalks, waving in the breeze and teaming with buzzy bees, please do so. There’s a reason this therapeutic beaut is renowned for easing insomnia, blemishes, high blood pressure, and even menopausal hot flashes.

When to go:  For the summer of 2021 Sanctuary Lavender Farm is only opening up to the public for a handful of days – so watch their  website and Instagram for updates. If you miss out, pick up a bouquet at their new shop,  Modern Alchemy in Creston, and then go console yourself with a different kind of stem on the equally scenic patios of nearby  Skimmerhorn and  Baillie-Grohman wineries.


Fletcher Falls, Kaslo, BC

-Sara-Anne’s pick

Just a short drive outside the quaint village of Kaslo, Fletcher Creek crashes down a steep 50 feet as it flows into Kootenay Lake in one of the  prettiest little waterfalls we’ve ever seen. An easy hike down, on a well-established trail, lands you at the mossy grotto at the bottom of the falls, which also offers a picnic area, backcountry camping and nearby beach access.

Shady and cool, thanks to the surrounding forest, it’s the perfect place to beat the summer heat. Pack a lunch, your bathing suit, and one of our  recycled wool blankets and make an afternoon out of it.

When to go:  At its most dramatic during the spring run-off, the falls are reduced to a pleasant and relaxing trickle by the end of August. In the winter it all freezes over in a sparkling, icicle-encrusted cascade that will have you wanting to belt outLet it Go … or at least hum it enthusiastically. 


Nelson Brewing Company, Nelson, BC

-Kristen’s pick 

A people-watching paradise, we’re not sure what we love  Nelson Brewing’s patio more for – its Certified Organic craft beers, or its front-row seat for watching the weirdly wonderful people that make up our artistic community walk by.  

Housed in Nelson’s original 125-year-old brewery building, they pride themselves on producing natural, hand-crafted, traditionally styled beers. And even the least outdoorsy among us are a  Happy Camper, with one of these seasonal light-bodied ales, with its notes of stone fruit and a crisp hop finish, in hand.

A mere eight minute walk from Cartolina down Josephine St. (trust us, we’ve traversed it enough times) you’re more than likely to run into one of us there enjoying an après. Be sure and bring along a reusable  tote to carry home a to-go six-pack or a growler. 

When to go:  Anytime you’re thirsty!


Bannock Point, just south of Silverton, BC

-Raine’s pick

This free, lakeside, walk-in only campground in the Slocan Valley offers just ten spots and is so good we almost want to keep it a secret. But sharing is caring, so do yourself a favour and add the magical  Bannock to your bucket list of places to lay your head this summer.  

Spend a few days swimming in Slocan Lake, sunbathing on a rocky outcrop or the pebbly beach, or on a moderate hike with a view of the Valhallas so epic the locals have nicknamed it ‘Awesome Trail.’

Bring along a bar ofeco-friendly soapto bothmake friends with the fishes, as you bathe in the Slocan (it’s backcountry, baby!), andstay friends with your tent-mate.

When to go:  April to November. Steep terrain makes for slippery conditions in the winter. 

Monica Meadows, near Kaslo, BC

-Sophie’s pick

Meadows, mountains, waterfalls, wildflowers, larch trees and lakes, oh my! This scenic hike on a high alpine plateau with panoramic views of mountains, glaciers and pristine alpine lakes isn’t for those wanting a pull-off-the-highway, afternoon quickie.

So set your watches to Koots time (we like to stop and smell the wildflowers here) and enjoy the  moderate five-hour round trip hike, which requires a two-hour drive from Kaslo to reach the trailhead.

Pack lots of water, and snacks, and layers such as one of our naturally sweat-wicking  wool scarves, especially if you’re venturing out in the autumn.

When to go:  July to October. The wildflowers are at their best in August, but a visit in the fall when the larch trees turn a beautiful burnished golden yellow is worth the wait. 


Kootenay Lake, BC

-Riley’s pick 

One of the largest bodies of fresh water in our province, Kootenay Lake is 104 km long, and in some areas as much as 5 km wide, which means there’s more than enough room for everyone on its many sandy beaches.

Tourist brochures tote it as ‘cool and refreshing,’ but if they’re being honest locals will tell it like it is – damn, cold! Which makes it’s the perfect place to be on a hot, summer day in the Kootenays.  

When to go:  Any time of year to enjoy its many beaches and parks. We dare you to dip much more than a toe in outside of July to September.  

Kokanee Old Growth Cedars, near Balfour, BC

-Joanna’s pick

Some of these  sky-scraping giants are over 800 years old – and they truly need to be seen to be believed. No wide-angle lens can capture the majesty of their canopy so put your smartphone away and allow yourself to become one with the ancient forest.

The 2.4 km trail is an easy, family-friendly hike which meanders down to Kokanee Creek, and is a great way for little legs to blow off some steam. Once you’re home pull out an  arboretum-inspired puzzle  before tucking your little tree-huggers in for well-deserved, oxygen-enriched good night’s sleep.  

When to go:  June to October.

And, of course, if you’re in our 'hood we’d love to see you, so drop in and say “Hi”!