Slocan Lake

We decided to access Slocan Lake from New Denver, BC. The drive from Sandpoint, ID to New Denver is about 200 miles, depending on the chosen route - any of which is stunning. We had reservations at Dome Quixote for the nights of June 29 and 30, 2009. This would allow us 3 opportunities to paddle.


Photo: Cottage #3 with the New Denver Glacier in the Background

Day #1


We arrived in New Denver early enough on Monday the 29th to get in a paddle on Slocan Lake. Toward the end, the wind picked up - as it does on these narrow mountain lakes. After our kayak outing we settled in at Dome's Cottage #3. Then we searched for a restaurant, finding all were closed on a Monday except for the Valhalla Inn. The burgers looked safe there and we survived, but cannot give a rave review.

On the other hand, we can recommend Dome Quixote as a place to stay. The architecture is quite novel and well engineered. Our cottage had a kitchenette and bathroom (with shower). There is also a hot tub shared by all the units.


Day #2

After breakfast, we crossed the street from Dome for coffee and pastry before driving 3 km. south to Silverton to launch. After about a half hour, gentle swells arrived from the NW. Peering in that direction, we could see an advancing wall of whitecaps and scuttled back to the launch ramp. We opted to continue the day with a hike. But first we made dinner reservations at the Sweet Dreams B&B, which will take dinner customers - if their overnight guests do not fill the dining room. Outside the B&B we ran into Rick and Debbie Price, friends from Sandpoint. We do recommend the food at Sweet Dreams B&B and expect that it is also a nice place to overnight.


Day #3


Wednesday was July 1, Canada Day. With winds still coming in more or less from the north (Slocan Lake is oriented north-south), we chose to drive to Kaslo on Kootenay Lake. If the winds were similar on Kootenay Lake , it offers shelter in its West Arm - an addition to its major north-south orientation. I hadn't been to Kaslo before - it's a cute town, bigger with more to offer than the somewhat more scenic New Denver. The winds were even higher in Kaslo, so after a coffee & pastry stop (across from the waterfront Visitors Center) we headed for the West Arm.

Nelson is the sizable town on the West Arm, a small city I suppose. Before reaching Nelson, we launched at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park and had a very nice paddle. However, being Canada Day, there were more motorized boats than we prefer. Finished with the paddle, we headed to Nelson. There we had an excellent lunch at the somewhat new Bibo's cafe.

We were back in Sandpoint by 6 PM.


Upshot

Slocan Lake like other lakes in the Kootenay region offers stunning scenery and can be highly recommended. It has a wilder feel than Kootenay Lake, while the latter offers the advantage of more activities at various civilized venues. Because of problematic winds, Slocan Lake may not work as a kayak destination - unless one plans for alternative activities. In our case, we probably would have preferred to bring along mountain bikes as well.

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