Epic Trails and Authentic Mountain Culture Await in Nelson, B.C. 

By Peter Moynes 

Cover photo by Lindsay Donovan courtesy of Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism

I met Jason and Alice in the Morning Mountain parking lot, just outside of Nelson, British Columbia. It was a beautiful Friday afternoon in mid-June. The two had just finished riding Blue Steel, and with wide eyes and wider grins, they pulled up beside me as I was loading my bike into my truck. “I can’t believe it,” Jason said. “That is one of the flowiest trails I have ever ridden!”  

I had just finished riding Turnstiles, which is one of my faves in the area. As Jason and Alice set down their bikes and shed their protective gear, I offered them a cold drink from my cooler and asked where they were visiting from. “We’re from Spokane Valley,” Alice said.  

They admitted it was their first trip to the Kootenays. They had heard so many positive stories about traveling to this area, both in winter and summer, but for some reason they had never made the journey. I pressed them a little, asking why they had never been up this way. I wondered about this because I make six or seven trips every year to Spokane since it’s so close and an easy getaway. I especially love checking out Spokane’s live-music scene. 

Photo by Lindsay Donovan Courtesy of Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism

Alice said she wasn’t sure if their yappy little Blue Heeler needed paperwork at the border, and she was always scared they might get turned away. She had done some research and found out it wasn’t a problem, because the dog was barking at the stick it had placed at my feet.  

They had also done research on Trailforks and familiarized themselves with some of the riding in the area, but what they hadn’t anticipated was how easy it was to get here. “We decided to cut out of work early on Friday and expected just to check in at our hotel and perhaps go for a pint,” Jason said. “But we got here just after 3 p.m. and decided to ride our bikes!” They had compiled a list of trails they wanted to explore over the weekend and peppered me with questions about what they could accomplish in two days. 

I asked if they were looking to take in any sights or attractions while they were in the area, and they were keen to visit the hot springs at Ainsworth. They had tickets for a DJ playing at Nelson’s Bloom Nightclub on Saturday night, and they were told by a friend that they must go to Marzano’s one night for pizza. 

I suggested when they head up to Ainsworth—along Kootenay Lake on Nelson’s north shore—they could stop at Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park and try the Glade Runner or Hitman bike trails. From there, they could continue to the hot springs or rally to the beautiful town of Kaslo and give the new Friendly Giant bike trail a go and stop for a soak in the hot springs on the way back to Nelson. 

I also told them how lucky they were: the exchange rate means they are winning wherever they go in the Kootenays! 

(Sponsored by Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism

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