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Getting Here

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.

By Air

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

We recommend the following shuttle options:

By Car

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.


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

Vehicle Rentals

FarOut Wilderness -

With pick-up locations in Vancouver, Calgary 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

From historic hotels and inns to private beachfront campgrounds and private vacation rentals, you’ll find accommodations for every taste and budget all across the region. 

For a detailed list of accommodation options visit Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism

Savoy Hotel

198 Baker St, Nelson, BC V1L 6B5

(778) 463-0050

Historic building with modern amenities, from simple queen rooms to full kitchen suites.

Hume Hotel & Spa

422 Vernon St, Nelson, BC V1L 4E5

(250) 352-5331

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

(250) 352-3525

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

(250) 352-7222

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

(250) 352-7211

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

(250) 352-7573

Modest dorms & private rooms in a relaxed hostel with a lounge with a fireplace, a kitchen & a BBQ.

Visit Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism to learn more about the area