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March 2017

Top 5 outdoor activities around Nelson BC

Nelson BC

Nelson is often visited as an attraction in itself: a beautiful, lively community tucked into the lush Selkirk Mountains. What not everyone might realize, is that Nelson also offers basically everything an outdoor enthusiast can dream of. Here is the top 5 outdoor activities in and around Nelson, written by Kelly O'Neil, who is part of the Valhalla Pure Outfitters Nelson team.

1. Paddle Sports

We have a beautiful glacial fed lake right at our fingertips. Many visitors and people within the community love experiencing the serene peacefulness and spectacular views paddling up and down Kootenay Lake. Some of my friends even enjoy getting up at 5 AM in the summer to go out on the lake with their paddle board before work, when everything is quiet and still. There are great places along the lake to camp, with easy access to the water. For example Kokanee Creek Campground with its sandy beaches. You can find great rentals for paddle boards, kayaks and canoes at Hellman’s, 6 miles up the lake from Nelson (towards Kaslo). Another place to rent paddleboards and kayaks is Nelson Paddle Board and Kayak Rentals, located in town down at Lakeside park.

For the people that prefer paddling a river, there is Endless Adventure too. They offers rentals and guided rafting and kayaking tours on the Slocan River. You’ll find them 20 minutes out of town, just beyond the Slocan junction going North on Highway 6 into the valley. They have been so kind to offer our staff a group tour and, oh man, what a hoot that was! Check out their website to find the tour that best suits your interests.

2. Biking

There are lots of great bike trails in and around Nelson. You can access amazing mountain bike trails right from town or drive 15 minutes out of town. On the edge of town, at Mountain Station, there are trails for intermediate to advanced riders. Just outside of town at Morning Mountain you find trails suited for more mellow and beginner to intermediate riders. In addition to mountain biking, there is a lot of amazing road biking in the area. Road biking is a super way to take in your scenery, and what better place to do that than in a beautiful town like Nelson! I ride my bike into town most days during the spring and summer, it is a wonderful way to start and end my day. If you want an easy cruise on a bike, you can do a loop around Lakeside park, located, as the name suggests, along the lake.

3. Zip Lining

Kokanee Mountain Zip Line Tours, just outside of town, offers great fun for the family or a pack of friends. Exhilarating and breathtaking are two words to sum up the experience. We have done this activity as a staff group and it was a crazy amount of fun! We were doing cannon balls and going upside down and being all sorts of goofy as we sailed through the air over Kokanee Creek. The guides are very knowledgeable, safe, and most importantly, fun. We at Valhalla Pure Nelson highly recommend this activity for everyone who likes to have a great time!

4. Hiking

With a little effort, there are many spectacular peaks you can summit. One that has taken my breath away (in more than just a physical way) is Mount Loki. It is a more challenging hike, but you gain a substantial amount of vertical. On a clear day, you look down at the surrounding peaks and the town of Kaslo. For most of the hike you are above the tree line, which in the summer can be quite hot. I suggest to bring at least 3L of water, camp in the parking lot, and leave for the hike early in the morning to beat the heat. If you are looking for something more gentle, there is a great hike for everyone across the lake from downtown. Pulpit Rock has a beautiful view point overlooking Nelson. There is a parking lot at the bottom and usually you can find hiking poles left at the trailhead for people who need them. This is a hike for the whole community, and you may meet the whole community there on a nice day. For something in between there are a couple great hikes in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. This park is bordering Kokanee Creek Park on Highway 3A (towards Kaslo). You can drive part ways up the road for 11.4 km and have a nice stroll through the Old Growth Forest or you can drive up all the way, park at Gibson Lake and hike up to Kokanee Lake and beyond. If you plan ahead, there are three nice cabins up there where you can spend a couple of nights and explore the area. The Kokanee Glacier Cabin, Woodbury Cabin and Silver Spray Cabin. Book in advance.

5. Rock Climbing

If you are the type of adventure seeker that likes the rush of conquering a rock face, then Nelson is a lovely place to do it. We have many locations in town and up to a 30 minute drive outside of Nelson. Golf Ball is an example within city limits and has a nice range of climbs for different levels. If you want to get into rock climbing or if you are looking for a guided trip, Summit Mountain Guides are the people to go to. They run many different courses and do guided tours. They teach everything from the basics all the way up to technical mountaineering. One of their technical destinations is the iconic mountain Gimli in Valhalla Provincial Park. This magnificent Alpine rock climb ranks with the best of its class anywhere in the world. The South ridge of Gimli peak is rated III 5.10a. The climbing is varied and features steep cracks, grooves, chicken heads and fingery walls. Gimli is also a great location for hiking, but do count on a very long and bumpy road, 4x drive is advisable. Notice by BC Parks: Rock fall in August 2015 on the west face of Gimli, between Gimli campsite and the Gimli – Niselheim col, has made a section of this trail and climb unstable. It is not recommended for travel at this time. Travel on the trail to Gimli campsite and the main face is unaffected.

Surrounded by stunning mountains and set on the shores of pristine Kootenay Lake, Nelson has been called the prettiest small town in Canada. Visit the farmers market downtown, head into the hills for a backcountry adventure, or paddle the lake - you won't be bored in Nelson! Don't hesitate to drop in at our Valhalla Pure Nelson store for more local tips.

Cheers from Nelson!