Next golf trip, tag along on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake. Not a golfer? Need a day off?
“Fore-mi-da-ble,” say French golfeurs. “Par-fait!”
Go beyond the greens at Kokanee Springs, a Golf-Advisor top-ten destination resort in British Columbia’s West Kootenays.
Director of Sales and Marketing, Ian Wiber says,
“In 2015, we introduced the Adventures in Paradise concept…diversifying (with) a family-feel…we’re pleased with what we’re providing people in terms of an overall experience.”
At the head of Crawford Bay, we’re dropped off at the lake shore with kayaks, and we skirt the southern shore across protected waters. Explore the bay with a picnic lunch on a half-day trip to Pilot Bay Provincial Park.
The Ktunaxa (k-too-nah-ha) people hunted, fished and gathered here for over 10,000 years as petroglyphs (a form of rock art) attest.
- Mountain Bike
Circumnavigate the golf course. Crawford Bay’s first settlers farmed the cherry, pear and apple trees. Over 60 trees remain on-course. Cryptic-puzzle rides start at the Snack Shack. Each clue is a word puzzle: What rhymes with pack track and gives you your drive back? The undulating track is the Creeks and Bridges Loop. Kokanee Glacier peeks through as you ride along glacial-green Crawford Creek.
Boccalino’s Swiss-Italian fine dining is in the village of Kootenay Bay, a short drive from Kokanee’s greens. Homemade pesto pasta (spätzli specialty) and Arctic char scaloppini al limone with warm lentil salad and pistachio gelato complete a double bogey.
Enjoy a dozen varied cafes, grills, diners and pub eateries in the village of Crawford Bay, on Kootenay Lake’s East Shore, or stay putt at Woods’ Pumphouse Grill with its daily special, granola parfait or casual BBQ.
- Go Birding Time never changes in the Central Kootenays (no Daylight Savings), and it definitely doesn’t stop.
Fit in bird watching before you migrate home. Return to the kayak put-in. Park near the non-operational air strip. Beaver dams are the only habitation near the lake. Cut across the beach and re-enter a boardwalk where 92 species flutter: ducks, geese, loons, flycatchers, owls, waxwings, woodpeckers and eagles to name a few.
Beaver Pond is an hour’s circuitous walk; the area is brimming with multi-level hikes.
Experience the world’s only inland temperate rain forest. British Columbia westerlies collide with the Columbia and Rocky Mountains, spilling cloud-fulls of moisture on red cedar, western hemlock, mosses, ferns and lichens.
- Go Crafting
Artisan Village crafters: blacksmith, (Quidditch) broom maker, potter, weaver, copper enameler, glassblower, leatherworker and jeweler are within a six-studio walk, or go on self-guided tour available all summer-long.
The potter tells us about Starbelly Jam, a music festival at the local park in July; the broom maker tells us of Sunday markets in July and August; the local art show caser tells us of BC’s oldest (over 100 years) continuous fall fair.
Make a quest of this Kootenay junction. Golfer or not, enhance your flight path.
“We have no commercialization…come here to come here,” says Ian Wiber.
Do so, and you’ve scored an Ace, Birdie, Bogey, Eagle and Par (without lifting a club).
From the Okanagan: Circle route from Kelowna to Vernon and east on Highway #6. Popular with motorcyclists, this winding road is lined with wildflowers—violet, blue, white, to yellow-red.
From the British Columbia Hot Springs Circle Route: one of nine British Columbia Circle Routes, Ainsworth Hot Springs is one of a dozen or more mineral hot baths along Route #1, or from the International Selkirk Loop, take a two-nation vacation.
Take the world’s longest free ferry: a 36-minute ride across Kootenay Lake from Balfour, near Nelson, British Columbia in the West Kootenays (ice-free year round). A ten-kilometer drive brings you to Kokanee Springs Resort where the Adventure Centre awaits.
From Calgary: From Stampede C-town, go via Cranbrook on the Crowsnest Pass south, or to Banff/Radium, north. Highway 3A brings you north along Kootenay Lake in six hours…just a Rocky-Mountain stone’s throw for Travel Albertans.