Kootenay Backcountry Guides is fortunate to be located in one of the most scenic, foodie, artsy, and vibrant towns in British Columbia. Nelson BC, is a hidden gem in the interior. We may be a small town but we have big city vibes. Getting here in the winter can be a bit of an experience, luckily there are a couple of options.
If you are flying there are four options for landing in BC, Canada: Castlegar, Trail, Kelowna, and Cranbrook have regional airports which can reach international airports in Vancouver, Calgary, and more.
While the Castlegar and Trail airports are the closest to Nelson, the flights can often be cancelled during the winter season, due to lack of visibility/storms. They don’t call it ‘Cancelgar’ for no reason! We recommend flying to either Kelowna or Cranbrook for a more reliable flight experience.
If you are flying into the USA the Spokane Airport is the closest to us. We recommend you either rent a car and take this route or book a spot on the Kootenay Gateway Shuttle which runs Thursday-Sunday. Please note that the Nelway Border Crossing does not have cell service or Wifi - ensure you have all your documents printed out.
By Shuttle Bus
Winter brings a note of caution when driving to Nelson. Driving conditions can change quickly at higher elevations, winter tires are required, carrying chains is advisable, and delays for avalanche control and snow removal may be possible. Before heading out, visit DriveBC for up-to-date road information, including closures and webcams.
- From Calgary: Use either this route (a bit faster with better roads) or this route (more scenic but a bit longer and more chance of winter).
- From Vancouver: Use this route.
- From Kelowna: Use this route.
WINTER TIRES ARE A MUST, IT’S THE LAW
It is extremely important that the car you rent has winter tires, and preferably AWD or 4x4. If you are renting a car, make sure that the rental company supplies you with good winter tires, all-season tires are not allowed on winter roads in British Columbia.
FarOut Wilderness - https://faroutwilderness.com/ski-tours-winter-4x4/
With pick-up locations in Vancouver and Kelowna, FarOut Wilderness has excellent Winter 4X4 rental options. Guests and students of Kootenay Backcountry Guides receive 5% off their rental - use code: KOOTENAY5
Places To Stay
198 Baker St, Nelson, BC V1L 6B5
Historic building with modern amenities, from simple queen rooms to full kitchen suites.
Hume Hotel & Spa
422 Vernon St, Nelson, BC V1L 4E5
Warm rooms & suites in a refined 1898 hotel with a jazz lounge, pub, family eatery & nightclub
Best Western Plus Baker Street Inn & Convention Centre
153 Baker St, Nelson, BC V1L 4H1
Simple property with free WiFi & parking, plus an American restaurant and fitness facilities.
Prestige Lake Side Resort & Convention Centre
701 Lakeside Dr, Nelson, BC V1L 6G3
Polished rooms & suites, some with lake views, plus an indoor pool, dining, a spa & a ballroom.
The Adventure Hotel
616 Vernon Street, Nelson, BC V1L 4G1
Modern hotel with laid-back rooms offering free Wi-Fi, plus a sauna, a steakhouse & event space.
Dancing Bear Inn
171 Baker St, Nelson, BC V1L 4H1
Modest dorms & private rooms in a relaxed hostel with a lounge with a fireplace, a kitchen & a BBQ.